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Weekly News Roundup: February 19th Edition

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

By Mayhah Suri

CSA share photographed by Edwin Remsberg

Reminder CSA Membership Agreement Samples Available Many of you running CSAs will soon be signing members up for the new season. If you need help drafting the agreement or a document to compare your current one against, check out the AREC & ALEI CSA Membership Agreement page The page has a model agreement guide, sample agreements, and videos to help you develop a membership agreement that works for your farm.

Justice Scalia’s Passing and Implications on Agriculture Over the weekend, the legal world was rocked by the death of Justice Scalia (a rare event – only 3 sitting justices have died in office in the past 60 years). As we wait for his replacement to be appointed, DTN’s Chris Clayton has written on how Scalia’s death impacts agriculture. The story highlights that American Farm Bureau’s challenge of the Bay’s TMDL is still pending before the court. Finally, the story highlights potential replacements for Scalia from agricultural states. To read the story

SCOTUS Delays Chesapeake Conference The Supreme Court will not talk on Friday about a petition from the American Farm Bureau Federation challenging the EPA-led cleanup plan for the Chesapeake Bay after all. A spokeswoman for the court said the conference was called off because of a ceremony in honor of Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away last weekend at a Texas ranch. No orders from the court are expected Monday. Legal experts say Scalia’s death makes it less likely the high court will agree to hear the Farm Bureau’s challenge to the EPA’s cleanup plan, which is widely viewed as a template for cleaning up other multi-state watersheds. If the court passes it over, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling upholding the plan would remain in place. Read more about that at:

Fillers Found in Grated Parmesan Cheese The case against Castle Cheese, Inc. for falsely marketing their product as “100 percent” Parmesan cheese despite containing fillers like cellulose and other cheeses continues this week as CEO Michelle Myrter is expected to please guilty to criminal charges. Castle Cheese was investigated by the Food and Drug Administration after FDA received a tip that their product contained little to no actual Parmesan cheese. Companies often use fillers in grated Parmesan to avoid clumping and to reduce cost, as Parmesan production takes several months. For more coverage, visit:

ARC/PLC Payments Cannot Be Deferred on Your Taxes Farm Journal’s Paul Neiffer reminds producers receiving ARC or PLC payments in 2015 cannot defer those payments on their 2015 taxes. Payments from agricultural programs must be recognized in the year received. For example an ARC payment in 2015 must be recognized on the 2015 income taxes. Crop insurance proceeds are typically deferrable for one year if the proceeds are related to yield losses and the producer would typically sell 50 percent of the crop in the year after harvest. For more information, see

Feb. 24th Webinar on Hiring Interns and Labor Law Ramifications ALEI’s Sarah Everheart will host a webinar on a topic many Maryland farmers have questions about: hiring and using interns. Many farms across Maryland use interns or apprentices to lighten the overall farm workload and help young people gain practical farming experience and knowledge. Although interns can be a welcome addition to a farm’s workforce, farmers need to be aware of how to properly compensate interns and the legal consequences of adding them to the payroll. Farmers who hire and/or house interns may need to make changes in order to comply with Federal and State labor laws. See more and register here:

Data Webinar to Be Held on March 3 Ag Law Initiative will be co-sponsoring a webinar on Thursday, March 3rd at noon EST over the economic issues in big data in agriculture. The webinar is free and you can learn more and register at Crop Insurance Sales Closing Date Fast Approaching Remember that March 15 is the sales closing date for most spring planted crops. Take time to talk to your crop insurance agent about your coverage options. For more information on crop insurance see

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