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Weekly News Update: September 2nd Edition

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

By Mayhah Suri

Hay bale on a field after sunset (Edwin Remsberg).

What Kind of Ag Law Outreach Would You Like to See? Now available online is a program evaluation for the Ag Law Education Initiative (ALEI). The evaluation will help ALEI determine what topics to prioritize in the coming years. Let us know what you want to know! You can take the brief, anonymous survey here:

John Deere and Precision Planting Sued By Department of Justice Department of Justice (DOJ) moved to block John Deere’s acquisition of Precision Planting this week. DOJ sued the two companies claiming the acquisition would reduce competition and increase costs for U.S. farmers violating anti-trust laws. Deere’s acquisition of Precision Planting would allow Deere to dominate the precision planting market with almost 90 percent control of the market. To read more about the lawsuit, click here

ERS Releases U.S. Farmland Ownership, Tenure, and Transfer Report USDA’s Economic Research Service released a report covering the 2014 Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) survey. Some survey highlights include that 10 percent of all farmland is expected to transfer during 2015-19, and 6 percent will transfer through gifts, trusts, or wills. To read the other highlights of the report click here, or to read the entire report, click here

New Publication- Agricultural Water in Maryland This publication walks growers through the water appropriation permit process. The publication also includes an explanation of how water usage for the farm community is treated during a time of drought. You can find it here:

Right-to-Farm Law and Medical Marijuana Recently the Court of Appeals of Michigan heard an intriguing appeal from a medical marijuana producer. Producers had failed to get a permit to construct a greenhouse for growing medical marijuana in an area zoned for single-family residences. The trial court did not rule on whether Michigan’s Right-to-Farm law offered a valid affirmative defense to the township seeking to enforce the ordinance. The court of appeals ruled the issue was moot since the homeowner had ceased operations and torn down the greenhouse. For those interested the case is Armada Twp. v. Hampson, No. 325135,

Alaska Supreme Court to Dispute Involving Sewage In October, the Supreme Court of Alaska will hear an appeal in a case involving an Alaska farmer storing large amounts of sewage on ponds on his farm. The city had revoked his conditional use permit to apply the sewage on his farm as fertilizer due to complaints about the smell, and the state revoked his permit to store sewage when they learned he had more than 2 million gallons stored on his farm. The state is arguing that he is using the property for his other business (a septic pumping service). Read more about the dispute here A similar incident happened in 2012-13 in Alaska where a farmer was found to be storing sewage on his property and not using as a fertilizer,

Carroll County Farmers Enroll More than 40K Acres in Cover Crops The Maryland Department of Agriculture says 1,853 Maryland farmers visited the state’s network of local soil conservation district offices to apply for grants to plant 691,743 acres of protective cover crops on their fields this fall. Cover crops have been shown to reduce nutrient runoff, control soil erosion, and protect water quality in streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. To read the full article click here:

ERS Predicts Net Farm Income and Net Cash Farm Income to be Down ERS is predicting for the 3rd straight year, farm profitability will be down with net farm income predicted to be down 11.5 percent from the 2015 estimates and net cash farm income 13 percent from 2015. Farm production expenses will also be down for a second year down 2.8 percent from 2015. To see more on the ERS report, click here

New Maryland Ag Podcast on Farm Breweries Available Farmers are often looking for new ways to diversify their operations. One new way maybe developing an on-farm brewery under Maryland’s Class 8 license. In this episode, Paul is rejoined by Mayhah Suri to discuss the licensing process to get the license and things producers need to be aware of before opening a brewery on the farm. Find the podcast here:

Reminder Crop Insurance Workshop is Sept. 13. Want to learn about climate change and agriculture and new developments with the crop insurance program? Then come to Doubletree Hotel on Sept. 13 from 9am to 3:30. The workshop is free to attend and you can register at

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