On December 4, 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) amended its National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The rule reduces the primary annual standard for PM2.5 from 15.0 to 12.0 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). DNR was required to promulgate this rule to be consistent with the U.S. EPA NAAQS for PM2.5, published in January, 2013. The DNR rule is scheduled to be effective January 1, 2018, and will be submitted to the EPA as a revision to the Wisconsin state implementation plan. Continue Reading Wisconsin Tightens Air Quality Standards
The Federal Aviation Administration’s 2017 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) Symposium opened on March 27, 2017. Through the first two days of the conference, the FAA has focused on its efforts to work with UAS industry stakeholders to facilitate the integration of UAS into the national airspace system (“NAS”). In particular, the FAA has focused on three main issues: (1) the promulgation of performance based standards to accommodate future operations as UAS technology evolves; (2) the implementation of a technology based solution to facilitate compliance with FAA regulations and thus operation of UAS and further innovation; and (3) continued integration, as opposed to segregation, of various UAS into the NAS.
The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has announced new rules, which will take effect December 23, 2016, amending the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR). The revised rules expand the scope of medical devices and agricultural commodities that may be exported or re-exported to Iran without specific authorization, pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA).
Cuba’s Minister of Agriculture, Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero, made an official visit to the U.S. last week together with a delegation of officials from other Cuban ministries. Minister Rollero’s visit was preceded by a February 2016 visit from Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuba’s Foreign Trade Minister. These visits marked the first U.S. visits from senior Cuban government officials in over 50 years. President Obama, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon have also made their own historic visits to Cuba within recent months. Secretary Vilsack’s visit included a meeting in Havana to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (the “MOU”) between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture enabling the two agencies to cooperate in fields such as phytosanitary standards, plant and animal sanitation, organic production methods, climatology and irrigation through collaborative efforts such as information exchange and scientific research.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) sets forth sweeping reforms of US food safety laws with the primary goal of strengthening the food safety system through prevention of food safety problems rather than relying primarily on reacting to problems after they occur.
The FSMA aims to preempt safety concerns at all levels of the supply chain – including transportation. The Final Rule governing the safe transportation of food is expected to be enacted today, March 31, 2016.
In Part 1 of this blog, I discussed the question of data ownership and data protection obligations in precision agriculture. More specifically, I noted that all parties along the field to fork chain should give careful consideration to whether farm data likely will be generated at some point in the process and, if so, who is entitled to own or control the data and what data protection obligations exist as a result. In Part 2, I look at the various types of disputes that can arise if parties fail to reach agreement on key issues before starting work. Once agreement is reached, these points then need to be documented in a well-drafted contract. The range of potential disputes that could break out if good contracting is not employed should convince anyone in business in this area to have well-prepared, thorough written agreements in place to govern precision ag-related business dealings.
Earlier this week, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Larta Institute hosted this year’s Ag Innovation Showcase. Husch Blackwell LLP was proud to sponsor and have several of our attorneys attend this event. This year’s attendance surpassed 400 and registration was closed due to excess demand.
Continue Reading 2015 Ag Innovation Showcase Draws A Sellout Crowd
Recently, many speakers at conferences and authors in blogs have focused on the seeming conundrum as to who owns the farm data collected and/or created using precision ag technologies, as well as the related question of who must protect the data and how. Many have proposed legislation as an (unlikely) solution, while others have attempted to gain industry agreement as to ownership rules (see e.g., PRIVACY AND SECURITY PRINCIPLES FOR FARM DATA, spearheaded by the American Farm Bureau Federation). And still some have thrown up their hands, almost in dismay, and said these disputes will simply have to be resolved in the courts.
Yet, if one starts with the assumption that farm-generated data is an asset and, therefore, a type of property, it becomes apparent that there is a third alternative: careful contracting. I’m not just referring to the agreements entered into by precision ag companies. Rather, all parties along the field to fork chain should give careful consideration to whether farm data likely will be generated at some point in the process and, if so, who is entitled to own the data and what data protection obligations exist by virtue of this control.
While Iran has taken center stage in current foreign policy discussions, Congress and the Administration are keenly aware that Cuba is on deck. Following President Obama’s historic meeting with Cuban President Raúl Castro and his announcement of intent to remove Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism, members of Congress have responded by introducing bills both supporting and opposing the President’s policies, including:
On May 1, 2015, the FAA approved the first section 333 exemption request for approval to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone) over crops for purposes of spraying a wide-array of material (watering, fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides). The ruling can be found here. The exemption approval notes that vehicle at issue, the Yamaha RMAX Type II G, “can also be equipped with sensors and equipment to detect and monitor agricultural areas that require irrigation, fertilization, or other treatments.”