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Weekly News Update: January 15th Edition

Updated: Jul 24

By Mayhah Suri

Mountains in the distance with a forest and a person on a tractor with a hay bale on a field (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).

Upcoming Crop Insurance Deadlines Reminder that for potato growers who normally purchase crop insurance, the deadline to purchase crop insurance is January 31. To learn more about crop insurance options for potato growers, see http://go.umd.edu/PotatoCropIns. Green pea insurance must be purchased by Feb. 15. If you need to find a crop insurance agent in your area, see www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agent.html. To learn more about crop insurance, see the AREC Crop Insurance Homepage: https://www.arec.umd.edu/extension/crop-insurance


9 Things $1.4 Billion Powerball Buys Farmers and Ranchers With the Powerball at world-record lottery levels, farmers and ranchers are dreaming big. Here are nine ideas for what farmers and ranchers can actually buy with that kind of money. Since the majority of lottery winners take the cash prize, these writers calculated the values at the $868 million cash-out value. To read the list click here: http://www.agweb.com/article/9-things-14-billion-powerball-buys-farmers-and-ranchers-naa-wyatt-bechtel/


Drone Operator Files Federal Lawsuit This month, John Boggs filed a lawsuit against the man who in 2015 shot his drone down for the cost of the drone and that the government clarify federal law as it relates to operating a drone. Back in July of 2015, Boggs’ drone was shot down William Merideth. Merideth was arrested and charged criminal mischief but a judge later dismissed those charges. Boggs’ lawsuit specifically would like the court define a drone as an aircraft under federal law and clarify that if operated in navigable airspace the landowner has no reasonable expectation of privacy. The case is interesting and could potential provide clarity on the exact privacy interest landowners have from drones flying over. For the full story, go to: http://www.wdrb.com/story/30900552/drone-operator-sues-man-who-shot-it-down


North Carolina Taken to Court over “Ag-Gag” Law North Carolina joined Idaho and Utah in being forced to defend an “ag-gag” law due to a suit brought by a coalition on animal rights and government accountability groups, including PETA and the Center for Food Safety. The North Carolina Legislature approved the law over the veto of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in June 2015. It took effect on Jan. 1. The North Carolina challenge is the first to be made on grounds of both federal and state constitutional provisions being violated. The plaintiffs also argue that though the law is designed for agricultural operations, it could potentially apply to financial institutions, nursing homes, daycare centers, and other industries. For more information, please visit: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/01/north-carolinas-new-ag-gag-law-challenged-in-federal-court/#.VpfqsPkrJaR


Lawsuit Filed Over Insecticide-Coated Seeds Last week, the Center for Food Safety filed a lawsuit against EPA seeking the agency to declare seeds coated with neonicotinoids to be pesticides. Currently, EPA does not define seeds coated with the insecticide to be a pesticide regulated under federal law. The lawsuit comes shortly after EPA released a primary assessment that neonicotinoids may harm honey bees. To learn more about the suit see, http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_29351617/minnesota-beekeeper-sues-epa-over-insecticide-coated-seeds. To read the complaint filed by the Center for Food Safety, see http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/2016-1-6-dkt-1–pls–complaint_11142.pdf.


USDA Releases Reports on Poultry Insurance Feasibility The 2014 Farm Bill directed USDA to evaluate the feasibility of insurance products for poultry growers. Watts and Associates released the much anticipated reports focused on poultry insurance due to a catastrophic disease (for example avian influenza) and development of an insurance product related to poultry business interruption (such as the poultry company filing bankruptcy). In both cases, the reports find that the products would not be feasible for numerous reasons (including current federal law and lack of market information to create a sound policy). The reports can be found at http://www.rma.usda.gov/pubs/2015/poultrydisease.pdf and http://www.rma.usda.gov/pubs/2015/poultryinterruption.pdf.


Save the Date Webinar to Explore Issues Related to Farm Data: On March 3, we will be co-sponsoring a webinar focused on farm data issues. The webinar will feature Dr. Terry Griffin, Cropping Systems Economist with Kansas State University, Dr. Shannon Ferrell, Legal Specialist with Oklahoma State University, Ashley Ellixson, Extension Legal Specialist with University of Maryland. Stay tuned for more details. Sign up for updates from this site to get the latest news on upcoming webinars at http://go.umd.edu/signup.


New Publication Available While we were out on break, the Ag Law Education Initiative posted a new fact sheet online. The fact sheet, by Paul Goeringer, focuses in on legal issues related to bringing visitors on the farm. The publication, another in the Understanding Ag Liability series, Premise Liability is available at http://go.umd.edu/PremiseLiability.


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