Top 10 Agricultural Law Issues in 2018

Attorneys at the National Agricultural Law Center have compiled the top legal and policy developments that affected agriculture in 2018.

The top two are listed below:

(1) For pesticides and herbicides, several important legal developments occurred, specifically affecting dicamba, glyphosate, and chlorpyrifos.

“In late October, EPA extended the registration of dicamba through Dec. 20, 2020. The extension came with several new restrictions on ‘over-the-top’ use on cotton and soybeans, which leaves it to affected states to determine whether they will establish state-specific rules more strict than the new federal rules.

“In August, a jury awarded nearly $300 million (later reduced to $78 million) to a plaintiff who alleged that his exposure to glyphosate was the cause of his cancer. There are at least 8,000 similar cases filed nationwide.

“Finally, in August the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered EPA to ban chlorpyrifos  specifically to cancel all registrations and revoke all tolerances within 60 days of the ruling. The 60 day timeline is currently halted while the litigation plays out.”

“(2) In terms of international trade, 2018 has been perhaps the rockiest year in many decades.

“The ‘new NAFTA’  the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) — was agreed to by the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. USMCA must still be ratified by Congress, consideration of which will occur in 2019 under the new Congress.

The back-and-forth trade dispute between the U.S. and China continued as we exited 2018, with much uncertainty as to whether the dispute will escalate in 2019. Both countries slapped tariffs and threats of more tariffs on each other, resulting in economic hardship for many in the U.S., especially U.S. soybean producers, affected by the loss of ag commodity trade with China.”

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