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Bridging the Week - March 2015 #5

SEC Proposes FINRA Oversee Certain High-Frequency Trading Firms; FINRA and FIA Issue Best Practice Guidance - The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed changes to an existing rule that, if adopted, would require...more

Weekly Update Newsletter - March 2015 #4

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS - DoD Issues Interim Rule to Amend DFARS: Use of Military Construction Funds (DFARS Case 2015-D006) - The Department of Defense (DoD) issued an interim rule to amend the Defense Federal...more

USDA NOP Releases New Policy Memo on Nanotechnology

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) issued on March 24, 2015, a policy memorandum clarifying the status of nanotechnology in organic production and handling under the USDA organic...more

Quirky Question #257, Food for thought – whistleblowing claims against agricultural companies

You are right to be concerned. Under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), employees who work for entities engaged in the manufacture, processing, packing, transporting, distribution, reception, holding, or...more

Industrialization Of Biology Report Released By The National Academies

On March 13, 2015, the National Academies issued Industrialization Of Biology: A Roadmap To Accelerate The Advanced Manufacturing Of Chemicals, a 143-page report prepared in response to a request from the U.S. Department of...more

Biofuel Legislation In Minnesota Criticized For Focus On Corn

The Bioeconomy Coalition of Minnesota is advocating strongly for two bills in the state that if passed would result in a two-year, $5 million production incentive for producers, and a capital loan equipment program. ...more

New Canadian Law Strengthens Plant Breeders’ Rights

In Canada, plant breeders’ rights are a form of intellectual property under the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act of 1990. The intent of the 1990 act was to encourage plant breeding in Canada by strengthening the protections for new...more

New York Amends Agriculture and Markets Law To Provide Real Property Exemption For Silvopasture

For the first time, New York will classify silvopasture as agricultural land for the purpose of real property tax exemptions. This new classification could result in substantial tax savings for any livestock owner that uses...more

Proposed Changes to Australia's Foreign Investment Framework

In response to the findings of a recent report on Foreign Investment in Residential Real Estate (Report) by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics (Committee), the Commonwealth Government of Australia is...more

California Groundwater Users Face Unpredictable Legal Frontier

In 2014, for the first time in its 164-year history, California enacted a law that comprehensively regulates the extraction and use of the state’s groundwater. This legislative action came against the dramatic backdrop of...more

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Discuss RFS At 2015 Iowa Ag Summit

On March 7, 2015, the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit brought together several Republican Presidential hopefuls to discuss agricultural issues, including the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), in the United States. ...more

The Plant Variety Protection Act—An Increasingly Important Form of Intellectual Property Protection for Plants

As part of their treaty obligations in establishing International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), member countries have enacted laws that provide ‘‘Plant Breeders’ Rights’’ for protecting the...more

Mississippi Supreme Court Limits Broker Liability Where Insured’s Conduct Is Uninsurable

When an insurance claim is denied, policyholders sometimes look to their broker as a potential source of recovery. Generally speaking, a broker owes its client the duty to procure the scope of coverage requested. When a...more

USCIS Temporarily Suspends Adjudication of H-2B Petitions Following Court Order

As of March 5, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is temporarily suspending adjudication of H-2B petitions for temporary non-agricultural workers while the government considers the appropriate response to...more

EU Passes Controversial Directive Concerning GMOs

On March 2, 2015, European Union (EU) Ministers approved a Directive previously approved by the European Parliament with regard to genetically modified organisms (GMO). ...more

Australian Renewable Energy Agency Announces Funding For Biofuel Production

On February 24, 2015, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced $5.2 million in funding that would go to the design and construction of a pilot scale biofuel production facility in Perth. ...more

USDA Amends BCAP

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a final rule amending the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) to implement changes required by the 2014 Farm Bill. BCAP provides financial assistance to owners...more

BRDI Grants For Science And Engineering Research

USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) is accepting research and education grant applications for projects to integrate science and engineering research in...more

New Rule Ahead for Farm Animal Antibiotics

A new rule concerning the use of antibiotics on farm animals is nearly finalized. The rule will require producers and distributors of antibiotic products to work more closely with veterinarians to determine whether...more

District Court Dismisses Country of Origin Labeling Lawsuit

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed the lawsuit filed by meatpackers and trade groups against the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of a meat labeling...more

Protective Order Issued in Suit to Stop EPA from Releasing Farmers’ Information

A federal district court in Minnesota recently issued a protective order prohibiting the EPA from releasing information about animal feeding operations—including farmers' names, home addresses, telephone numbers and email...more

CFTC Advisory Committee Reviews Position Limits Proposal, Reopens Public Comments until March 28, 2015

On February 25, 2015, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC or Commission) published a notice that it would reopen the comment period for its previously proposed rule to establish speculative position limits for 28...more

And the Beat Goes On: NY State Assembly to Vote on GMO Labeling Law

Coming on the heels of the reintroduction of the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, on March 3, 2015, the New York State Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection voted 9 to 6, with one abstention, to...more

Unauthorized Use of Patented Grape Plants Not an Invalidating Public Use - Delano Farms Co. v. California Table Grape Comm’n

Addressing the issue of public use under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) in the context of an unauthorized use open to the public, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court’s finding that the actions of...more

Food Safety & Nutrition

The regulatory and legislative outlook for Food Safety and Nutrition is, compared to other more contentious and politicized issues, fairly robust for the next two years. At the federal agencies, there will be continued...more

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