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SARL Members and Alumni News

This will be the last Ag Clips before Christmas

State Agriculture and Rural Leaders | Posted on November 22, 2018

We will be visiting farms and touring agriculture in New Zealand, so there will  be no AG Clips again until the Christmas edition. If one happens to slip out it is just a repeat. Have a wonderful thanksgiving holiday. Peace. love and kindness to all.

State denies permit to Arkansas hog farm near Buffalo River

Minnesota Star Tribune | Posted on November 22, 2018

An Arkansas environmental regulatory agency denied a permit for a hog farm Monday because of concerns that pig waste might be contaminating the nearby Buffalo River. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality issued a final decision that C&H Hog Farm in Vendor can no longer operate. Its decision followed a period of public comment after the department initially denied the permit for the farm in September.The department first denied the farm's permit in January, but the farm appealed to the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission, which sent the decision back to the department in August. The farm appealed that decision as well, and in October a judge ordered a stay on the department's decision to deny the permit in September.In its report, the department said it was denying the permit because of concerns that waste produced by the farm was contaminating the nearby Big Creek and Buffalo River. It tested two areas of each body of water close to the farm and found that all four "failed to meet water quality standards" under the department's regulations. Additionally, testing revealed higher levels of nitrates in the water and phosphorous in the soil.

FDA extends milk labeling comment period

FDA | Posted on November 22, 2018

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is extending by 60 days, until January 28, 2019, the comment period on the request for information on labeling plant-based products with names that include the names of dairy foods, such as “milk,” “yogurt,” and “cheese.” The original comment period was scheduled to end on November 27. The agency is taking this action in response to requests for additional time to submit comments. FDA believes that the extension will allow adequate time for interested persons to provide input without significantly delaying any potential further action on these important issues.The FDA is announcing the extension in the Federal Register.

Recent Right-to-Farm decisions around the U.S.

Southwest Farm Press | Posted on November 22, 2018

There have been several court decisions lately across the country related to states’ Right to Farm statutes. These cases provide good examples of the types of claims that can arise against a farm operation and also illustrate the differences between each state’s Right to Farm Act. The Pennsylvania Right-to-Farm Act was at issue in Burlingame v. Dagostin, 2018 WL 1530690. Since 1955, the Dagostin family has operated a farm in Luzerne County.  Up until 1990, it was a dairy, but then was switched to a beef farm.  In 2011, the family decided to convert to a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) for pigs.  The farm developed a required nutrient management plan prior to beginning the CAFO operations. The facilities were built and the first shipment of pigs arrived in January 2013.  At some point after that, the Dagostin family began spreading liquid swine manure (LSM) on their surrounding farm fields.In May 2014 and April 2015, neighbors of the farm filed a nuisance suit against the Dagostin’s spreading of the LSM.  The Dagostin family moved for summary judgment arguing their operation was protected by the PA Right to Farm Act.  The trial court agreed that the Act prohibited the plaintiffs’ claims and entered judgment in favor of the Dagostins.  The plaintiffs appealed. Cases in Alaska and Georgia are also discussed.

Attorney General takes war on Trump to Utah monuments

Capital Press | Posted on November 22, 2018

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson spearheads an 11-state coalition joining the fight to overturn President Donald Trump’s downsizing of two national monuments in Utah, a court battle that the American Farm Bureau Federation says will affect the value of federal rangelands and private ranches in the West. Ferguson’s office submitted two identical briefs Monday to the federal district court in Washington, D.C., siding with tribes and environmental groups suing Trump over the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.The briefs argue that the Antiquities Act of 1906 gives presidents power to create national monuments, but not to shrink them. “Simply put, the Act is a one-way ratchet in favor of preservation,” the brief states.The Trump administration last year roughly halved the 1.7 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante monument created by President Bill Clinton in 1996. It also reduced by about 85 percent the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears monument designated by President Barack Obama in 2016.The Wilderness Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Hopi Tribe and others are seeking to overturn the actions. Two cases are moving forward, one for each monument. The American Farm Bureau Federation is seeking a judge’s permission to intervene in both to support Trump’s action.

Medical marijuana backers threaten to sue over LDS Church involvement in compromise bill to replace Prop 2

Salt Lake Tribune | Posted on November 17, 2018

Medical marijuana advocates say they are exploring legal action challenging the Legislature’s move to replace Proposition 2 “at the behest” of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Although Utah voters this month approved the medical cannabis initiative by about 52 percent-48 percent, lawmakers are expected to meet in a December special session to overwrite the measure with a marijuana proposal acceptable to Prop 2 opponents, including the church. In a Thursday letter, an attorney representing a faction of the medical cannabis community argued that the church’s fingerprints are all over the push.

Nevada marijuana tax collections top $8M in August, set record

Las Vegas Sun | Posted on November 17, 2018

New Nevada tax data shows marijuana revenues are continuing to grow and top records in the state. The Nevada Department of Taxation said Wednesday that marijuana tax revenues at the retail and wholesale levels generated $8.1 million in August.That's a record and $3.2 million higher than the same month in 2017.The previous record was $7.9 million in July.

State Rep. Triston Cole from Mancelona Named Next Majority Floor Leader in Michigan House

9 and 10 News | Posted on November 15, 2018

State Rep. Triston Cole was selected to be to the majority floor leader in the state House of Representatives.

Thanks to all who ran for office

Montana Associated Technology Roundtables | Posted on November 15, 2018

I thank everyone who took the incredible leap of faith to run for elected office in the face of this turbulent political environment. After one of the most negative elections cycles I have ever seen, I can only propose that most voters want to hear what you stand for, not why your opponent is scum. I am amazed and gratified that truly dedicated people who actually want to be public servants and represent the interests of their constituents, not their own selfish interests, still run and face the relentless attacks and misrepresentations on who they are and what they believe. I especially thank those candidates who ran on the strength of their conversations and meetings with every class of people across Montana to hear their concerns and needs. I applaud those candidates who ran on their policies and not on the amount of lying or questionable practices that they thought necessary to win an office.

Lawsuit: Ohio wind setbacks were adopted in violation of state constitution

Energy News Network | Posted on November 15, 2018

A lawsuit filed this week over Ohio’s wind turbine setbacks centers on whether landowners, developers and others had a chance to be heard before the stricter terms were adopted as part of an eleventh-hour budget bill amendment in 2014.House Bill 483’s property line setbacks became part of a massive 2014 budget bill less than 24 hours before its passage by the Ohio Senate.Barely 10 minutes of discussion on the provisions took place on the Senate floor.That “tucked away” issue forms the basis for the plaintiffs’ constitutional challenge now. The relevant part of the Ohio Constitution says “[n]o bill shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title.”The parties suing the state allege that the law “is a classic example of ‘logrolling.’” That kind of horse-trading practice typically combines unrelated proposals to get support from lawmakers who might trade support for one part of the bill if another part includes something to their advantage.