Nuisance Lawsuits Against Smithfield Foods Hog Unit to go to Trial
A federal judge has ruled that 26 cases comprising litigation brought by residents calling Murphy-Brown LLC hog farms an environmental nuisance can go to trial, according to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
More than 500 plaintiffs living near the Smithfield Foods subsidiary’s hog farms contend its waste management systems, including spraying manure on nearby fields, negatively impact their health and quality of life. They seek to recover monetary damages for nuisance and negligence. Senior U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt rejected the defendant’s argument that North Carolina’s right-to-farm law protected the company from nuisance litigation.
South Carolina Farm Company Plans Expansion
A South Carolina farm company is expanding operations and will create 150 new jobs.
McCall Farms announced last week it will spend $35 million to expand its operations in Effingham in Florence County.
McCall Farms produces fresh canned vegetables and fruit. The company has 2,000 acres in Florence County and another 25,000 acres in production in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Hiring for the new jobs is expected to start late next year.
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue Continues Consolidations at USDA
Less than a month after controversial organizational shifts for its Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) and its Codex food safety office, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has moved ahead on both.
In a memo to stakeholders last week, Perdue outlined realignment of a number of USDA offices, including the elimination of GIPSA as a standalone agency. Instead, USDA will establish within the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) a deputy administrator for fair trade practices.
The Fair Trade Practices Program area will be comprised of the following AMS programs: Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Program, the Country of Origin Labeling Program, and the Bioengineered Labeling Program.
The Packers and Stockyards Program formerly part of GIPSA and the Warehouse Act functions formerly part of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be transferred to AMS and included in the Fair Trade Practices Program area.
NRC Sets Up Email Address for Emergency Air Release Reporting
Due to the potential for large call volumes to the National Response Center (NRC) related to new air release reporting requirements, the center has established a temporary email option for initial continuous release notifications from farm operators.
Rather than calling the NRC, farm owners/operators may now elect to notify the center by email at NRC-CERCLA-EPCRA-REPORT@uscg.mil. This expedited option will allow one email notification for owners/operators with multiple farms. For that link visit SFNToday dot com.