tate authorities will soon be taking an uncharted path in their approaches to regulating CBD oil, growth of industrial hemp, and state-directed cultivation of full-strength marijuana, thanks to a busy legislative session addressing those issues. But the details on how that policy makeover will be implemented are still undefined, which is why the Department of Agriculture & Food met Thursday with business owners, farmers and patient advocates to hear their input before the agency's rule-making process begins in earnest. A law permitting the commercial production and sale of hemp by licensees who agree to a pilot research program, which passed the state legislature easily this year, attracted multiple comments Thursday from those who said they hope the Department of Agriculture doesn't place minimums on how large a hemp plot must be to qualify for a license.
Pennsylvania farmers, who use high tunnels to grow fresh fruits and vegetables, will no longer face the burden of having to meet state regulations intended for commercial and residential development now that Governor Wolf has signed House Bill 1486. The new law, which was a priority issue for Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) in 2018, prevents municipalities from requiring farmers to submit stormwater management plans on high tunnel structures that meet the law’s commonsense and easily understood guidelines. “The overall cost of putting together a stormwater management plan for a high tunnel structure would have likely eliminated or significantly negated the profitability of using the high tunnel in the first place,” added Ebert. “The new law should remove those obstacles and benefit local consumers.”
Tension over the drought-stressed Colorado River escalated into a public feud when four U.S. states accused Arizona’s largest water provider of manipulating supply and demand, potentially threatening millions of people in the United States and Mexico who rely on the river. The four states — Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — plus Denver’s water utility said the Central Arizona Project was trying to avoid a reduction in its share of the Colorado River while others are voluntarily cutting back to avoid a crisis amid a prolonged drought.“It’s one water user taking advantage of a situation for their own benefit, to the detriment of a river that supplies nearly 40 million people,” said Jim Lochhead, manager of Denver Water, which gets about half its supply from the Colorado River.
The city of Memphis could lose a quarter-million dollars as punishment for removing statues of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis last year. The Tennessee House of Representatives voted to strip the money from next year's state budget. The sum had been earmarked to go toward planning for Memphis' bicentennial celebrations next year. The surprise move came just before legislators were to give final approval to Gov. Bill Haslam's $37 billion spending plan. It angered several Memphis lawmakers, including Democrat Raumesh Akbari, who blasted the decision on the House floor. State lawmakers have been debating all session how to get back at Memphis for removing the statues last December. Many were angered that Memphis officials circumvented a state law designed to protect Confederate memorials, by selling the parks the statues were in to a nonprofit.
The executive director of Virginia State University’s Center for Agricultural Research, Engagement and Outreach has been appointed the state’s agriculture commissioner. Jewel Bronaugh was named to the post by Gov. Ralph Northam.
By encouraging Nebraskans to “Grow local. Brew local, and Buy local,” the Nebraska Craft Brewery Board hopes to enhance the state’s hop and craft brewery industry. Every year the Craft Brewery Board awards grants to fund research, development and marketing projects related to the industry. This year, the Board has approximately $90,000 available for innovative projects from growers, industry organizations, state and local agencies, educational groups and other eligible stakeholders.
The Hendricks County Superior Court ruled in favor of a group of hog farmers and their cooperative when it dismissed a lawsuit against them. The Lawsuit was filed by neighbors who argued that the hog farm was a nuisance, that the farm's location was rhe result of negligent siting and that the farm would release odors which would trespass on neighbor's property. The plaintiffs argued the farm itself had been negligently sited, so the RTFA should not apply. There was no evidence the plaintiffs’ alleged damage had been caused by any negligent operations, and the negligent siting theory impeded on the county’s right to grant zoning permission to locate a farm within the county. The plaintiffs have 30 days to appeal.
California imposes its poultry cage rules on states hoping to sell to California consumers. In requesting the U.S. Supreme Court to accept its complaint in the California cage size case, Missouri’s Attorney General states, “Unless this Court acts, California will continue to impose new agricultural regulations on other states in violation of federal law and those States’ sovereign, quasi-sovereign, and economic interests…”. The Attorneys General from Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin state they have “…a claim of seriousness and dignity between Sovereign States over which this Court [U.S. Supreme Court] has exclusive jurisdiction.” The complaining states are requesting the Court to hear this case between them and the state of California. The complaining States make it clear California has a history of ignoring federal statutes.
With the expectation that new water quality rules are coming to Ohio’s large rivers, the Ohio EPA is holding informational meetings to discuss the indicators of polluted rivers, and potential targets for nutrient loading. In March, the Ohio EPA released a draft report of the state’s latest list of impaired water bodies, which included the western basin of the open waters of Lake Erie. The state has battled water quality concerns over the past decade related to harmful algal blooms in the lake, and nutrient overloading in its rivers.
Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board has safeguarded 27 farms throughout the state, State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced. Three of the 27 farms are in Lancaster County while two others reside in Lebanon and York counties.