Arkansas State Plant Board Goes Up in Flames (Again), and Other Legal News

Plant State Board

Arkansas State Plant Board Unconstitutional – Again

For the second time in a less than a year litigation over the appointment process for members of the Arkansas State Plant Board has been found by a court to violate the State Constitution. Judge Chip Welch of the 16th Division of the Pulaksi County Circuit Court ruled that the 2021 amendments to the appointment process remains unconstitutional. While Judge Welch has yet to issue a written opinion, the arguments focus on the involvement of non-profit trade associations in the appointment process.
We reported last year about the constitutional challenge to the 104-year-old appointment process in which various non-profit trade associations were permitted to appoint a member directly to the Plant Board, a regulatory body which administered laws related to agriculture and other laws. The trade associations include various areas of expertise, such as the Arkansas Agricultural Aviation Association, the Arkansas Crop Protection Association, and the Arkansas Seed Growers Association, to name a few. The Arkansas Supreme Court held that appointments by the trade associations were an unconstitutional delegation of the legislative power.
The 2021 amendments changed the appointment process. Instead of nominating members directly to the Board, the trade associations were required to submit two nominees to the Governor for approval, who would then make a final selection which was submitted to the State Senate for approval and confirmation.
Under the amended process, at least some of the nominees from trade associations were rejected by Governor Asa Hutchinson, although these facts are not in the court record before Judge Welch.
Presumably, if the Governor has discretion to reject the associations’ nominees, and the Senate can refuse to confirm the Governor’s nominees, then the trade associations “power” to appoint members to the State Plant Board is held in check by duly elected representatives of the citizenry.
Judge Welch’s ruling has apparently been stayed until it can be considered by the Supreme Court on appeal, so the immediate effects of the ruling are not clear. However, the Board cancelled a scheduled Pesticide Committee meeting and remains unsure if future meetings can take place in light of Judge Welch’s ruling.

Answer the Call for Agriculture!

Send the USDA Your Comments on Anti-Competitive Issues in Seed, Fertilizer, and Ag Inputs

The USDA is seeking the public’s help to answer questions regarding market competition challenges in (i) fertilizer, (ii) seed and agricultural inputs, and (iii) food retail and distribution markets.

We are continuing to highlight this opportunity to make your voice heard in Washington D.C. on issues that are extremely important to the U.S. agricultural sector. Last week we published each of USDA’s questions for which they are asking for answers. Click HERE for the list of questions, or go to the web site of the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Written comments can be posted online at or mailed to Jaina Nian, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Room 2055-S, STOP 0201, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-0201.

Anonymous comments will also be accepted.

The deadline for submission is June 15, 2022!

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