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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

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

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

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

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

Grants Available for Specialty Crops – March 26 Deadline

In early February 2015, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development (MDARD) announced the availability of a series of grants for Michigan specialty crop growers. The grants are funded by...more

CEQA Roundup – Recent Developments

Numerous CEQA-related developments have recently been in the news. Some of possible interest include: Kings and Kern Counties, the Kings County Farm Bureau, and a number of other groups filed a petition on February 9 with the...more

EPA Releases For Public Comment Controversial “EPA Framework for PIP Registrants: Proposal to Address Key SAP Recommendations for...

On January 28, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has made available for public comment its proposal to improve the corn rootworm insect resistance management program currently in place for...more

Sustainable Oils Receives Pathway for California LCFS

Sustainable Oils Inc. issued a press release announcing the issuance of a feedstock-only pathway for the production of Camelina-based fuels under the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). ...more

Even Further Down the Rabbit Hole: New EU Legislation Adds to GMO Quagmire

A vote by European Union (EU) lawmakers in mid-January gave individual governments within the 28-nation bloc the authority to decide whether genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be grown and cultivated within their...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court Applies Pollution Exclusion to Well Contaminated with Manure

Recently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the pollution exclusion applies to well water contamination arising from the application of manure to nearby farmland, relieving a general liability insurer of its duty to...more

EPA Describes New Registration as Safer for Bees

On January 21, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is registering a new insecticide, flupyradifurone, which EPA claims is “safer for bees” and will be “an alternative to more toxic products...more

Ruling Applies RCRA to Dairy Practices for the First Time

Community Ass’n for Restoration of the Envt. v. Cow Palace, The Dolsen Companies, and Three D, Case No. 13-3016 (E.D. Wash.) On January 14, 2015, Judge Thomas O. Rice of the Eastern District of Washington ruled that...more

EPA’s Recently Released Revised Human Health Risk Assessment for Chlorpyrifos Reflects New Implementation of EPA Policy

The spray drift and volatilization policies were discussed in an October 2014 webinar and discussed in our September 17, 2014, memorandum. EPA’s Revised Risk Assessment Methods for Workers, Children of Workers in Agricultural...more

Federal Court Ruling Expands RCRA Authority By Declaring Manure A RCRA Solid Waste

On January 14, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington granted summary judgment in a case against a dairy farm and declared manure from the farm’s livestock is a solid waste under the Resource...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court: Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage for Well Contamination Resulting from the Application of Manure and...

In Wilson Mutual Ins. Co. v. Robert Falk and Jane Falk, 2013AP691 & 2013AP776, and Preisler v. Kuettel’s Septic Serv., 2012AP2521, the Wisconsin Supreme Court sought to resolve conflicting court of appeals’ decisions on...more

USDA Revises Renewable Energy Loan Guarantees

On December 29, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the final rule for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP is intended to help mainly businesses, as well as some state, local, and tribal...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court Holds Pollution Exclusion Applicable to Cow Manure Claims

In its recent decision in Wilson Mut. Ins. Co. v. Falk, 2014 WI 136, the Wisconsin Supreme Court had occasion had occasion to consider whether cow manure generated at a dairy farm, and which migrates from the insured’s...more

Conservation Easements Are Not Required As Mitigation For Permanent Loss Of Farmland

In Friends of the Kings River v. County of Fresno, the California Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld the County of Fresno’s adoption of an Environmental Impact Report for a mining operation that will result in a permanent...more

Fresno County Aggregate Mine Fends Off Court Challenge

In Friends of the Kings River v. County of Fresno, No. F068818 (Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist., Dec. 8, 2014), the Fifth Appellate District upheld Fresno County’s (County) approval of the Carmelita Mine and Reclamation Project...more

Fifth District Rejects CEQA Challenge to Fresno County Aggregate Mine Project EIR In Partially Published Decision, Clarifies State...

In a lengthy, 65-page opinion filed December 8, 2014 (of which fully two-thirds was unpublished), the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the Fresno County Superior Court’s judgment upholding the EIR, Conditional Use...more

USDA Announces More Than $9 Million In Grants To Producers And Researchers

On December 2, 2014, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced over $9 million in grants to support advanced biofuel production and the bioeconomy. More than $5 million in grants awarded to 220 producers nationwide are...more

Court Holds Small Business Administration and Farm Service Agency Must Consult on Loan Guarantees

A federal district court in Arkansas recently issued a decision clarifying that the obligation to consult under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) extends to the Small Business Administration and the Farm...more

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