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“Landscape-Shifting Legal Developments”: Webinar Recap & Recording

| Agriculture & Agribusiness

The NC Chamber’s most recent Ag Allies webinar, held Aug. 18, featured three prominent agriculture attorneys who shared insights with North Carolina’s agribusiness and food community on recent legal developments and their impact on the business sector. These topics included: NC Right to Farm law, Proposition 12 litigation, and Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid.

A recording is available for viewing, and we’ve also included a summary of some key points below.

The NC Right to Farm law is arguably the most pivotal legal issue to watch at the moment within our state’s farming community. In his presentation, NC Farm Bureau’s Secretaryand General Counsel Jake Parker explained that while there are now more statutory protections in place for farms against nuisance complaints, those very protections are under attack, and could make urban, suburban, and rural farms even more susceptible to large legal damage awards. The NC Chamber is following this case closely along with our partner, the NC Farm Bureau, and is working hard to ensure the voice and interests of the agricultural community are heard loud and clear. The agriculture community is fortunate to have Jake and the Farm Bureau at the helm in this legal matter, represented by Chamber member Smith Anderson. Additionally, Chamber member Phelps Dunbar represents the legislature in the same case, which is aligned with the Farm Bureau in defense of the state statute.

Proposition 12 is a 2018 California Ballot Measure that bans the sale of “whole pork meat” products that come from animals not raised in accordance with Prop 12’s requirements (i.e., spacing, “turning around freely”, accreditation, certification, recordkeeping, and labeling). RaboBank estimates that less than 4 percent of U.S. sow housing can currently meet those standards, and building costs are estimated at $900-1,800 per sow. Presenter Amber Miller of Crenshaw, Dupree & Milam, LLP, explained that unless this measure is delayed or reversed, it will have significant impacts on U.S. trading partners and agreements, and it will have supply chain implications for not just California, but for many of our country’s leading pork-production states, including North Carolina.

Texas A&M Assistant Professor Tiffany Dowell Lashmet led the discussion surrounding a United States Supreme Court case decided last term, Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid. The case, in which Pacific Legal Foundation represented two California farmers, involved their claim that because the state’s laws permitted relatively unencumbered access by union representatives, it amounted to an unconstitutional taking. While the 9th Circuit Court ruled against the growers, SCOTUS ruled in favor of the plaintiff in June 2021, stating that this constituted a per se taking as it constitutes a physical invasion. They affirmed that the government cannot force people to allow third parties to trespass on their property. This is a prominent case to watch in terms of private property rights, and one we could see cited in different parts of the country when similar issues arise.

At the NC Chamber, we’re proud of our agricultural roots. We advocate for policies that support this vital industry and push back on those that threaten it — so that our state’s people, and communities throughout the world, can prosper.

Let your voice be heard on these critical agribusiness issues and others, by joining Ag Allies, a coalition of businesses that work tirelessly to champion the needs of our state’s top industry. If you have not yet done so, sign up below to receive exclusive updates on pressing agribusiness issues and developments; invitations to calls, webinars, and meetings with state and federal policymakers; and the opportunity to shape the regulatory landscape through collaboration with our Government Affairs team.

Also, our Ag Allies Conference will be held Oct. 15. Registration is not yet open, but if you’re interested in attending, you can sign up for event alerts.