U.S. Department of Agriculture

News & Analysis as of

Secretary Vilsack Confirms Administration Support For Biofuel Production Level

Last week, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke at a biofuel industry conference and addressed concerns raised over the likelihood that the final 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule would...more

USDA Invests $68 Million In 540 Renewable Energy And Energy Efficiency Projects

On September 18, 2014, Secretary Vilsack announced that USDA is investing $68 million in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide. This is the most recent in a series of USDA actions designed to help...more

USDA Awards Fulcrum Sierra Biofuels, LLC $105 Million Loan Guarantee

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has guaranteed a $105 million loan through Bank of America, N.A. to help Fulcrum Sierra Biofuels build a plant in McCarran, Nevada that would convert municipal waste into renewable...more

Food and Beverage News and Trends

Vermont AG defends the state’s GMO statute. On August 8, the Vermont attorney general filed a motion to dismiss a case brought by food trade groups against the state’s newly enacted statute requiring GMO foods be...more

USDA Announces Value-Added Producer Grants To Support The Bioeconomy

On August 19, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the Agency is investing $25 million to support 247 businesses throughout the country under the Value-Added Producer Grant program (the program). The...more

USDA Issues BioPreferred Rule

On August 1, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a final rule on "Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement." A copy of the rule is available online. The rule is effective on...more

DOE Joins “Farm To Fly” Initiative

DOE will reportedly join the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) "Farm to Fly" initiative to help promote the development and use of sustainable aviation biofuels. Under the initiative, USDA, Boeing, and the Air Transport...more

USDA Issues Report On Greenhouse Gases

On July 31, 2014, USDA issued a report on greenhouse gases. According to USDA's press release, the Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Agriculture and Forestry: Methods for Entity-Scale Inventory report "for the first time,...more

USDA Awards Funds To Promote Development Of Rural Wood-To-Energy Projects—15 States To Benefit

On July 15, 2014, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced grant awards to support the development of wood energy projects. According to the press release, the federal funds will leverage more than $4.5 million in...more

A Five-Step Recipe for Managing Your “Natural” Litigation Risk

The past five years have brought a deluge of class actions challenging the way in which the word “natural” is used on food and beverage labels. Perhaps predictably so, this litigation phenomenon resulted from the convergence...more

PTAB Permits Substitution of New Claims in Challenged Patent

International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. v. The United States - In a move unprecedented in any inter partes review (IPR), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) allowed the patent owner—the U.S. Department of...more

Tackling Standard Of Review For Compelled Corporate Speech

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is hoping for another bite at the apple in the legal controversy surrounding its conflict minerals rule (“CM rule”). At the same time, an unrelated case raising nearly identical...more

What You Should Know Before You Grill — FDA Finds Meat Contaminated With Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) tracks and assesses the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the nation’s foods and food-producing animals. The government department partners with the...more

U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Funding through Biomass Crop Assistance Program

On June 9, 2014, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Commodity Credit Corporation and Farm Service Agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will soon begin accepting applications for $12.5...more

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

SEC Seeks Rehearing of Conflicts Minerals Decision

The SEC has filed documentation with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals seeking an en banc rehearing of the conflict minerals decision. The original decision found that one piece of the disclosure required by the...more

USDA Signals Action On BioPreferred Program In Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda

On Friday, May 23, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its semi-annual regulatory agenda (Agenda) indicating its intended actions and priorities for the remainder of the year. A copy of USDA's Agenda is...more

Applications Now Being Accepted for USDA Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grant and Loan Program

On Monday, May 5, 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will begin accepting new applications for grants and loans under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for fiscal year 2014....more

DOE Publishes Notices Announcing Meeting Of And Solicitation Of Nominees For Biomass R&D Technical Advisory Committee

On May 19, 2014, two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) notices were published in the Federal Register. The first is a notice of an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee (Committee)....more

House Agriculture Appropriations Bill Would Make Significant Cuts To Mandatory Funding For Farm Bill

On May 20, 2014, the House Committee on Appropriations' Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee) and the Senate...more

Food and Beverage Alert (US)

This regular publication by DLA Piper lawyers focuses on helping clients navigate the ever-changing business, legal and regulatory landscape. - Senators express concern about FDA’s use of draft guidance documents to...more

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

The Grapes of Wrath Part II - A Return to Horne

In June of last year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Horne v. Department of Agriculture holding that California raisin handlers could assert a takings claim as an affirmative defense to an enforcement...more

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

USDA Announces Economic Development Grants to Rural Communities

Applications due June 13 for grants that will promote sustainable economic development - New grants from the United States Department of Agriculture will help promote sustainable economic development in rural...more

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