Happy Friday (or whenever you are reading this). This week we have new proposed regs from USDA, reminders on deadlines, upcoming workshops, and the state senate clearing the way for a compromise on phosphorus. And on that bomb shell, here is some of the news:
Phosphorus – The Maryland Senate referred a bill back to committee, effectively killing it, and leading the way for a larger compromise on phosphorus. Check out Phil Davis’s article on the senate’s actions (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/local/2015/03/25/phosphorus-bill-dead/70455180/). Finally, check out last week’s roundup post.
Farm Bill Decisions Due Mar. 31 – Do not forget that the election for the new farm programs, base acre reallocation, and payment yield updates is due on Mar. 31. You can use the tool the decision tool at the Farm Bill Toolbox You can also check out past presentations from our Farm Bill meetings at http://bit.ly/MDFarmBill.
Proposed Actively Engaged Rules Announced – On Tuesday, USDA announced proposed regulations to limit the number of managers a farm could claim were actively engaged in farm management. The changes were prompted by the 2014 Farm Bill and only apply to non-family farm operations. The press release is available here. Comments are due by May 26 on regulations.gov. I should have some info out on the proposed rule early next week.
CSA Webinar – Do not forget that our CSA webinars start this coming week. You can still sign up at http://bit.ly/CSAWebinar. The webinars will cover CSA contracting issues, labor issues, and risk management tools.
Top 10 Records You Should Have – The National Law Review has an article up on the top 10 personal documents that you should have compiled in a safe location. This will help at your passing with your personal representative knowing where to easily find documents. The complete is available on the National Law Review.
USDA Study Calls Science Behind Neonics into Question. Even as a special White House created task force is poised any day now to address concerns over supposedly vanishing honeybees, new research suggests that the very premise of the federal investigation may be misplaced. Last summer, President Obama asked the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate conflicting reports that pesticides, and in particular a class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids, were the probable cause of mysterious bee deaths and declining numbers of beehives. The Department of Agriculture announced late last week that honey production, which had been disrupted after CCD devastated the bee population nine years ago, continues to improve, up 14 percent. The total number of hives also increased again, by 100,000 or 4 percent, as it had increased the year before and the year before that. Read the full story at: http://geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/03/23/usda-study-concludes-neonics-not-driving-bee-deaths-as-white-house-set-to-announce-bee-revival-plan/.
New Plan For Chicken Manure Energy Plant on Eastern Shore: New Hampshire-based company has teamed with poultry giant Perdue to propose a $200 million plant on the Eastern Shore to extract energy from chicken manure, offering its plan as a viable remedy for the farm pollution fouling the Chesapeake Bay. Officials with AgEnergyUSA met in Annapolis last week with lawmakers, state officials, environmentalists and farmers, seeking support and legislation worth tens of millions of dollars for their project. The company wants to build an "anaerobic digestion" plant near Salisbury that could handle up to 200,000 tons of chicken litter a year — close to what officials estimate is the excess amount being spread on the Shore each year. The plant would use bacteria to extract methane-rich bio-gas for industrial use. The residue would be processed so that the bay-fouling nutrients in chicken waste could be separated and used in a more environmentally friendly manner. Read the full story at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/green/blog/bs-md-poultry-litter-plant-20150320-story.html#page=1
FDA Announces National Kick-Off Meeting on FSMA Implementation- FDA will hold a “National Kick-Off Meeting on Implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)” on April 23-24, 2015, in Washington, D.C. To read more details visit http://agfdablog.com/2015/02/26/fda-announces-national-kick-off-meeting-on-fsma-implementation/
Lower Shore Leasing Workshop – One last leasing workshop will take place on April 6th in Princess Anne from 6:00 to 8:30 with dinner provided. Please sign up at http://bit.ly/19n7R37.