Aaron M. Phelps

Aaron M. Phelps

Varnum LLP

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Growing Michigan - Third Quarter 2014

In This Issue: - Food and Drug Administration Not Required to Ban Antibiotics Given to Food-Producing Animals - U.S. Department of Agriculture Expands Crop Insurance under 2014 Farm Bill -...more

10/8/2014 - Antibiotic Resistance Antibiotics Broadband Clean Water Act Crop Insurance EPA Farm Bill FDA Food Safety Rural Broadband Experiments USDA

Food and Drug Administration Not Required to Ban Antibiotics Given to Food-Producing Animals

A federal appeals court recently ruled that the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") does not have to ban the practice of feeding antibiotics to healthy, food-producing animals. This ruling is controversial because of public...more

10/7/2014 - Antibiotics Farm Animals Farms FDA

U.S. Department of Agriculture Expands Crop Insurance under 2014 Farm Bill

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently implemented provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill to expand insurance coverage options for farmers and ranchers. The new Supplemental Coverage Option ("SCO") is designed to help protect...more

10/7/2014 - Crop Insurance Department of Agriculture Farm Bill Farms

Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Improving Broadband Access in Rural Areas

The U.S. House Agricultural Committee's subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, recently held a hearing to examine ways to improve and expand broadband in rural areas and to coordinate future investments...more

10/6/2014 - FCC Infrastructure Rural Development Telecommunications USDA

EPA Amends Clean Water Act Regulations to Require Sufficiently Sensitive Test Methods

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized amendments under the Clean Water Act that require permit applicants under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program to use "sufficiently...more

10/6/2014

No Michigan Wolf Hunt for 2014

The Michigan Natural Resource Commission recently decided that it will not hold a wolf hunt this year, even if voters approve two referendums on the November 4 ballot permitting wolf hunting. The November 4 referendums ask...more

10/1/2014 - Citizen Initiative Campaigns Hunting

Proposed MAEAP Rules Narrow “Right to Farm” Protection

Proposed rule changes in the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) have excluded some farmers from MAEAP verification and protection....more

9/30/2014 - Environmental Policies Farms Livestock Protocol

House Subcommittee Questions Department of Labor’s Enforcement of “Hot Goods” Provision

The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture recently held a hearing to address growing concerns that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is using the "hot goods" provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA)...more

9/29/2014 - Congressional Investigations & Hearings DOL Employer Liability Issues Farm Workers Farms FLSA Food Manufacturers Wage and Hour

House Passes Bill to Prevent EPA Overreach

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation prohibiting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from developing, finalizing, adopting, implementing, applying,...more

9/29/2014 - Environmental Policies EPA US Army Corps of Engineers Water Waters of the United States

FDA Proposes Revisions to Food Safety Rules

The updated proposed rules involve produce safety, preventive controls for human and animal food, and the foreign verification program. According to Mike Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, "the FDA...more

9/29/2014 - FDA Food Safety

Growing Michigan - Second Quarter 2014

For decades, the Environmental Protection Agency has been charged with administering the United States Clean Water Act. One question that has bedeviled farmers, business owners and individuals – as well as judges and lawyers...more

6/5/2014 - Clean Water Act DOL Employer Liability Issues EPA Farm Bill Farms FDA FSMA Ghost Workers Jurisdiction REAP USDA Waters of the United States

EPA Proposes to Expand Its Own Jurisdiction

For decades, the Environmental Protection Agency has been charged with administering the United States Clean Water Act. One question that has bedeviled farmers, business owners and individuals – as well as judges and lawyers...more

6/3/2014 - Clean Water Act EPA Farm Bureau Federal Jurisdiction Jurisdiction Public Comment Water Waters of the United States

Settlement Between U.S. Department of Labor and Blueberry Growers Vacated

In 2012, the Department of Labor accused Oregon blueberry growers of employing "ghost workers" resulting in minimum wage violations. The DOL then issued what is known as a "hot goods order"...more

6/2/2014 - Consent Agreements DOL Ghost Workers Minimum Wage Wage and Hour Wages

Commission of Agriculture Approves Revised GAAMP’s Limiting Scope of Right to Farm Act

For over a year, the Michigan Ag Commission has considered expanding the scope of the "site selection" GAAMPs in order to bring even small livestock facilities within its scope. The site selection GAAMPs have traditionally...more

5/27/2014 - Farms Livestock Protocol Public Policy

USDA Offering Funding For Energy Efficiency Improvements

USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is providing funding for rural small business owners and farmers to make energy efficiency improvements or to install energy systems and is currently accepting applications for...more

5/22/2014 - Energy Efficiency Energy Policy Funding REAP Rural Development USDA

FDA Draws Criticism With Proposed FSMA Animal Feed Rule And Breweries

FDA's chief food safety inspector, Michael Taylor, recently stated that the agency has "no intention" of preventing breweries from giving spent beer grains to farmers for cattle feed. The FDA's proposed rule would have...more

5/19/2014 - Animal Food Breweries Farm Animals FDA FSMA Wine & Alcohol

U.S. Agricultural Export Markets Expanded Through 2014 Farm Bill Programs

Funding made available from the 2014 Farm Act has allowed the USDA to establish programs to assist in the growth of commercial export markets. The USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) recently granted funding to more...more

5/14/2014 - Farm Bill Federal Funding Funding USDA

38 Michigan Counties Designated As Primary Natural Disaster Areas By USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 38 counties in Michigan, with three different designations, as primary natural disaster areas due to multiple disasters. Qualified ranchers and farm operators in the...more

2/17/2014 - Agricultural Workers Emergency Response Natural Disasters USDA

Ag Programs Could Gain Higher Funding In 2014

The FY 2014 Omnibus spending bill currently includes $350 million additional funding for agricultural programs compared to 2013. According to the House Appropriations Committee summary concerning agricultural appropriations...more

2/17/2014 - Agricultural Workers Federal Funding

29 Senators Request Propane Shortage Relief From Obama Administration

On Monday, February 7, 2014, a group of bi-partisan senators wrote to President Obama requesting additional federal assistance with the current propane shortage. The letter cites a recent Energy Information Administration...more

2/17/2014

Draft GAPP Public Comments Due February 21, 2014

The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development are accepting public comments until February 21, 2014 on the 2014 drafts of Michigan's Generally...more

2/14/2014 - GAPP

Michigan Department Of Ag Looks To Limit Scope Of Right To Farm Act

Now: Currently, commercial farms are protected from local regulation, including zoning restrictions. The existing "Site Selection" GAAMPs, which generally require large livestock production facilities to be located in...more

2/3/2014 - Department of Agriculture Farms Right to Farm Act

Growing Michigan - Fourth Quarter 2013

In This Issue: - Proposed EPA Water Rule Could Expand Regulatory Authority Over Streams and Wetlands - USDA Finalizes Import Regulations for "Mad Cow Disease" - Organic Farmers Effected by Farm Bill Extension...more

1/20/2014 - EPA Farm Bill Farms Food Labeling Mad Cow Disease Organic USDA Water

Governor Snyder Signs MISS Dig Legislation

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation into law on November 27, 2013, creating the MISS DIG Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act (Public Acts 173 and 174). The new laws update a forty year old statute...more

12/18/2013 - Infrastructure Safety Precautions

Anti-Disclosure Provision In Farm Bill Being Considered

According to the Associated Press, Congress is considering a provision in the farm bill that would prohibit the government from disclosing information about farmers or their employees. The House version of the bill would...more

12/16/2013 - Disclosure Farm Bill

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