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Weekly News Update: May 13th Edition

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

By Mayhah Suri

Light pink roses (Edwin Remsberg).

New Report Alleges Cruelty and Endangerment of Poultry Workers A new report by Oxfam America, an arm of the international anti- poverty and injustice group, alleges that poultry industry workers are “routinely denied breaks to use the bathroom” in order to optimize the speed of production. The industry has responded with both concern and denial. Oxfam says it reached out to all of the companies mentioned in the report, but only heard back from two: Tyson Foods and Perdue. Both said they don’t tolerate the sort of practices mentioned in the report, and cited steps they have taken to make sure working conditions at their processing plants are safe and humane. For more information about the report, visit:

Frozen Food Fears: 4 Things to Know About the Listeria Outbreak Last Tuesday evening, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an outbreak of the deadly Listeria monocytogenes bacteria- and frozen vegetables and fruits are believed to be the cause. More than 350 products like green beans, broccoli, peas and blueberries sold under 42 brands at grocers including Safeway, Costco, and Traders Joe’s have been recalled. To read the full story go here:

Sixth Circuit Consolidates All WOTUS Challenges On Monday, a three-judge panel for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to consolidate the numerous challenges to the new WOTUS rule into one case in the 6th Circuit. This comes after months of courts trying to determine who has jurisdiction. The court directed those challenging the rule to appoint 3 liasons who will faciliate efficiant communication between the parties and the court. Currently there are 20 separate challenges before the 6th Circuit with 150 challengers. Questions still remain on what will happen to challenges before the 11th Circuit and the federal district court in North Dakota. To read the complete story and see the Order, click here

Army Corps to Streamline Maryland Oyster Farming Permits

Maryland oyster farmers, who’ve long complained that bureaucratic red tape and permitting delays are holding back their fledgling industry, should see speedier approvals of their aquaculture projects under a streamlined review process that federal regulators unveiled last week. To read the full story click here:

New Poll Finds Americans Support Farmers and Crop Insurance National Crop Insurance Services released the results of a new nationwide poll this week. The results show that the majority of Americans support producers and the programs that protect them. Close to 80 percent of those who responded believe that producers should be given a discount their crop insurance premiums. Also 80 percent of those surveyed believe a strong ag industry is important to the country’s national security. To read a summary of the report and get to the main report, click here

New Crop Insurance Publication Available The 2014 Farm Bill created a new crop insurance product known as Whole Farm Revenue Insurance. This product allows producers with diverse operation to take out one crop insurance policy instead of multiple crop insurance policies. Paul Goeringer and Howard Leathers have recently updated the Crop Insurance Education Program’s Whole Farm fact sheet to reflect changes made by the Risk Management Agency in 2016. Although the sales closing date has passed, check out and consider how the product could impact your operation in 2017. The publication is available at

Somerset Solar Farm Riles Residents A developer is trying to build a 6-megawatt solar farm in a neighborhood just outside of Crisfield. Those opposed to the project have collected 600 signatures, but all signs point toward OneEnergy Renewables making good on its plans. To read the full story click here:

Upcoming Solar and Wind Energy Leasing Workshop in Kent County Landowners in Maryland have been contacted by solar and wind energy companies about leasing property for large scale energy production. For those landowners in Kent County, the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland Extension, Agriculture Law Education Initiative, and Center for Environment and Society at Washington College will sponsor a workshop on June 6 in the Hynson Lounge on Washington College’s campus. The workshop will feature Dr. Sebastian Houde discussing the economics associated with these solar and wind leases and Ashley Ellixson and Paul Goeringer discussing legal issues related to these long-term leases. The workshop is free to attend and you can sign up at

Upcoming Big Ag Data Webinar: May 23rd at 12 pm On May 23 at 12pm EST, the University of Maryland, Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University, and Texas A&M University will host a webinar Developing Issues in Agriculture: Legal Issues Related to Big Data in Agriculture. Speakers will be Ashley Ellixson, an Extension Legal Specialist with the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the Agriculture Law Education Initiative and Dr. Shannon Ferrell, Oklahoma associate professor of agricultural economics, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University. For more details and registration information, visit:

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