The Biden administration has informed federal courts that have enjoined its “waters of the U.S.” rule that it has revised that rule to conform with the Supreme Court’s Sackett decision, allowing litigation to move forward.

The rule, which was published before the Supreme Court decision, is enjoined in 27 states due to three court orders issued after it went into effect in March. The courts stayed the litigation, however, after EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers said they would issue new language to align the rule with the Supreme Court decision, which was issued in May.

Once the revisions are official by being published in the Federal Register, the courts are expected to lift the stays and proceed with trying the cases. 

The states where the Biden WOTUS rule is enjoined are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, IdahoIndiana, Iowa, Kansas, KentuckyLouisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, TexasUtah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The government filed similar status reports in two district courts and one appellate court where litigation is pending, including the Southern District of Texas. The other two courts are the District of North Dakota and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

The (wheat in the) South is on the rise

You may think primarily of Texas and Oklahoma when you think of wheat in the South, but a new analysis out of Texas A&M points out that wheat grown in other southern states like Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia is on the rise and accounting for much of production growth.

Mark Welch, a Texas A&M professor, points out in an analysis published in Southern Ag Today that “in the last two years, with drought plaguing the Southern Plains, wheat production in other southern states has played an important role in the overall supply of U.S. wheat. In 2022, winter wheat production in the south accounted for 20% of total U.S. winter wheat production. That increased to 23% in 2023.”

USDA data shows that there were record yields in eight U.S. states for the 2023 winter wheat crop and five of those were Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.  

“Outstanding yields in southern states outside of Texas and Oklahoma drove the production increase in 2023,” says Welch. “Production was 139 million bushels, up 24 million bushels from 2022. Harvested acres in these states were up from 1.63 million to 1.845 million acres, an increase of 215,000. This is a 21% increase in production on a 13% increase in harvested acres.”  

Judge extends litigation pause in Snake River salmon case

A federal judge on Friday agreed to continue a pause in litigation over a longstanding court case over Snake River salmon declines until Oct. 31 to give tribes, environmental groups, states and the federal government additional time to attempt to settle the case among themselves. 

The extension, litigants said in a motion Thursday, would allow them to continue working with the Biden Administration to develop a “durable long-term strategy” for restoring the river’s salmon populations, which have declined by more than 90% in the last century, according to wildlife agencies in Washington and Oregon. 

Three of the plaintiffs — the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, and the Spokane Tribe of Indians — believe they are nearing agreements with the federal government, according to the motion. They still need to finish confidential negotiations, however, before coordinating with other parties in the case.

“The discussions have been positive, and progress has been made, but the private caucus participants need more time to continue the discussions and expand them to involve the other parties and amicus in this case,” the motion said.

USDA to provide $65 million through Conservation Innovation Grant Program

The USDA has opened $65 million up for grants through the Conservation Innovation Grants program, which funds the development of new conservation tools, practices and technologies.

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Approximately $50 million will go towards CIG On-Farm Trials, which prioritize applications for irrigation water management technologies, nutrient management, feeding management, grazing lands and soil health demonstration trials, according to a press release. Around $15 million will go towards CIG Classic, for forestry habitat conservation, water quality, energy conservation, economic and indigenous knowledge projects.

Applications can be submitted through

AFIA details progress and challenges from past year

In 2023, nearly 5,650 animal food manufacturing facilities will generate a total of $267.1 billion in total sales with 80,000 direct employees, according to the American Feed Industry Association’s annual report, Our Industry, Our Promise. The report details operational and regulatory challenges facing the industry. 

“Our members have been caught between the devil and the deep blue sea over the past few years, having difficulty exporting animal feed, feed ingredients and pet food products that their foreign buyers need, while battling the undercurrent of exorbitant rate and fee increases for containers and logistical nightmares for both imports and exports,” notes Constance Cullman, AFIA president and CEO, in the report.

AFIA has been working to increase resources within the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine to accelerate the ingredient review process and calling for ways to clarify non-nutritive benefit claims such as reduced food safety pathogens or emission reductions. 

The report says animal feed plays an important role in reducing climate impacts, as more than 40% of ingredients used in feed are coproducts from other industries. This means that roughly 113.6 million tons of materials are diverted from landfills, avoiding approximately 61.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and 7.4 million metric tons of methane from entering the atmosphere annually. 

Steve Davies, Jacqui Fatka and Noah Wicks contributed to this report. 

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