Petitions asking a federal appeals court to revisit its decision on the insecticide sulfoxaflor are likely to be filed today, the deadline set by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

EPA has interpreted the court’s December opinion as requiring that the agency merely begin the endangered species consultation process with federal wildlife agencies within 180 days, but environmental groups said the court required that the process be completed.

However, environmental groups are also expected to ask the court to rehear the case and vacate the registration of the insecticide. The appeals court, with one dissent, declined to halt use of the chemical because of potential impacts on agriculture and because, the court said, alternatives are worse. Environmentalists disagree with both conclusions.

Use of canola as biofuel feedstock jumped sharply over last year

Canola oil saw a 278% increase in usage as a biofuel feedstock between 2022 and 2023, according to a recent report from the Energy Information Administration.

Approximately 64 million pounds of the substance were used in biofuels in January 2022, while about 242 million pounds were used this January. Canola can be used as a feedstock for biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF. 

Take note: The Environmental Protection Agency issued a rule last year allowing renewable diesel and SAF made using canola oil to qualify to generate RINs through the Renewable Fuel Standard. Demand for canola oil may continue to increase as the renewable diesel industry grows.

NPPC supports H-2A petition before Supreme Court

The National Pork Producers Council is backing a petition from an Iowa construction company alleging that a worker building hog barns qualified as an H-2A worker and thus was not entitled to overtime pay.

A federal appeals court said in a decision in August that Signet Builders had not sufficiently alleged that Luna Vanegas was engaged in “agricultural activity” under the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company has filed a petition with the Supreme Court.

In reversing and remanding the case to the district court for further proceedings, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said “Signet bears the burden of proving that the agricultural exemption applies, … and it has not carried that burden on the pleadings (we of course have nothing to say about how this case might develop further down the line).”

In its latest “Capital Update,” NPPC said it believes “it is vital for producers to be able to employ specialized workers on their farms and that construction of barns and other infrastructure necessary to raising livestock is an essential and fundamental agricultural activity.”

Dairy exporters call for better SE Asia trade conditions

U.S. dairy exports to Southeast Asia have stumbled recently and industry representatives used a visit to Singapore last week by John Boozman, the top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, to highlight exporters’ demands for new free trade agreements in the region.

Boozman, along with Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., attended a meeting last week at USDEC’s Center for Dairy Excellence in Singapore.

New trade data shows that dairy exports to Southeast Asia in February dropped by 20%, compared to a year ago.

“The challenge facing U.S. suppliers in the region is three-pronged: lagging demand, heightened competition from New Zealand and Europe and a less favorable pricing environment,” says USDEC.
Millions of eggs donated during Easter holiday weekend
Sauder’s Eggs of Litiz, Pennsylvania, donated 36,000 eggs to the Capital Area Food Bank ahead of the Easter holiday weekend as part of the American Egg Board’s national Fighting Hunger by the Dozens initiative involving donations across the country.
AEB says the initiative aims to get more than 5.5 million eggs to food-insecure families ahead of spring celebrations, including Easter and Passover. That’s equal to over 458,300 dozen eggs that will be donated across the country — one of the largest total egg donations in history. 

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“America’s egg farmers are passionate about being good stewards and neighbors, which includes lending a helping hand, producing safe food, caring for our animals and protecting the environment for future generations,” said Mark Sauder, a fourth-generation Pennsylvania egg farmer and president of Sauder’s Eggs. “Sharing eggs is especially important because we know that protein has great value to those who are hungry and to the hunger relief organizations who serve them.”
Who else was on hand? At the event Friday at the Capital Area Food Bank, Sauder was joined by Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board, Mary Beth Healy, chief revenue and marketing officer of Capital Area Food Bank, Danny Leckie, executive director of HATCH and Jennifer Moffit, USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.

She said it: "From dyeing and decorating to their prominent position on the seder plate, eggs are such an important part of Easter, Passover and other springtime holidays and traditions. That's why our farmers are committed to ensuring that all who hold their traditions dear can celebrate with eggs this season." – Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board, who was on hand for the donation of 36,000 eggs on Friday to Capital Area Food Bank.

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