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Agricultural/Animal Law

SCS HCS HB 344 – Agriculture Establishes the Farm-to-Table Advisory Board and changes laws regarding the Commodity Merchandising Council Program. The mission of the Farm-to-Table Advisory Board is to provide recommendations for strategies that allow schools and state institutions to more easily incorporate locally grown agricultural products into their facilities that increase public awareness of local agricultural practices and the role that local agriculture plays in sustaining healthy communities and supporting healthy lifestyles. Provisions relating to the Farm-to-Table Advisory Board will expire August 31, 2012. (Signed 7/7/11)

CCS SS HB 458 – Agriculture Changes the laws regarding sales tax exemptions for farm equipment, noxious weeds, listing of livestock brands and grain dealers and establishes the Missouri Farmland Trust Act and the Private Landowner Protection Act.

MISSOURI FARMLAND TRUST ACT (Section 262.815) The Missouri Farmland Trust Act is established to allow individuals and entities to donate or otherwise convey farmland to the Department of Agriculture to preserve it as farmland and to assist beginning farmers by allowing long-term low and variable cost leases on the land making it affordable for the next generation of farmers to produce food, fiber, and fuel.

The Missouri Farmland Trust Fund is created consisting of gifts, donations, and appropriations by the General Assembly.  Upon appropriation, moneys in the fund must be used for the administration of the trust and may be used to make payments to counties for the value of land in lieu of real and personal property taxes for privately owned land acquired and for the maintenance, operation, regulation, and improvement of the trust’s assets to promote agriculture and the general welfare. Property acquired by the department must be used for agricultural purposes and must be farmed and maintained using the best environmental, conservation, and stewardship practices as specified by the department.  No beginning farmer can lease farmland in the trust for more than 20 years.  Any person or entity donating to or leasing land from the department must release the state, its employees, volunteers, agents, and any entity acting in concert or on behalf of the state from any and all claims, actions, or demands that he or she and his or her relatives and legal representatives have now or may have in the future for any injury, death, or property damage related to participation in these activities as well as the negligence or any other acts connected to the activities and the condition of the property where the activities occurred.

PRIVATE LANDOWNER PROTECTION ACT (Section 442.014) The Private Landowner Protection Act is established which allows for the creation and enforcement of conservation easements designed to protect the environment or preserve certain historical, architectural, archaeological, or cultural aspects of real property.  An easement may be created, conveyed, recorded, assigned, released, modified, terminated, or otherwise altered or affected in the same manner as other easements; and a court may modify or terminate an easement based on the principles of law and equity.

An existing real property interest is not affected by a conservation easement unless the owner is a party to the easement or consents to it.  A conservation easement will be valid in a number of situations that are specified in the bill which are not recognized by common law.  Retroactive application is mandated to the extent allowed by state and federal law but cannot place any additional burden or obligation on any grantor or grantee, or on their successors, of a conservation easement. (Signed 7/11/11)

HCS SB 161 – Agriculture/dog breeders Repeals SS SCS SB 113 & 95 regarding dog breeders previously passed in 2011 and changes the laws regarding the Animal Care Facilities Act, animal cruelty prevention, and agribusiness loan guarantees.

ANIMAL CARE FACILITIES ACT AND THE CANINE CRUELTY PREVENTION ACT (Sections 273.327, 273.345, and 273.347, RSMo, and Section 1)

(1) Increases the maximum annual license fee for those licensed under the Animal Care Facilities Act from $500 to $2,500 and requires each licensee to pay an additional $25 fee each year to be used by the Department of Agriculture for administering Operation Bark Alert or any successor program;

(2)  Renames the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act to the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act and changes the provisions of the act by:

(3)  Removing the provision prohibiting a person from owning more than 50 dogs for the purpose of breeding them and selling any offspring as a pet;

(4)  Revising the term “adequate rest between breeding cycles” to mean, at a minimum, ensuring that a female dog is not bred to produce more litters in any given time period than what is recommended by a licensed veterinarian as appropriate for the species, age, and health of the dog;

(5) Changing the term “necessary veterinary care” to mean prompt treatment of any serious illness or injury by a licensed veterinarian and humane euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian when needed;

(6)  Revising the term “pet” from meaning any domesticated animal to only mean dogs;

(7) Changing the term “regular exercise” to mean the type and amount of exercise sufficient to comply with an exercise plan that has been approved by a licensed veterinarian, developed in accordance with department regulations, and where the plan gives the dog maximum opportunity for outdoor exercise as weather permits;

(8) Revising the term “sufficient food and clean water” to mean access to nutritious food at least twice a day instead of once a day and water that is not frozen and is generally free of debris, feces, algae, and other contaminants;

(9) Changing the term “sufficient housing, including protection from the elements” to mean the continuous provision of a sanitary facility, the provision of a solid surface on which to lie in a recumbent position, protection from extreme weather conditions, proper ventilation, and appropriate space depending on the species of animal as required by department regulations and in compliance with the space requirements in the bill.  No dog is to remain inside its enclosure while the enclosure is being cleaned. Dogs housed within the same enclosure must be compatible in accordance with department regulations;

(10) Revising the term “sufficient space to turn and stretch freely, lie down, and fully extend his or her limbs” to mean sufficient indoor space or shelter from the elements for each dog to turn in a complete circle, to be able to lie down and fully extend his limbs and stretch freely without touching the side of an enclosure or another dog, and appropriate space depending on the species of the animal as required by department regulations and in compliance with the space requirements in the bill;

(11) Removing the provisions regarding the crime of puppy mill cruelty;

(12) Requires any person subject to the provisions of the act to maintain all veterinary records and sales records for the most recent previous two years.  The records must be made available to the State Veterinarian, a state or local animal welfare official, or a law enforcement agent upon request;

(13)  Removes the provision which exempts certain retail pet stores, animal shelters, hobby or show breeders, and dog trainers from the provisions of the Canine Cruelty Act;

(14) Specifies that nothing in the act can be construed to limit hunting or the ability to breed, raise, sell, control, train, or possess dogs with the intention to use the dogs for hunting or other sporting purposes;

(15) Requires a phase in of additional space requirements from January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2015, for any enclosure existing prior to April 15, 2011, and specifying that for any enclosure newly constructed after April 15, 2011, and for all enclosures as of January 1, 2016, wire strand flooring will be prohibited and all enclosures must meet the flooring standard established by department rule;

(16) Specifies that when the State Veterinarian or a state animal welfare official finds that past violations of the Animal Care Facilities Act have occurred and have not been corrected or addressed, the department director may request the Attorney General or the county prosecuting attorney or circuit attorney to bring an action for a temporary restraining order, preliminary or permanent injunction, or a remedial order to correct the violation and that the court may assess a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation;

(17) Specifies that a person commits the crime of canine cruelty, a class C misdemeanor, if he or she repeatedly violates the Animal Care Facilities Act so as to pose a substantial risk to the health and welfare of the animals in his or her custody or if he or she knowingly violates an agreed-to remedial order involving the safety and welfare of animals under these provisions.  If the person has previously pled guilty to, nolo contendere to, or been found guilty of a violation of this crime, he or she will be guilty of a class A misdemeanor for each violation.  The Attorney General or the county prosecuting attorney or circuit attorney may bring an action in the circuit court in the county where the crime occurred for criminal punishment; and

(18)  Specifies that any breeder licensed under the Animal Care Facilities Act who houses animals in stacked cages without an impervious barrier between the levels of the cages, except when cleaning the cages, will be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

Also enacts the Agricultural Product Utilization and Business Development Program (Sections 348.400, 348.407, and 348.412)

The bill contains an emergency clause for the provisions regarding the Animal Care Facilities Act and the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act. (Signed 4/27/11)

CCS#2 HCS SCS SB 356 – Agriculture  Changes the laws regarding the Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture, sales tax exemptions, noxious weeds, listing of livestock brands, the Commodity Merchandising Council Program, and grain dealers.

MISSOURI FARMLAND TRUST ACT (Section 262.815)Establishes the Missouri Farmland Trust Act to allow individuals and entities to donate or otherwise convey farmland to the Department of Agriculture to preserve it as farmland and to assist beginning farmers by allowing long-term low and variable cost leases on the land making it affordable for the next generation of farmers to produce food, fiber, and fuel.

Also includes provisions relating to noxious weeds (Sections 263.190-263.241 and 263.450) listing of livestock brands (Section 268.121) Commodity Merchandising Council Program (Section 275.360) and grain dealers (Sections 276.401, 276.416, 276.421, 276.436,276.441, 276.446, and 411.280) (Signed 7/11/11)