On April 11, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated a 2008 federal rule that generally exempted livestock facilities from administrative reporting requirements for the release of hazardous substances to the air from animal waste (Waterkeeper Alliance, et al. v. EPA, No. 09-1017, April 11, 2017). The court’s decision creates regulatory uncertainty for many large livestock operations across the country that may now be subject to annual reporting requirements for the release of hazardous substances from animal waste to the air under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) and the Emergency and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA). The decision may impact also state-based reporting exemptions to the extent they incorporate or are tied to the federal reporting requirements. Read more
America’s farmers and ranchers will soon have the opportunity to strongly represent agriculture in their communities and industry by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by theU.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census, to be mailed at the end of this year, is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them. “The Census of Agriculture remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “As such, census results are relied upon heavily by those who serve farmers and rural communities, including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, extension educators, researchers, and farmers and ranchers themselves.” Read more
Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) issued the following statement today after lending his support to a transportation plan to raise new revenues for road maintenance and transportation infrastructure while asking voters to constitutionally safeguard these funds:
I have continuously highlighted the state’s underinvestment in rural California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. Whether you are talking about infrastructure, doctors, jobs, poverty, or crime we have too much of the bad and not enough of the good. The state assistance and funding that flows so easily to the big cities and the coast dries to a trickle when it comes to helping the Valley.
The other parts of the state take for themselves, and leave us only what is left over the same way they drive through on Highway 99 leaving nothing but their exhaust behind. They forget about us when we fade from their rearview mirror. But when it came to mustering the votes needed to pass this transportation plan, they could not ignore us, as much as they may have wanted to. Read more
One vision of a progressive food system celebrates diverse local farms and an approach to meat production that reduces the suffering of animals eventually slated to be slaughtered. But another vision insists that animal slaughter will never expunge its inherently inhumane nature, and that only plants should feed a growing global population. Which is more progressive? And which is more sustainable? In many communities, food activists are too busy combating new concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) or looking for alternatives to large-scale commodity crop production to debate the finer points of niche issues like local animal slaughter.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced this week that the chamber will vote on former Governor Sonny Perdue’s nomination for Secretary of Agriculture on April 24, after lawmakers return from their two-week Easter recess that begins today. Senate leaders scheduled Perdue’s confirmation vote this week after Democrats blocked action on Perdue’s confirmation, preventing him from assuming office before the recess. Read more
Colorado appeals court judge Neil M. Gorsuch took his oaths to be the Supreme Court’s 113th justice Monday morning, first in a private ceremony at the court and later at a Rose Garden ceremony with the man who nominated him, President Trump. At the first, private event in a grand room inside the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. administered the oath that all federal employees take. All eight justices and most of their spouses were on hand, as well as Maureen Scalia and Eugene Scalia, the widow and son of the justice Gorsuch is replacing, Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch’s wife, Louise, held a family Bible, and his daughters Emma and Belinda looked on. On a sunny spring day at the White House Rose Garden, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, for whom the 49-year-old Gorsuch once served as a clerk, led him through a second oath that justices take to impartially interpret the laws “and do equal right to the poor and to the rich.” Read more
Lillian Zacky is pleased to announce the following changes to the Zacky Farms Management Team: Mark Fisher has been promoted to Vice President of Plant Operations and Mark Duarte was promoted to Plant Manager of the Stockton plant location. Read more
Certified organic poultry operations must establish and maintain preventative livestock health care practices, which may include temporary confinement under conditions where the health, safety, or well-being of the animals could be jeopardized. Read more