Welcome to the Ag & Food Law Blog

This blog provides a comprehensive news, research, and information resource on agricultural and food law for the nation’s agricultural community. 

It is provided as a partnership of The National Agricultural Law Center, the nation’s leading source of agricultural and food law research and information, and the American Agricultural Law Association, the only national professional organization focusing on the legal needs of the agricultural community.  Located in Fayetteville, Arkansas the National Agricultural Law Center serves the nation's agricultural community and is a unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.  In addition, the Center leads the eXtension Community of Practice for Agricultural and Food Law.

FSIS Amending Poultry Products Inspection Regulations

Posted August 29, 2014

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has amended the poultry products inspection regulations to establish a new inspection system for young chicken and all turkey slaughter establishments.

Young chicken and turkey slaughter establishments that do not choose to operate under the new poultry inspection system may continue to operate under their current inspection system.

The rule is in effect October 20, 2014.

The Federal Register is available here.

Zinpro Corp. Requesting Food Additive Amendment

Posted August 29, 2014

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that Zinpro Corp. filed a petition proposing that the food additive regulations be amended to provide for the safe use of zinc L-selenomethionine as a source of selenium in complete feed for broiler chickens.

Comments are accepted until September 22, 2014.

The Federal Register is available here.

AMS Requesting Comments on Honey

Posted August 29, 2014

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking comments on how a Federal standard of identity for honey would be in the interest of consumers, the honey industry, and U.S. agriculture.

Comments are accepted until September 19, 2014.

The Federal Register is available here.

DOE Requesting Comments on Landscape Design

Posted August 29, 2014

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has invited public comment on its Request for Information (RFI) regarding Landscape Design for Sustainable Bioenergy Systems.

The purpose of RFI is to solicit feedback from bioenergy stakeholders on landscape design approaches that integrate cellulosic bioenergy feedstock production into existing agricultural and forestry systems while maintaining or enhancing environmental and socio-economic sustainability including ecosystem services and food, feed, and fiber production.

Comments are accepted until September 2, 2014.

The Federal Register is available here.

Tyson Workers Awarded $5.8 Million

Posted August 28, 2014

On Monday, the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals awarded $5.8 million to a class of Tyson Food employees who sued for overtime pay, according to a Meating Place article by Tom Johnston available here. Courthouse News Service also published an article available here and Law 360 here.

The case involves more than 3,000 current and former hourly workers from the company’s Storm Lake, Iowa, plant. The complaint was issued in 2007 and stated that Tyson’s policy of adding several minutes per day to each employee’s paycheck to account for donning and doffing gear was insufficient.

 In 2006, lead plaintiff Adelina Garcia and several hundred other employees from a Tyson facility in Finney County, Kansas, filed a proposed class action in the Kansas federal court. The plaintiffs claimed violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Kansas Wage Protection Act for being underpaid for tasks, including putting on and taking off of shin guards, mesh aprons, belly guards, plexiglass arm guards and knocker vests, and other tasks, according to Courthouse News Service.

The jury granted $500,000 in damages and then the trial court awarded more than $3.3 million in attorneys’ fees under the FLSA.

In his dissent, Circuit Judge C. Arlen Beam said that the workers were not eligible for class certification because commonality under Rule 23 requires that all class members suffered the same injury, and that the FSLA class was conditionally certified for workers only in one of the departments, but that “conditional” portion was never revisited, according to Law 360.

"Here we have undifferentiated presentations of evidence, including significant numbers of the putative classes suffering no injury and members of the entire classes suffering wide variations in damages, ultimately resulting in a single-sum classwide verdict from which each purported class member, damaged or not, will receive a pro-rata portion of the jury's one-figure verdict," Judge Beam said.

For more information, please view the case here.

EPA Amends CWA Regulations

Posted August 28, 2014

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized amendments to the Clean Water Act (CWA) regulations to codify that under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, permit applicants must use “sufficiently sensitive” analytical test methods when completing an NPDES permit application and the Director must prescribe that only “sufficiently sensitive” methods be used for
EPA has modified existing NPDES application, compliance monitoring, and analytical methods regulations. 

The amendments in this rulemaking affect only chemical-specific methods and do not apply to the Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) methods or their use.

The regulations are in effect September 18, 2014.

The Federal Register is available here.