17 Oct, 2022

The Long Arm of the Law: Investigating Crop Insurance Fraud

2022-10-17T15:21:49-05:00October 17th, 2022|Agriculture, Criminal Conduct, Crop Insurance, Farm Management, Fraud, Insurance coverage, Latest News, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The long arms of the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) recently caught a Nebraska man for making false statements in the collection of a sizeable crop insurance claim. The end result was a sentence of 16 weekends of jail time, a $100 special assessment, a $30,000 fine and the kicker of $1,000,000 in restitution. The sentence was for a 2015 crop insurance claim with the investigation starting after the man [...]

5 Apr, 2022

Don’t Have a Cow: Nebraska Cattle Owner Liability for Loose or Escaped Cows on Roadways

2022-04-05T15:15:56-05:00April 5th, 2022|Accident Investigation, Agriculture, Farm Management|

You’re a cattle owner and one of your more ornery cows has escaped the pasture. Of course the pasture was fenced so you’re unsure of how she managed to escape. Before you can find her, you discover a cattle-vehicle collision on the highway not far from the pasture. Lo and behold, the vehicle collided with your cow while she was crossing the highway. Unfortunately, the other driver was injured.  Can [...]

25 Oct, 2021

Does It Come Furnished: Are Center Pivots Fixtures or Real Property?

2021-10-25T14:13:55-05:00October 25th, 2021|Agriculture, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

  Central pivot irrigation systems are vitally important in Nebraska.  Not only is Nebraska the most irrigated state in the U.S., it is also the largest producer/user of center pivot systems in the world.[1] For Nebraska farmers and legal practitioners alike, it may be important to understand how center pivot systems are classified when either buying, selling, or assessing, for taxation purposes, farmland that utilizes a center pivot irrigation system. [...]

6 Jul, 2021

Iowa Supreme Court Values Closely Held Farm Corps

2021-07-06T11:05:19-05:00July 6th, 2021|Farm Management, Latest News, Midwest Agricultural Law|

A recent case issued by the Iowa Supreme Court addressed the “fair value” of stock in a closely held farm corporation buyout. In Guge v. Kassel Enterprises, No. 19-2151 (Iowa Sup. Ct June 18, 2021), the Court provided clarity for determining what factors Iowa courts consider in calculating the “fair value” of a corporation in lieu of a dissolution proceeding. In Guge, three siblings owned all of the shares of [...]

26 May, 2021

Murphy’s Law: 5 Reasons to Insist on Written Custom Farming Contract

2021-05-26T14:56:08-05:00May 26th, 2021|Contract, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

  VS.      Custom farming agreements seem pretty straightforward and simple.  Landowner asks Custom Operator to till the field, apply the inputs, plant and harvest the crop or cut and bale the hay.  Custom Operator sets a price.  Landowner and Custom Operator shake hands.  Deal is done, right?  Yes, if everything goes right.  No, if the parties run into Murphy's Law of "if anything can go wrong, it will".  [...]

26 Mar, 2020

Why Your COVID-19 Planning Should Include Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care and Finances

2020-03-27T13:28:50-05:00March 26th, 2020|Best Practices, COVID Estate Planning, COVID-19, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

  At LDM, we share all the concerns of every family and business as our country faces this unprecedented time in our lives. We echo the reassurance of health care experts that we can all get through this together. We add to that our commitment to continue addressing the legal concerns of existing and new clients as steadfastly as always. In the realm of legal matters, there is an important [...]

25 Feb, 2020

Production Contracts for Livestock, Swine, and Poultry—Required Disclosures

2020-02-26T11:19:31-06:00February 25th, 2020|Breach of Contract, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The U.S.D.A Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyard Administration (GIPSA) continues to catch producers being off guard and assessing civil penalties in excess of $1,500—per contract—or other civil actions for marketing and production contracts which do not meet minimum federal requirements.  If your contract does not meet the minimum standards it should be cancelled and replaced with a new compliant contract, which includes the appropriate required disclosures. GIPSA requires generous considerations [...]

15 Nov, 2019

Refresher On Nebraska Ag Liens Pt. 6: The Fertilizer & Chemical Lien

2019-11-19T11:18:25-06:00November 15th, 2019|Best Practices, Farm Management, Getting Paid, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Sounds good.....But I'm still going to have file that lien A lien for those who supply or apply fertilizer or agricultural chemicals for the production of crops. Over the past couple years, we have had to assist several crop input suppliers and appliers who have relied on their customer's promise to pay their bill after harvest, only for the customer to run into a financial problem and not [...]

25 Jun, 2019

Nebraska Tax Sale Law and Recent Revisions: The Effect of Wisner v. Vandelay

2019-06-26T12:34:49-05:00June 25th, 2019|Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law, Tax|

A surprising Nebraska Supreme Court opinion has spurred legislative changes to Nebraska's tax sale laws.  Partner Katie French has summarized Nebraska's tax certificate law, the shocking case of Wisner v. Vandelay, and the legislature's necessary but little-too-late response. TAX CERTIFICATE LAW: In the case of delinquent real estate taxes, the county treasurer may sell real property for taxes. The treasurer provides the purchaser a tax certificate that represents a transfer [...]

15 May, 2019

Refresher on Nebraska Ag Liens Pt. 3: Keeping The Thresher’s Lien Clear

2019-05-29T10:59:12-05:00May 15th, 2019|Farm Management, Lien Rights, Midwest Agricultural Law|

  -     A lien for the owner or operator of any threshing machine or combine against the grain or seed harvested or processed.  Neb. Rev. Stat. Sec. 52-501. A combine with a plugged feeder house is extremely frustrating and basically useless until the plug is removed. Similarly, liens that are plugged with filing or notice problems are frustrating and potentially unenforceable.  Even a straightforward thresher's lien can contain [...]

8 Apr, 2019

REFRESHER ON NEBRASKA AG LIENS, PT 2: The Artisan Lien and possession as 9/10ths the law.

2019-04-08T15:06:59-05:00April 8th, 2019|Farm Management, Lien Rights, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Good work. Now make sure to hold onto the tractor until you get paid - A lien for the  person who makes, alters, repairs, or enhances the value of machinery, farm tools or implements, or shoes horses or mules. Why the lien is called an Artisan's Lien is beyond me.  I don't remember anybody who would be covered by this lien calling themselves an artisan.  Maybe I need [...]

20 Aug, 2018

Evolving Ag Landscape: Legal Implications of Aging Farmland Owners

2018-08-20T13:07:43-05:00August 20th, 2018|Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law, Succession and Estate Planning|

My father has recently taken to saying "75 is the new 65", which is his way of trying to convince my mother he can still do things he did when he was 65.  My mother rolls her eyes, mutters "Yeah, sure" and proceeds to gather up a heating pad and the ibuprofen.When it comes to farmland owners across the Midwest, my father is not alone in this statement.  The results [...]

13 Aug, 2018

Lightening the Load: New Legislation to Alleviate Regulatory Burdens on Livestock Transportation

2018-08-13T16:21:34-05:00August 13th, 2018|Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

                                    The following article was authored by Jessica Weborg, Attorney, at Lamson, Dugan & Murray LLP. On May 23, 2018, the United States Senator from Nebraska, Ben Sasse introduced the “Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act” (S.2938) (“the Act”) into the United States Senate.  A copy of the bill can be viewed by [...]

21 Jun, 2018

Heirs or Errors to the Throne? The Importance of Thoughtful Business Entrance Planning

2018-06-21T12:00:30-05:00June 21st, 2018|Farm Management|

The following was authored by attorney, Shannon G. McCoy, Lamson, Dugan & Murray, LLP and written for submission in the National Land Improvement Contractors of America (LICA) newsletter.    Succession Plan Frustration One Month before Your Planned Retirement, 2038: Owner:            Alright Steve, Mike, and Kelsey, the day has finally come, it is time to sell my 100% ownership interest in Family Business, LLC, and each of you gets to [...]

7 Feb, 2018

Is Equal Always Fair? The Importance of Thoughtful Business Succession Planning

2018-07-03T14:57:00-05:00February 7th, 2018|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Originally submitted by Dan Waters, Attorney & Sean Minahan, Attorneys  Lamson, Dugan and Murray, LLP; Proud members of C2C in the LICA Contractor.  The issues and discussions addressed in the following apply equally to family farm succession planning as they do for succession planning of family owned contracting companies.   Christmas Dinner, 2042: Steve: Mike, pass the sweet potatoes. . . . Mike, I said pass the sweet potatoes! Mike:  [...]

15 Sep, 2016

Not So Fast: RMA Continues to Scrutinize New Producer Crop Status

2019-03-12T09:24:08-05:00September 15th, 2016|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Insurance, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

If you have received a Notice of Overpayment and Removal of New Producer Status from your crop insurance company, you are not alone.  In 2012 the Risk Management Agency started auditing crop insurance applications wherein the insured had requested "New Producer" status.  The effects of the audit have come to fruition in the last few years. The notices generally demand immediate payment of any indemnity paid pursuant to the benefits [...]

23 Dec, 2015

Insuring Additional Acres? The Number of Acres Added May Affect Your Coverage

2018-04-23T18:22:20-05:00December 23rd, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Insurance, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Added Land: Insurance Options Ahead   Farm land does not change hands very often but when it does the acquiring operator should keep in mind the rules which may affect the operator's crop insurance benefits covering the newly added land. Failing to understand and abide by the Risk Management Association's (RMA) rules can cost an operator the maximum guaranteed yields and dramatically reduce the indemnity available under the [...]

11 Dec, 2015

Foregoing Work Comp Coverage? Remember to Provide Notice.

2018-04-23T18:22:20-05:00December 11th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Work Comp Claim Form   Early in my career I had a Nebraska case come across my desk which involved a farm hand falling and striking his head while working on a farm truck.  The farmer had not obtained a workers' compensation policy to cover such accidents because most farms and ranches are not required to provide workers' compensation in Nebraska.  Unfortunately, the farmer had failed to have [...]

13 Nov, 2015

Crop Insurance Claim Denied? Steps to Take Before Weathering the Arbitration Storm

2018-04-23T18:22:20-05:00November 13th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Damage Claims, Crop Insurance, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

  Every year, certain portions of the Midwest get pounded by bad weather causing bad yields or outright crop loss.  This year, several states encountered above average rainfall preventing several million acres from being planted.  At one point this summer, Missouri alone had approximately 4 million acres of un-planted corn and soybean acres.   During times of devastating weather, many producers rely on their crop insurance policies to mitigate crop [...]

22 Oct, 2015

Apply for Your Commercial Drone Use Exemption Now

2018-04-23T18:22:20-05:00October 22nd, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

As previously explained the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working on a rule to allow commercial use of unmanned aircraft (i.e. drones) without going through the same rules for manned aircraft.  However, until the rule is finalized farmers and ranchers can apply for an exemption under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA). The exemption process is not necessarily easy.  However, the FAA website provides [...]

9 Jul, 2015

Actively Engaged In Farming: The New Definition

2018-04-23T18:22:20-05:00July 9th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

  As farm operations continue to grow and become more complex, multiple owners or members of a farming entity may consider themselves "farm managers" even though they never set a foot in the field.   Characterizing oneself as a "farm manager" may entitle the individual to benefits under certain government programs. However, to obtain benefits from such programs an individual has to be considered actively engaged in farming, which means [...]

25 Jun, 2015

Getting Permission: FAA Proposes New Regulations to Legalize Drone Scouting

2018-04-23T18:22:20-05:00June 25th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

When deciding whether to let your spouse know you are going out for a beer with friends rather than straight home for dinner, you may have heard the phrase "it is better to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission."  If you haven't heard that phrase, then I guess we do not have the same type of friends.  Recently, I have noted the truism is being entertained by those [...]

12 Feb, 2015

Court Finds Manure Not So Refreshing and May Be Subject to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

2018-04-23T18:22:20-05:00February 12th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Property Rights|

According to the Seinfeld character George Costanza; "If you consider the other choices "manure" is actually pretty refreshing."   Seinfeld - My Boyfriend - YouTube.  Well, a Washington Federal Court disagrees; meaning dairy and other livestock operations may have to re-analyze their manure management practices.  In Community Association for Restoration of the Environment (CARE) v. Cow Palace, LLC, et al, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington ruled [...]

3 Nov, 2014

Majority Rules – Iowa District Court finds minority shareholder not oppressed

2018-04-23T18:22:20-05:00November 3rd, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

In 2013 the Iowa Supreme Court evaluated “fairness” among minority and majority shareholders of a family farming corporation in the context of disagreements between second-generation cousin shareholders.  The case is Baur v. Baur Farms, Inc.  In Baur Farms, one of the cousins, who was not involved in operating the farm and received all of his stock by way of inheritance or gift, decided he wanted to be bought out.  The [...]

4 Aug, 2014

Beginning Farmer Incentive Programs Part III: Federal Programs

2018-04-23T18:22:20-05:00August 4th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Tax|

The United States Department of Agriculture ("USDA") has created several incentive programs for landowners and beginning farmers to help move land ownership and farming operations from today's farmer to tomorrow's. Beginning Farmer or Rancher Land Contract Guarantee The USDA Beginning Farmer or Rancher Land Contract Guarantee Program encourages shifting land to beginning farmers through installment land contracts. This program is administered by the Farm Service Agency ("FSA") and offers two types of guarantees. [...]

30 Jul, 2014

Beginning Farmer Incentive Programs Part II: Nebraska

2018-04-23T18:22:21-05:00July 30th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Tax|

Like their Iowa counterparts, landowners and beginner farmers in Nebraska can take advantage of tax credits and loan programs implemented to assist the next generation of farmers. Nebraska Beginning Farmer Tax Credit  The Nebraska Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act provides an incentive for a farmer who is retiring or who wants to cut back on his or her operation to rent to a beginning farmer. A qualified beginning farmer or rancher [...]

23 Jul, 2014

Beginning Farmer Incentive Programs Pt. I: Iowa

2018-04-23T18:22:21-05:00July 23rd, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Tax|

According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Census of Agriculture, the average age of today's farmer has increased to 58 years of age.  Concerns are increasing over who will step up as the next farming generation considering dramatic increases in land prices and the high cost of equipment and inputs make it difficult for new farmers to get a foothold. Recognizing the problem, state and federal governments have introduced incentives to [...]

25 Jun, 2014

Mother May I? Always Get Permission When Deciding Whether or Not to Replant

2018-04-23T18:22:21-05:00June 25th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Damage Claims, Crop Insurance, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Approaching Storm Every spring and early summer, heavy rains, hail, and tornadoes force Midwest farmers into a game of "Crop Insurance Mother May I" regarding whether they will replant damaged crops.  For crop insurance purposes, permission is almost always necessary when deciding whether to destroy and replant the damaged crop or destroy the damaged crop and plant a new crop. When facing a replant decision remember the following: "When a crop is damaged and it [...]

4 Jun, 2014

Nebraska Supreme Court finds Farmers Not Liable for Car Accident Caused by Tall Corn

2018-04-23T18:22:21-05:00June 4th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Property Rights|

On October 6, 2007 Thomas Latzel and Daniel Vanekelenburg were involved in a car accident with Patrick Gaughen at the intersection of County Road T and Count Road 17.  Three years later, Thomas Latzel would die from the injuries he incurred in the accident.  Thomas' wife, Amanda Latzel, brought a lawsuit against Ronald and Doug Bartek alleging they negligently planted corn too close to the intersection causing the accident. It [...]

21 Feb, 2014

It Was Bound to Happen: Farmer Sues Neighbor for GMO Contamination

2018-04-23T18:22:21-05:00February 21st, 2014|Biotechnology, Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Damage Claims, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Organic and All Natural|

Everybody saw it coming.  Sooner or later an organic farmer was going to sue a neighbor for genetic contamination of an organic crop.  It has happened in Western Australia when Steve Marsh sued his neighbor, Michael Baxter, for allegedly contaminating Marsh's organic fields.  RT.com  The case will be monitored as groundbreaking for future cases worldwide. Marsh alleges that wind blew Baxter's Roundup Ready canola onto Marsh's farm resulting in a loss of organic [...]

12 Feb, 2014

OSHA Backing Off Grain Bin Inspections

2018-04-23T18:22:21-05:00February 12th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The fear of OSHA inspecting the storage facilities of small farming operations seems to have been quelled. In 2011 OSHA issued a memo which led some inspectors to believe they were authorized to inspect grain storage facilities on private farms.  The memo led to the inspection of a private grain storage facility in Atkinson, Nebraska resulting in approximately $132,000 in fines. In December, 2013, U.S. Senator Mike Johanns  (R-Neb.) drafted a [...]

7 Jun, 2013

Wet Weather Problems Pt. 1: Manure Application and Iowa Law

2018-04-23T18:22:21-05:00June 7th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

This spring it rains 3 days for every 1 day it doesn't rain in Iowa.  At least it seems.   While the headlines concentrate on the delayed planting and replanting caused by flooded fields, livestock producers are scrambling to find ways to drain holding ponds filling up with rainwater.    Livestock operators can relieve pressure on the holdings ponds by applying the manure onto the neighboring fields.  Manure application is an important aspect of any operation's manure management plan and [...]

10 Dec, 2012

Written Livestock Production Contracts: Revisiting the Benefits Over the Handshake Deal.

2018-04-23T18:22:22-05:00December 10th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

  Hopefully they are saying "Hello" and not "It's a Deal". Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog discussing important checklists for producers entering livestock production contracts, which you can revisit here.  This issue came to mind again when I learned of a recent lawsuit over a handshake deal between a livestock owner and contract grower.  The owner claimed $85,000 in damages when several of the owner's cattle became sick or died because the contract [...]

30 Nov, 2012

The Wrongful Death Lawsuit: 5 Points Every Rancher or Farmer Should Know

2018-04-23T18:22:22-05:00November 30th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Emergency medical helicopter taking off in rural field Every farmer and rancher knows their business is dangerous, and even with the utmost care, accidents happen.  When the accident is fatal a subsequent wrongful death lawsuit may not only affect the bottom line but can also bring emotional and social turmoil that a farming or ranching operation is not prepared for.  Fatal accidents can happen anytime, but here in Nebraska and Iowa, these [...]

8 Nov, 2012

GIPSA Enforcement: Failure to Pay When Due Violations are Low Hanging Fruit

2018-04-23T18:22:22-05:00November 8th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Cattle Chute In the past two months, there seems to be an uptick in violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act) for failing to pay, when due,      the full amount for livestock.  In fact, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) has issued ten press releases regarding such violations in that time period. Arguably, the violation for failing to pay, when [...]

19 Sep, 2012

CSR2 Effect on Iowa Land Values

2018-04-23T18:22:22-05:00September 19th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

In mid-August, Iowa's Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS) began rolling out an updated version of the Iowa Corn Suitability Rating; now commonly known as CSR2.  Iowa farmers need to be aware whether CSR2 has been implemented on their land and how the updated rating may affect property taxation and land value. In 1971, a gentleman named Tom Fenton developed a rating to measure the potential productivity of the land based on soil type, slope characteristics and weather conditions [...]

30 Jul, 2012

HSUS’ Flank Attack on Gestation Crates Pt. II: Analyzing the Blueprint for HSUS’ Strategy

2018-04-23T18:22:22-05:00July 30th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

HSUS is not the first group to go after hog operations for ammonia emissions.  The blueprint for HSUS' flank attack was established by earlier lawsuits against hog and poultry operations for violations of the Comprehensive Environmental  Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA aka the Superfund law) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).  CERCLA and EPCRA do not limit pollutants but require reporting when specific quantities of specific substances are released into the environment.  CERCLA and EPCRA [...]

18 May, 2012

Avoiding Heat-Related Illness. There’s an App for That.

2018-04-23T18:22:23-05:00May 18th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The month of May is upon us, bringing with it the beginning of summer's warm temperatures.  Which means it is once again time to remind outdoor workers about heat-related illness. Heat is more deadly in the U.S. than earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes combined[1]. Between 1992 and 2006, heat caused the deaths of 423 crop workers[2]. Prevention is key to avoiding heat-related illness.  For starters, drink plenty of water and take [...]

19 Apr, 2012

Nebraska doesn’t allow prenuptial coercion to protect ag interest

2018-04-23T18:22:23-05:00April 19th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Family farms and ranches are built on generations of hard work, determination and a little bit of luck.  Considering all the sweat that goes into building a successful operation it is imperative for the farmer or rancher to have a plan to keep the operation in the family through situations such as death, divorce or dissolution.  There are several options and your attorney can help you pick out the best options for you and your operation.   With that said, you must [...]

5 Apr, 2012

Are You Adequately Covered For Ag Environmental Losses?

2018-04-23T18:22:23-05:00April 5th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

(First in a series of Insurance Issues for Agribusiness) POLLUTION EXPOSURE All farmers and agribusinesses have a potential pollution exposure.  Some of the largest risks can arise when transporting chemicals, operating heavy equipment or dealing with waste run-off from a hog or cattle operation.  Also fires can erupt that release potential harmful gases.  Smaller risks arise from spilled chemicals or noxious fumes.  Vandalism also can cause a pollution loss.  In [...]

24 Feb, 2012

Pesticide Damage Claims: Nebraska Supreme Court Sets Evidence Standard

2018-04-23T18:22:23-05:00February 24th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Damage Claims, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The recent Nebraska Supreme Court's decision in Lesiak v. Central Valley Ag Cooperative (CVA) provides an evidence standard for pesticide damage claims against applicators.  In Lesiak, the Nebraska Supreme Court discussed burdens of proof, implied services warranties, the economic loss doctrine, blah, blah, blah, blah........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. You are asleep aren't you?  I get it.  However, those involved in crop damage cases (especially lawyers) need to know what kind of evidence is necessary to get the claim [...]

25 Jan, 2012

Livestock Production Contracts: Checklist for Protecting Contract Growers

2018-04-23T18:22:23-05:00January 25th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

  Little by little, custom feeding arrangements secured by a handshake are going the way of the four-row planter.  As contract growers and livestock owners become more sophisticated the handshake is being replaced by the "Livestock Production Contract".  Approximately a week ago, I came across this Livestock Production Contract Checklist produced by the Iowa Department of Justice. The checklist provides 6 important issues a producer should understand and questions a producer should ask before [...]

16 Dec, 2011

Benefits of Conservation Easements: Preserving Farmland for Future + Tax Deduction

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00December 16th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Set in a field along eastbound Interstate 80 traveling into Des Moines, Iowa is a set of 4 signs that read accordingly: Urban Sprawl; Ain't too Pretty; Save Our Farms; Build In The City.  The signs make a good point and a worthwhile plea.  However, a recent Iowa Farmer Today article pointed out farmers and ranchers can proactively perserve their land for future generations of farming with a conservation easement. To create a conservation [...]

9 Dec, 2011

Missouri River Valley Reconstruction

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00December 9th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

With the Missouri River back in its banks, farmers along the Missouri Valley are left wondering how to repair their farmland.  Scour holes and several inches of sand may hinder productivity in the affected areas for a long time if the land is not properly reconstructed.  Farmers must also consider how they will repair the land while staying in compliance with various Farm Bill programs. Flood affected farmers should plan to [...]

17 Nov, 2011

Child-labor and Agriculture: Proposed rules restrict youths’ access to agricultural jobs

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00November 17th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

In May, I wrote this blog about the dangers of children working in agriculture.  In the blog I warned that deadly accidents, such as the Mt. Carroll, IL incident last year, may bring increased federal regulation restricting child labor in agriculture.  It appears that warning has come to fruition. The Department of Labor has recently proposed revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act for child farm workers, which will severely limit agriculture employment for [...]

24 Oct, 2011

Strange Bedfellows: Nebraska Farmers Union and Humane Society of the United States

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00October 24th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

I know I opened with a fairly obscure movie quote two weeks ago discussing communication between ag operators and insurance agents, which you can find here.  With that said, I am going to the well once more.  The recent agreement between the Nebraska Farmers  Union and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) reminded me of this scene in Ghostbusters regarding the upcoming end of the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3ZOKDmorj0 Seriously check it out, I promise it [...]

10 Oct, 2011

Insuring the Operation Pt. II: Examples of miscommunication between agent and producer

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00October 10th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

If you remember correctly, Luke in "Cool Hand Luke" always ended up on the wrong end as  result of a "failure to communicate".  The following are two examples of livestock producers who also ended up on the wrong end as a result of communication break-downs between the producer and insurance agent. Example No. 1: A custom hog feeder lost 3,000 head of hogs to suffocation when the power failed in a hog confinement.  The owner [...]

28 Sep, 2011

Insuring the Operation Pt I: 5 tips to ensure you are properly insured.

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00September 28th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

"What we've got here is ... failure to communicate."  The iconic line of the prison captain to Luke in "Cool Hand Luke" resonates with me every time I am involved in a case between a farm or ranch operator and his/her insurance agent.  These types of cases come about when a disaster strikes and the insurance company denies a claim on the premise that the insurance policy did not cover the loss. The subsequent scene [...]

12 Aug, 2011

Worker’s Comp and Nebraska’s Producers: What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You — PART II

2018-04-23T20:50:33-05:00August 12th, 2011|Farm Management, Nebraska Litigation & Trial Advisor|

Failing to meet the Worker's Compensation Act requirement as outlined in Part I can result in some serious repercussions.  A Nebraska producer who fails to comply with even one of the Worker's Compensation Act's requirements can lose his/her exempt status and become liable under the Act. If you do become liable under the Act, and have a worker’s compensation policy in place, the Act provides the employee’s exclusive remedy. This means, among other things, that the employee cannot [...]

11 Aug, 2011

Worker’s Comp and Nebraska Producers: What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You — PART I

2018-04-23T20:50:33-05:00August 11th, 2011|Farm Management, Nebraska Litigation & Trial Advisor|

If you operate a small farm or livestock operation in Nebraska, you are probably used tobeing exempt from providing worker’s compensation coverage to your employees. But in 2003, the Nebraska legislature changed the law. Although most small producers continue to be exempt under the 2003 amendments, the law imposes certain requirements that must be followed in order to keep exempt status. In particular, producers who only employ relatives, or employ less than ten full-time, non-related employees, can typically [...]

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