Agriculture Updates

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WTO Finds That COOL Is Simply Not Cool, and House of Representative Agrees

The most recent chapter in the dispute over U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) requirements for meat products resulted in a loss for the United States. In a May 18 report, the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Appellate...more

Biotechnology: White House Announces Effort to Modernize the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products

In a bit of a surprise announcement, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Council on Environmental Quality released...more

Biotechnology: White House Directs EPA, FDA, and USDA to Update the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology

With little fanfare or advanced notice to the general public, on July 2, 2015, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the U.S. Trade Representative, and the...more

Keep Calm and Sip Some Sparkling Wine

Many who enjoy champagne have noticed that their favorite cuvée has quietly changed its label. Many of the world’s bottles of bubbly now indicate that they contain “sparkling wine” when they used to be “champagne.” Those who...more

BLM Receives Challenges to Greater Sage-Grouse Plans From All Sides

Following the May 28, 2015 release by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of 14 final Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) for land use plans designed to provide greater protection to the greater sage-grouse on...more

FDA Releases Draft Guidance on its Voluntary Qualified Importer Program

On June 5, 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the publication of its Draft Guidance on its Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP). The FDA is establishing VQIP to enable the expedited review and...more

Maui GMO Ban Overturned; Federal Court Remains Consistent on Preemption Analysis

This week, the federal district court in Hawaii struck down a Maui County law imposing a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms (GE plants, or GMOs). This decision is the third of three challenges...more

WTO’s Ruling Against India’s Ban on U.S. Agricultural Products May Finally Open Market for American Farmers

On June 4, 2015, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body ruled in favor of the United States and affirmed the WTO dispute settlement panel’s findings that India’s ban on various U.S. agricultural products violates...more

Supreme Court Puts Its “Takings Law” Foot Down

In Horne I, the Supreme Court held that a property owner, facing a governmental enforcement action, can assert as a defense that the action effects a “taking” of one’s property (here, a raisin crop) “without just...more

Canadian Province Finalizes Neonic Reduction Rule

The Canadian province of Ontario has issued its final regulations under the Ontario Pesticides Act aimed at reducing the area planted with maize and soybean seed treated with neonicotinoid insecticides. These changes have...more

North Carolina Legislative Report

The General Assembly convened for the 2015 legislative session on January 14. Lawmakers returned to Raleigh on January 28 to begin the session in earnest. The MVA Public Affairs Legislative Report on North Carolina will be...more

Congress, WTO Turn Up the Heat on COOL

Recent House Action - Lost amidst the debate over Trade Promotion Authority, Trade Adjustment Assistance, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the House recently voted 300-131 to pass H.R. 2393, the Country of...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - June 2015 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Most water rights holders facing cuts miss state compliance deadline: Los Angeles Times - Jun 22: The majority of California growers, irrigation districts, and others who have been...more

Client Alert: New Changes to North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Laws Have Big Impact on Local Businesses

On June 19, 2015, House Bill 909 (now Session Law 2015-98) was signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory, making considerable changes to North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) laws. The most notable changes concern...more

Supreme Court Update: Horne V. Dep't Of Agriculture (14-275), Kimble V. Marvel Entertainment (13-720), Patel V. City Of Los...

Raisins, radioactive wrists, Red Roof registries, and reformatory roughhousing were all on the Court's radar Monday (it's a very broad radar horizon), as it issued decisions in Horne v. Dep't of Agriculture (14-275), holding...more

DOE Announces $55 million To Fund GENSETS And TERRA Programs

On June 18, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $55 million in funding for projects to accelerate biomass development and develop generator technologies under the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy...more

USDA Announces Biobased Products Report And Changes To Biobased Programs

On June 17, 2015, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the release of a report to congress that builds on the Why Biobased? report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2014. The new report, An...more

Zoria Farms to Pay $330,000 for Sexual Harassment, Retaliation Against Farmworkers in EEOC Suit

Dried Fruit Processor Supervisors Sexually Harassed Latina Farmworkers, Then Fired Those Who Complained, Federal Agency Charged - FRESNO - Zoria Farms, which once operated one of the largest processors of dried fruits...more

AMF Publishes Reporting Obligations and Position Limits for Derivatives on Agricultural Commodities to Commence July 1

On June 15, the Autorité des Marches Financiers (AMF) published a statement that the reporting obligations position limits for agricultural commodity derivatives proposed in the Separation and Regulation of Banking Activities...more

Visa Processing Nearly Back Online After Critical Hardware Failure, but Bottleneck May Take Weeks to Clear

After a major hardware failure on June 9th that created significant delays in processing and issuing visas, the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) for U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide is nearly back online. As of...more

The California Raisins Strike Back

Horne v. Department of Agriculture, No. 14-275 (U.S. June 22, 2015) - Why It Matters: In a pro-property rights opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court applies Fifth Amendment “takings” analysis to a federal program that...more

To Curtail Or Not To Curtail…That Is the Question

On June 12, the State Water Board issued a notice of “unavailability of water” and the “need for immediate curtailment” from various water users holding pre-1914 water rights. Less than two weeks later on June 23, lawyers...more

System Glitch Leads To Freeze On US Travel Visas

Since June 9th a computer glitch has stalled visa processing at U.S. embassies all over the world. The hardware malfunction has kept crucial biometrics information (including fingerprints) from reaching foreign U.S....more

Supreme Court Decides Horne v. Department of Agriculture

On June 22, 2015, the Supreme Court decided Horne v. Department of Agriculture, No. 14-275, holding that the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause applies to personal property as well as real property, and a requirement that...more

FDA Gives Food Industry Three Years to Phase Out Partially Hydrogenated Oils from Food Products

On June 16, 2015, the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") issued a declaratory order, requiring a phasing out of the use of partially hydrogenated oils ("PHOs"). In its order, the FDA stated that partially hydrogenated oils...more

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