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Obama Administration’s Organic Animal Welfare Rule Postponed a Second Time

For the second time, the effective date of the Organic Animal Welfare Rule (OAWR) proposed by the United States Department of Agriculture during the last days of the Obama administration has been pushed back. The new...more

NAFTA Renegotiation Would Intend to Benefit Farmers, Ranchers

In recent weeks, the Trump administration took the first step toward renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative (USTR), sent a letter to Congress...more

Timeline for Implementation of Pesticide Applicators Rule Lengthened by the EPA

On May 11, 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced a 12-month extension on the implementation of the revised final Certification and Training of Pesticide Applicators Rule. The extension is meant to provide states and...more

Senator Stabenow Introduces Urban Agriculture Act of 2016

This fall, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow announced plans to introduce the Urban Agriculture Act of 2016, legislation that would support urban farming initiatives and increase access to healthy food. “Urban agriculture is...more

Grower Security and Payment Protection Legislation Awaits Senate Approval

On May 5, the Senate Commerce Committee approved Senate Bills 899 and 900. The legislation would strengthen Michigan's Grain Dealer's Act and Farm Produce Insurance Act should a licensed grain dealer end up insolvent or...more

Senate Committee Passes Amendments Aimed at Easing PA 116 Burdens

In March 2016, the Michigan House unanimously passed House Bills 5189, 5190 and 5191, and the bills were subsequently passed by the Michigan Senate Agriculture Committee. The legislation is aimed at altering procedures for...more

H-2A Delays Cost Farmers Profits and Customers

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are responsible for processing H-2A guest worker visa applications, but farmers are seeing delays of up to two weeks in the arrival of these...more

Major Federal Food Safety Law Depends on Individual State Enforcement

In 2011, Congress approved the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act in response to several deadly outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. These outbreaks convinced legislators and food industry groups that the then-existing food...more

Stabenow’s GMO Labeling Bill Could Serve as a Potential Congressional Compromise

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) plans to propose a GMO labeling bill after briefing groups from each side of the debate. Stabenow has shown her proposal to the Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) whose...more

H.R. 5240 Introduced to Extend the Biodiesel Tax Credit

In labeling renewable fuel sources such as biodiesel "critical" to the nation's energy future, American Farm Bureau President Ziggy Duvall is encouraging lawmakers to act on the Biodiesel Tax Incentive Reform and Extension...more

EPA Fails To Approve Dicamba Herbicide Label in Time for 2016 Growing Season

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to timely finalize product labeling of dicamba herbicides for use on Roundup-ready (RR2X) soybeans, leaving farmers unable to make use of the herbicide this growing season. The...more

Fish Farming Bills Proposed in Michigan

Competing bills in the Michigan House have two very different views of allowing fish farms in Michigan. Michigan Radio Network recently reported that Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Escanaba) has sponsored a bill that would allow fish...more

Senate Agriculture Committee to Review GMO Labeling Bill

The Senate Agriculture Committee is in the process of moving forward with a GMO Labeling Bill. Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, released a discussion draft of the bill in February, and has the support of the American...more

U.S. Court of Appeals Issues Split WOTUS Ruling

On February 22, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Cincinnati) issued a split 2-1 decision, ruling that it has jurisdiction to proceed with challenges to the Obama administration's "Waters...more

Biosecurity Best Practices Gaining Awareness on Michigan Farms

Farm biosecurity, a series of management practices and measures designed to minimize or prevent the entry and spread of pests and diseases onto a farm, is drawing increased attention in recent years. Part of the growing...more

Expanded Crop Insurance Options for Farmers Transitioning to Certified Organic Agriculture

The USDA recently announced expanded crop insurance options to allow producers to purchase insurance coverage that better reflects their product's actual value. The expanded coverage is part of the USDA's continued commitment...more

Appeals Court Rejects Obama’s Immigration Plan

A United States Court of Appeals has ruled that President Obama cannot move forward with plans to overhaul immigration rules by providing up to five million people with work permits and protection from deportation. According...more

Ag Committee Leaders Oppose Crop Insurance Cuts

Recently the House Agriculture Committee stood firm on the promise against reopening the Farm Bill to new crop insurance cuts. The High Plains Journal reports that leaders feel that the proposed cuts to crop insurance in the...more

Many Michigan Farms Having Difficulty Finding Seasonal Workers

Michigan farms are having trouble finding seasonal workers because migrant workers are becoming more interested in permanent positions. Michigan Farm Bureau has reported that migrant workers fill about 40,000 seasonal jobs on...more

Senate Votes To Do Away with WOTUS

In November, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution of disapproval (SJR 22) to get rid of the controversial "Waters of the United States" rule (WOTUS). A wide range of farm groups oppose the legislation which is aimed at...more

Did You Grow Corn in the Past Two Years? You’re Part of a Lawsuit

Corn farmers across the county have collectively filed more than 20,000 lawsuits against Syngenta. In 2010, Syngenta released GMO seed before it was approved by some export markets, most notably China. That GMO corn later...more

Pesticide Bill Would Eliminate Duplicative Permitting

In 2009, a federal court ruling required pesticide users to now apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, under the Clean Water Act (CWA), if chemicals were sprayed over, near or into a body...more

Mandatory GMO Labeling Quashed Under House Bill

In late July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. The controversial legislation, as passed by the House, creates a national voluntary standard for the labeling of foods with GMO...more

Federal Judge Blocks WOTUS Rule, Michigan Files Separate Suit

The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers’ “Waters of the United States” Rule (WOTUS) that was supposed to go into effect on August 28, 2015, was blocked when North Dakota U.S. District Judge Ralph...more

Changes to the Terms of BCBSM’s Administrative Services Contracts in the Wake of Hidden Fees Suits

Effective January 1, 2016, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan ("BCBSM") will implement significant changes to the Administrative Services Contracts ("ASCs") issued to its self-funded customers. Notably, BCBSM has attempted to...more

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