The Ag Law Harvest

By: Ellen Essman, Senior Research Associate Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
In case you didn’t notice, we are deep into the election season.  Discussion of Supreme Court vacancies, presidential debates, and local races abound.  Even with all the focus on the election, the rest of the world hasn’t stopped. The same is true for ag law.  This edition of the Harvest includes a discussion of ag-related bills moving through the Ohio General Assembly, federal lawsuits involving herbicides and checkoff programs, and some wiggle room for organic producers who have had a hard time getting certified with all the pandemic-related backups and shutdowns.

Changes to Ohio Drainage Law considered in Senate—The Ohio Senate’s Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee continues to hold hearings on HB 340, a bill that would revise drainage laws.  The bill was passed in the house on June 9, 2020.  The 157-page bill would amend the current drainage law by making changes to the process for proposing, approving, and implementing new drainage improvements, whether the petition is filed with the board of the Soil and Water Conservation District, the board of county commissioners, or with multiple counties to construct a joint county drainage improvement.  The bill would further apply the single county maintenance procedures and procedures for calculating assessments for maintenance to multi-county ditches and soil and water conservation districts.  You can find the current language of the bill, along with a helpful analysis of the bill, here.

Purple paint to warn trespassers? Elsewhere in the state Senate, SB 290 seems to be moving again after a lengthy stall, as it was recently on the agenda for a meeting of the Local Government, Public Safety & Veterans Affairs Committee.  If passed, SB 290 would allow landowners to use purple paint marks to warn intruders that they are trespassing.  The purple paint marks can be placed on trees or posts on the around the property.  Each paint mark would have to measure at least three feet and be located between three and five feet from the base of the tree or post.  Furthermore, each painted mark must be “readily visible,” and the space between two marks cannot be more than 25 yards.  You can see the text, along with other information about the bill here.

Environmental groups look to “Enlist” more judges to reevaluate decisions.  In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided it would not overturn the EPA registration for the herbicide Enlist Duo, which is meant to kill weeds in corn, soybean, and cotton fields, and is made up of 2,4-D choline salt and glyphosate.  Although the court upheld registration of the herbicide, it remanded the case so that EPA could consider how Enlist affects monarch butterflies.  The court found that EPA failed to do this even though it was required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  On September 15, 2020, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other groups involved in the lawsuit filed a petition to rehear the case “en banc,” meaning that the case would be heard by a group of nine judges instead of just three.  If accepted, the rehearing would involve claims that the EPA did not follow the Endangered Species Act when it made the decision to register Enlist Duo. Continue reading

Don’t miss out on the Paulding County Twilight Field Day next Tuesday, August 4

Field to Lake – Twilight Open House – Country Evening, Old Sights, New Eyes

The Paulding Soil and Water Conservation District is working in collaboration with Ohio State University Extension of Paulding County and the Conservation Action Project (CAP) to bring you the Field to Lake – Twilight Open House. This program will feature water control drainage structures and provide opportunities to connect with farmers and professionals to learn more about them. Additionally, explore soil health displays, a drainage water management structure model, and learn about available funding for these structures for those that qualify. The Open House will be held on August 4th, 2020, from 6:00-8:00 pm, in the field, across from 22348 Road 178, Oakwood, OH, 45873. Stop in for 15 minutes or stay the full two hours. There will be an option to drive down the lane and observe the drainage control structures while staying in your vehicle if that is more comfortable for participants.

8.5 x 11 Poster Drainage Field Day

Why consider a drainage water management structure? “This new approach to managing drainage is a significant break from the old way of draining excess water from fields, specifically in the Upper Midwest, where tile drainage systems are most common,” says Leonard Binstock, drainage consultant and executive director of the Agriculture Drainage Management Coalition. According to the Natural Resource Conservation Service, these structures can provide both water quality improvement and production benefits. Water quality benefits are derived by minimizing unnecessary tile drainage, reducing the amount of nitrate that leaves farm fields. Controlled drainage systems can also retain water in field areas that could be used for crop production later in the season.

RSVP is requested, but not required- use the QR code or email address below. With the assistance of The Nature Conservancy, there will be a virtual option available after the event for those who can’t attend in person. Information to access the virtual event will be shared on the supporting organizations’ Facebook pages or by registering for the event and choosing the virtual option. Please note that social distancing will be observed at this outdoor event.

Page Drainage Field Day Invite,

Tri Fold Field to Lake Drainage

For more information, contact: Anna Gurney or Patrick Troyer, Paulding Soil & Water Conservation District, 419-399-4771, Paulding@PauldingSWCD.org