March 26, 2021 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  Here a few of the ag law stories in the news the past couple of weeks.

Photo by Justin W on Unsplash

*Maryland trial court ruling on ammonia emissions and the Clean Water Act draws concern.  A recent case decided in Maryland has resulted in nationwide discussion over agriculture and the intersection of the Clean Air and Clean Water Act.  Essentially, the circuit court judge ruled that Maryland must water air pollution–ammonia, in particular–under the state’s implementation of the federal Clean Water Act.  This raises concern for livestock producers, who are exempt from air emission permitting pursuant to the Clean Air Act.   Importantly, this is only a trial court decision and is interpreting Maryland state law, but it raises an interesting question.  [Read blog post from the National Ag Law Center here.]

*Internal EPA memo says EPA ignored science in 2018 dicamba registration decision.  Recently, Progressive Farmer broke a story involving an internal EPA email that said the EPA’s 2018 dicamba registration was tainted by political interference and that the EPA ignored scientific evidence on the herbicide’s risks.  The email, drafted by Michal Freedhoff, the acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, states that in 2018, leadership instructed career staff to rely on limited data in making the registration decision, discount specific studies, and discount scientific information on negative impacts.  It is unclear whether similar instructions were given with regard to the 2020 registration, which will allow use of the pesticides through 2025.  [Read article here.]

*USDA Final Hemp Rule goes into effect. The USDA Final Hemp Rule went into effect on Monday of this week.  This makes important changes from the Interim Final Rule, which you read about here.  To see a video overview I did about this new rule, click here.

*Great opportunity for law students.  If you’re a law student interested in agricultural law, you need to check out the National Agricultural Law Center’s Research Fellow program.  They are currently taking applications through April 14.  I’ve worked with a number of NALC Research Fellows and think it’s a great opportunity!  [Read more here.]

*Video highlights ten common mistakes to avoid in the estate planning process.  Our friends at the Iowa State Center for Ag Law and Taxation recently published a video addressing ten common mistakes made in the estate planning process.  [View video here.]

* Celerity Deaths in 2020 and lessons learned on estate planning.  An interesting article by Fairfield and Woods, PC highlighted six celebrities who died in 2020, gave them a score for the effectiveness of their estate planning, and explained what we can learn from these situations.  Not surprisingly, the highest score went to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. [Read article here.]

Upcoming Programs

I’ve got a busy schedule coming up.  On Monday, I’m going to be chatting virtually with the UNM School of Law Externship Class about opportunities in Agricultural Law.  It’s an honor to be invited back to my alma mater!  On April 1, I’ll be at the Caprock Crops Conference in Muncy.  This is always a great program–usually involving cheesecake and lots of CEUs!  [Click here for more info.]  On April 5, I’ll be at the Hale/Swisher Crops Conference in Plainview.  They have a great program planned with CEUs available.  [Click here for more info.]  Then, on April 6, I’m doing an online program on landowner liability sponsored by Republic Title.  This program is open to anyone.  If you need CE credits for your real estate license, the cost is $30.  If you do not need those credits, the programming is free. [Click here for more info.]

To see all my upcoming programs, click here.

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