Agricultural Labor: Department of Labor Publishes H-2A Final Rule 🌾
On April 29, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) published in the Federal Register a final rule (89 FR 33898) titled “Improving Protections for Workers in Temporary Agricultural Employment in the United States.” Also announced by DOL, the final rule includes the following provisions: 

  • Requires that employers seeking H-2A workers assure that they “ha[ve] not and will not . . . in any manner discriminate against” a worker because that worker has “engaged in activities related to self-organization” or the worker has “refused to attend an employer-sponsored meeting . . . if the primary purpose of the meeting is to communicate the employer’s opinion concerning any [protected] activity,” 
  • Allows workers to “invite and accept guests, including labor organizations . . . to their employer-furnished housing,” 
  • Defines “for cause” termination as “only . . . when the worker either fails to comply with employer policies or fails to perform job duties satisfactorily after . . . the transparent application of a system of progressive discipline,” 
  • Establishes the “effective date of updated adverse effect wage rates as of the date of publication in the Federal Register” and “requir[ing] employers who fail to provide adequate notice to workers of a delay in their start date to pay workers the applicable rate for each day that work is delayed for up to 14 days”; 
  • “[R]equir[es] seat belts in most vehicles used to transport workers,” 
  • Prohibits employers “from holding or confiscating a worker’s passport, visa or other identification documents,” and 
  • Updates procedures for removing employers from the H-2A program for rule violations. 

The final rule becomes effective June 28, 2024, although DOL states that “H-2A applications filed before Aug. 28, 2024, will be processed according to applicable federal regulations as is in effect as of June 27, 2024.”  

Upcoming webinar: Aug. 23, 2024, Understanding the Basics of the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker Program 

Nutrition Programs: USDA Publishes Child Nutrition Programs Final Rule
On April 25, 2024, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published in the Federal Register a final rule (89 FR 31962) revising child nutrition program standards to align with the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Also announced by USDA, the final rule includes the following provisions:  

  • Limits added sugars for breakfast cereals to “no more than 6 grams of added sugars per dry ounce”; for yogurt to “no more than 12 grams of added sugars per 6 ounces”; and for flavored milk to “no more than 10 grams of added sugars per 8 fluid ounces or, for flavored milk sold as a competitive food for middle and high schools, 15 grams of added sugars per 12 fluid ounces,” 
  • Limits all added sugars “to less than 10 percent of calories per week in the school lunch and breakfast programs” beginning in the 2027-2028 school year, 
  • Reduces sodium levels by about 10% for breakfast and 15% for lunch from current limits beginning in the 2027-2028 school year, and 
  • Limits the amount of non-domestic foods schools may purchase to 10% of a school’s total purchases beginning in the 2025-2026 school year and phases the percentage down to 5% of total purchases beginning in the 2031-2032 school year. 

Although some commentors “encouraged USDA to expand milk options beyond fat-free and low-fat milk,” the agency declined to do so, stating, “While USDA appreciates comments suggesting schools be allowed to offer reduced fat and whole milk, allowing these milk options in the school meal programs would not be consistent with the goals of the most recent Dietary Guidelines . . . and would make it difficult for menu planners to achieve weekly dietary specifications without exceeding calorie and saturated fat limits.” USDA further explained that “[s]tatutory requirements state that milk offered in reimbursable school meals must be consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines . . . [which] recommends unsweetened, fat-free or low-fat milk for school-aged children” and concluded, “Therefore, USDA does not permit reduced-fat or whole milk in the school meal programs.” The final rule becomes effective July 1, 2024, although “program operators are not required to make any changes to their menus as a result of th[e] rulemaking until school year 2025-2026 at the earliest.” For more, see Agricultural Law Podcast: Special Episode #4. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report (Aug. 2020). 

Biotechnology: Florida Passes Law Prohibiting Sale, Manufacture of Cultivated Meat
On May 1, 2024, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law SB 1084, which, among numerous provisions, defines “cultivated meat” as “any meat or food product produced from cultured animal cells” and prohibits the manufacture, sale, or distribution of “cultivated meat.” Also announced by the governor, the law establishes a violation as a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500 or imprisonment up to 60 days (Fla. Stat. § 775.083(1)(e); § 775.082(4)(b)). Additionally, the law provides for suspension of a store or restaurant’s license for selling cultivated meat. The law becomes effective July 1, 2024. For more, see the Center’s Cell-Cultured Food Regulations Issue Tracker. 

Biotechnology: FDA Publishes Guidance for ‘Intentional Genomic Alterations in Animals,’ Signs MOU with USDA
On May 2, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published in the Federal Register notices of availability for agency guidance on its “risk-based approach” (89 FR 35832) and approval process draft guidance (89 FR 35834) for heritable intentional genomic alterations (IGA) in animals. According to the guidance, the agency’s IGA “risk-based regulatory approach . . . means that for people or companies developing certain types of IGAs in animals, FDA may not expect them to submit an application or get approval before marketing their product.” However, if FDA determines that an IGA product warrants regulation, a sponsor must follow the approval process outlined in its draft guidance—open for public comment until July 31, 2024. Additionally, FDA announced its establishment of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) describing how the two agencies will interact regarding IGAs in animals subject to USDA jurisdiction. According to the MOU, FDA will—under its Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act authority—serve as the primary contact to “review[] and approve[] premarket approval applications for IGAs in animals . . . and review[] IGAs to determine if . . . FDA intends to exercise enforcement discretion over approval requirements” while coordinating with USDA. This role represents a change from the agencies’ previous January 2021 MOU, which established “USDA . . . as the single point of entry and gateway for agriculture amenable species developed using genetic engineering . . . [to] provide end-to-end regulatory oversight” and directed “[s]takeholders . . . to submit information to USDA.” The MOU became effective upon signature of the agencies on April 18, 2024. See also ALWR—Jan. 22, 2021, “MOU Gives USDA Regulatory Responsibility Over Multiple Bioengineered Species.” For more, see the Center’s Bioengineered Food Disclosure Issue Tracker. 

Food Safety: USDA Issues Final Determination for Salmonella in Not-Ready-To-Eat Breaded Stuffed Chicken Products
On May 1, 2024, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published in the Federal Register a notice of final determination titled “Salmonella in Not-Ready-To-Eat Breaded Stuffed Chicken Products” (89 FR 35033) declaring “that not-ready-to-eat (NRTE) breaded stuffed chicken products that contain Salmonella at levels of 1 colony forming unit (CFU) per gram or higher are adulterated within the meaning of the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA)” (FSIS-2022-0013). Also announced by USDA, the agency states that “FSIS will . . . sampl[e] and test[] . . . the raw incoming chicken component of . . . products prior to stuffing and breading, to ensure producing establishments control Salmonella in . . . [NRTE breaded stuffed chicken] products.” The final determination follows a proposed determination, published in April 2023 (88 FR 26249) and becomes effective May 1, 2025. See also the Center’s Food Safety Modernization Act Virtual Resource Room. 

Avian Influenza: USDA Specifies HPAI Cattle Movement Order for Sale Barn Transportation
On April 27, 2024, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a clarification via its Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Detections in Livestock webpage specifying that the agency’s previous order regulating cattle movement “does not apply to the intrastate movement of a lactating dairy cow to a sale barn.” Additionally, APHIS states, “Subsequent interstate movement for a lactating dairy cow from a sale barn directly to a slaughter facility requires only a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) stating that the animal is clinically healthy; no testing is necessary.” See also ALWR—April 29, 2024, “USDA Issues Order Requiring Testing, Reporting for Interstate Dairy Cattle Movement.”  

Avian Influenza: Columbia Prohibits Beef Imports from Nine U.S. States 
On April 29, 2024, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) updated its export requirements for the country of Columbia. Under the updated requirements, fresh and frozen beef from several U.S. states is ineligible for import into Columbia if shipped on or after April 16, 2024: Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas. Additionally, beef from Colorado is ineligible if shipped on or after April 25, 2024. All states ineligible to export beef to Columbia have confirmed Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Detections in Livestock. 

Water Quality: EPA Announces Invited Nominees for Animal Agriculture and Water Quality Subcommittee
On April 30, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the invited nominees for the Animal Agriculture and Water Quality (AAWQ) Subcommittee of the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee, previously requested from stakeholders in November 2023 (88 FR 78746): 

  • James Pritchett—Colorado State University (Chair)   
  • Alexis Andiman—Earthjustice  
  • Mike Callicrate—Ranch Food Direct   
  • Laura DiPietro—Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets 
  • Steven Goans—Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy 
  • Teena Gunter—Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry     
  • Devon Hall—Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH)  
  • Tarah Heinzen—Food & Water Watch   
  • William Higgins—Roeslein Alternative Energy   
  • Chris Hoffman—Pennsylvania Farm Bureau   
  • Kelly Hunter Foster—Waterkeeper Alliance   
  • Rebecca Joniskan—Indiana State Poultry Association 
  • Keith Larick—North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation 
  • William Thomas “Tom” McDonald—Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, LLC 
  • Rick Naerebout—Idaho Dairymen’s Association, Inc. 
  • Kevin Shafer—Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District 
  • Marguerite Tan—National Pork Board   
  • Alicia Vasto—Iowa Environmental Council   
  • Melissa Wilson—University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources 
  • Kent Woodmansey—South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources 
  • Terron Hillsman—U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (non-voting) 

According to the announcement, the subcommittee will meet May 30–31, 2024, at the EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. 

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Understanding Agricultural Law Series. A free monthly Zoom webinar series for agricultural and rural business advisors. One hour of substantive CLE credit available for Pennsylvania-licensed attorneys at no charge. All events on Fridays, noon–1 pm (ET). Upcoming:  

Dairy Quarterly Legal Webinar Series. A free quarterly Zoom webinar series covering dairy industry legal and regulatory developments with an in-depth focus topic. One hour of substantive CLE credit available for Pennsylvania-licensed attorneys at no charge. All events on Tuesdays, noon–1 pm (ET). Upcoming: 


Agricultural Law Podcast 

260. USDA Takes New Approach in HPAI Outbreak in Dairy Cattle (Apr. 26, 2024)

 Farmland Legal Energy Podcast 

163. Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture (Apr. 29, 2024)


Anaerobic Digestion: An Alternative Energy Source for Farmers (Dec. 2023).  

Specialty Crop Producers’ Guide to Understanding Liability Protection, Regulatory Processes, & Other Legal Risks (Nov. 2023) 

More Center Publications. 

Resources of Interest:  

Agric. Law & Tax’n Blog, What’s Going on with Swampbuster?, Roger McEowen (Apr. 28, 2024) 

Nat’l Agric. Law Ctr., Amos Miller and the Regulation of Raw Milk, Emily Stone (Apr. 25, 2024) 

Ohio St. Univ. Ext. Farm Off. Blog, Change in Ohio Law Creates New “Low Risk” License for Mobile Food Vendors, Peggy Kirk Hall (Apr. 25, 2024) 

Tex. A&M Agric. Law Blog, US Supreme Court Allows Texas Landowners Takings Claims to go Forward on Amended Complaint, Tiffany Dowell Lashmet (Apr. 22, 224) 




USDA Finalizes Policy to Protect Consumers from Salmonella in Raw Breaded Stuffed Chicken Products (Apr. 26, 2024) 

USDA Actions to Protect Livestock Health From Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Avian Influenza (Apr. 24, 2024) 


EPA Finalizes Stronger Chemical Risk Evaluation Process to Protect Workers and Communities (Apr. 23, 2024) 


Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 

USDA Restricts PACA Violators in Florida, Georgia and Texas from Operating in the Produce Industry (Apr. 23, 2024) 

USDA Lifts PACA Reparation Sanctions on Texas Produce Business (Apr. 23, 2024) 

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) 

APHIS Revises and Strengthens Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection Program to Meet the Challenge of Protecting American Agriculture (Apr. 26, 2024) 

USDA Actions to Protect Livestock Health From Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Avian Influenza (Apr. 24, 2024) 

Protect South Texas Citrus: USDA Urges Residents to Protect Local Fruit from Invasive Pests (Apr. 23, 2024) 

Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) 

Biden-Harris Administration Announces New School Meal Standards to Strengthen Child Nutrition (Apr. 24, 2024) 

Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) 

FAS Accepting FY 2024 Food for Progress Program Applications (Apr. 26, 2024) 

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) 

NSF and USDA Join Forces to Boost Innovation in Agricultural Robotics (Apr. 25, 2024) 

NIFA Invests $180K in Response to Extreme Weather Events Across the U.S. (AFRI A1712) (Apr. 24, 2024) 

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) 

NRCS Idaho announces application period for Bear River Watershed Agriculture and Habitat Connectivity project easements (Apr. 26, 2024) 

NRCS Nevada Announces Additional EQIP Signup for 2024 IRA Funding (Apr. 24, 2024) 

FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Federal Register Apr. 22–26, 2024):     

Agricultural Marketing Service 

89 FR 31093 Proposed Rule—Comment Period: “Onions Grown in South Texas; Increased Assessment Rate” (Apr. 24, 2024) 

Agriculture Department 

89 FR 33112 Notice: “Final Determination: Adoption of Energy Efficiency Standards for New Construction of HUD- and USDA-Financed Housing” (Apr. 26, 2024) 

89 FR 31715 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: Importation of Animals and Poultry, Animal and Poultry Products, Certain Animal Embryos, Semen, and Zoological Animals]” (Apr. 25, 2024) 

89 FR 31715 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Rural Utilities Service: Rural Energy Savings Program]” (Apr. 25, 2024) 

89 FR 31127 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [National Agricultural Statistics Service: Hawaii Agricultural Theft Survey]” (Apr. 24, 2024) 

89 FR 31127 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS): Vegetable Surveys—Substantive Change]” (Apr. 24, 2024) 

89 FR 29282 Notice: “Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request [Agricultural Marketing Service: Marketing Order No. 984 for Walnuts Grown in California] (Apr. 22, 2024) 

Environmental Protection Agency  

89 FR 31649 Rule: “BLB2 and AMR3 Proteins in Potato; Temporary Exemption From the Requirement of a Tolerance” (Apr. 25, 2024) 

89 FR 31652 Rule: “Escherichia coli Strain K-12 P678-54 Micelles in Pesticide Formulations; Tolerance Exemption” (Apr. 25, 2024) 

89 FR 30277 Rule: “Cyclaniliprole; Pesticide Tolerance” (Apr. 23, 2024) 

Food and Nutrition Service 

89 FR 31962 Rule: “Child Nutrition Programs: Meal Patterns Consistent With the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans” (Apr. 25, 2024) 

Food Safety and Inspection Service  

89 FR 30320 Notice—Comment Period: “Notice of Request To Renew an Approved Information Collection: Requirements To Notify FSIS of Adulterated or Misbranded Product, Prepare and Maintain Written Recall Procedures, and Document Certain HACCP Plan Reassessments” Forest Service 

89 FR 32395 Notice: “Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests; Idaho; End of the World Project” (Apr. 26, 2024) 


H.R.8138 “To direct the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a disaster response training program to train certain Farm Service Agency employees to provide outreach and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers affected by a natural disaster, and for other purposes.” Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture. (Apr. 26, 2024) 


No New Actions. 


Shapiro Administration and Partners Celebrate Turtle Creek Watershed Stream Restoration, Investments, and Water Quality Improvements (Apr. 25, 2024) 

MEDIA ADVISORY – DEP, Partners to Celebrate Stream Restoration Investments and Water Quality Improvements on Turtle Creek (Apr. 24, 2024)

PENNSYLVANIA EXECUTIVE AGENCIES (Pa. Bulletin Vol. 54, No. 16—Apr. 27, 2024):   

Department of Agriculture 

54 Pa.B. 2228 Notice: “Agricultural Conservation Research Grant Applications” 

54 Pa.B. 2229 Notice: “Agricultural Research Grant Applications” 

54 Pa.B. 2233 Notice: “Farm-to-School Grant Program; 2024-2025 Program Guidelines” 

54 Pa.B. 2230 Notice: “Bureau of Ride and Measurement Standards” 

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources 

54 Pa.B. 2236 Notice: “Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation Public Meeting” 

Department of Environmental Protection 

54 Pa.B. 2236 Notice: “Applications For National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits And Water Quality Management (WQM) Permits Under The Clean Streams Law And Federal Clean Water Act” 

54 Pa.B. 2327 Notice: “Draft Safe Drinking Water General Permit for Community Water System Finished Water Storage Tank Painting” 

Fish and Boat Commission  

54 Pa.B. 2330 Notice: “Temporary Change to Fishing Regulations; Lake Frances, Luzerne County” 


HR 402 “A Resolution designating May 20, 2024, as “Rescue Dog Day” in Pennsylvania.” Referred to AGRICULTURE AND RURAL AFFAIRS. (Apr. 24, 2024) 

Victoria Dutterer—Research Assistant
Lonzie Helms—Research Assistant
Esther Thomas—Research Assistant
Audry Thompson—Staff Attorney