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SARL Members and Alumni News

Andrew Cuomo: Legalize recreational marijuana in New York in 2019

Democrat and Chronicle | Posted on December 18, 2018

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday offered his most forceful support to date for legalizing recreational marijuana , marking the culmination of a dramatic shift for the governor who called it a "gateway drug" as recently as last year. Cuomo, a Democrat, vowed in a speech in Manhattan to push for legalization within the first 100 days of 2019, saying it was beyond time for the state to deal with the "debilitating criminal stigma" of prior convictions related to the drug. It was the latest step in Cuomo's slow crawl toward supporting marijuana legalization, which he had opposed for much of his first two terms in office before beginning to embrace it this year as neighboring states and Canada moved to allow the drug.Cuomo said legalizing the drug would help end "needless and unjust criminal convictions" for possession, which have disproportionately affected minority communities.Nationwide, 10 states and Washington D.C. have legalized small amounts of the drug for personal use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency enacts Chronic Wasting Disease plan

Clarksville On-Line | Posted on December 18, 2018

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is enacting the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Response plan, following a preliminary positive detection of CWD in white-tailed deer in Hardeman County and Fayette County. The response plan involves a coordinated effort between TWRA, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and other partners. “Hunters are our biggest ally in managing chronic wasting disease in Tennessee if it is confirmed here,” said Dr. Dan Grove, Wildlife Veterinarian, University of Tennessee Extension. “Besides submitting deer from the to-be-defined CWD Zone, the most important thing everyone needs to do is follow the regulations for moving harvested deer.Currently, 25 states and three Canadian provinces have documented CWD. Last week, Mississippi announced a preliminary CWD positive hunter-harvested deer in Marshall County which became the closest to Tennessee and the fourth overall this year in Mississippi. Other confirmed cases have previously been made in the border states of Arkansas, Missouri, and Virginia.

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.