Latest News

13 Aug, 2018

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

By |2018-08-13T16:21:34+00:00August 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 [...]

13 Nov, 2017

Turning Friends into Foes: Legal Fallout from Monsanto’s Dicamba

By |2018-04-23T18:22:19+00:00November 13th, 2017|Biotechnology, Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Damage Claims, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Monsanto's dicamba has turned friendly neighbors into legal foes due to crops damaged by dicamba's inability to stay where it is supposed to be.   With the soybean harvest basically complete, we are seeing more and more claims filed and litigation initiated.  Farmers are calculating the effect that dicamba applied by a neighbor may have had on their fields. States like Arkansas, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Tennessee and Indiana are [...]

15 Sep, 2016

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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:19+00:00September 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 [...]

2 Aug, 2016

Pulled from the Swamp: EPA Wetland Determination Now Judicially Reviewable

By |2018-04-23T18:22:19+00:00August 2nd, 2016|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

Landowners and developers bogged in an EPA wetland determination were recently thrown a life line when the United States Supreme Court determined The Army Corps of Engineer's (Corps) "jurisdictional determinations" (JD) regarding wetland designations are reviewable by the court.  United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. Inc. Under the Clean Water Act (CWA) landowners and developers who do not have the proper permits can face severe criminal and [...]

23 Dec, 2015

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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00December 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.

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00December 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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00November 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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00October 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 [...]

13 Oct, 2015

The 6th Circuit Puts the Brakes on EPA Enforcing New Definition of Waters of the US

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00October 13th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set to begin enforcing the new definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) on August 28, 2015.  However, several states filed suits in various jurisdictions alleging the EPA lacked the authority to expand its jurisdiction pursuant to the new definition.  Now the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has put the brakes on the EPA's plan to enforce WOTUS [...]

9 Jul, 2015

Actively Engaged In Farming: The New Definition

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00July 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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00June 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 [...]

6 Mar, 2015

A House Divided: Urban Iowa Threatening to Sue Rural Iowa for Farm Runoff

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00March 6th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

  Dividing the House "A house divided against itself cannot stand."  Abraham Lincoln quoted this indisputable truth in reference to the issue of slavery.  Although unlikely to lead to civil war, the debate between urban water use and rural land use is an ever increasing concern. The issue has come to head in Iowa and may be fought in court.  The city of Des Moines plans to file [...]

12 Feb, 2015

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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00February 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 [...]

19 Dec, 2014

Viptera Approved: China Ends Import Ban On 3 GMOs

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00December 19th, 2014|Biotechnology, Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

China finally opens up to Viptera On December 17, 2014 China finally ended its import ban on Syngenta's Viptera corn and two varieties of GMO soybeans produced by DuPont Pioneer and Bayer Crop Sciences. The announcement is cause for great relief to the seed companies and U.S. grain exporters considering U.S. grain trading with China was shut down for all intents and purposes during the ban.  Secretary of [...]

8 Oct, 2014

White Flag Waved: EPA drops suit against Lois Alt

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00October 8th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") has decided not to appeal the Northern District of West Virginia's ruling in favor of poultry farmer, Lois Alt.  The court ruled the Clean Water Act ("CWA") did not regulate storm water runoff from the non-production areas of a farmyard.  A great outcome for Lois Alt which may impact concentrated animal feeding operations ("CAFOs") across the country. In 2012 the EPA handed Lois Alt an [...]

19 Aug, 2014

Water is for Fighting Over: Nebraska Farmers Sue for Water Diverted to Kansas

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00August 19th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Damage Claims, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

Many have heard the quote attributed to Mark Twain over a 100 years ago: "Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over."  Those words are as true today as they were a century ago. Four South Central Nebraska farmers have decided to take their fight over water to court.  The farmers allege they lost yields because the State diverted water away from the farmers' irrigation supply  to comply with [...]

11 Aug, 2014

Missouri Passes “Right-to-Farm” Constitutional Amendment 1

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00August 11th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Property Rights|

On August 6, Missouri narrowly passed the "Right-to-Farm" amendment by 2,500 votes. Section 35 Article 1 of the Missouri Constitution will soon read: That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri's economy.  To protect this vital section of Missouri's economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state, subject to [...]

4 Aug, 2014

Beginning Farmer Incentive Programs Part III: Federal Programs

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00August 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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00July 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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00July 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 [...]

4 Jun, 2014

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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00June 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 [...]

19 May, 2014

Hot Water Topics II: Farmers Join In Suit v. Corps of Engineers for Missouri River Flooding

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00May 19th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Property Rights, Water Law|

Over 200 Landowners, farmers and small-business owners have joined the lawsuit Ideker Farms, Inc. et al v. United States of America alleging they incurred property damage as a result of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' management of the Missouri River from 2006 to 2013. Reuters May 5, 2014. The lawsuit alleges the Army Corps of Engineers changed their priorities from flood management to environmental management; resulting in increased frequency and severity of flooding [...]

30 Mar, 2014

Hot Water Topics Pt. I: EPA Proposes New Definition of “Waters of The United States”

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00March 30th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

On March 24, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new definition of "waters of the United States" as applied in the Clean Water Act (CWA). The definition of "waters of the United States" currently means: (a) All waters which are currently used, were used in the   past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce,   including all waters which are subject to the ebb [...]

26 Mar, 2014

State Senator Proposes One Board To Rule All Water Issues In Nebraska

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00March 26th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

On January 21, 2014, Nebraska State Senator Bill Avery, introduced a bill (LB1005), which would create a board to govern the use of surface and groundwater.  Currently, surface water is controlled by the State's Department of Natural Resources while groundwater is regulated by 23 Natural Resource Districts (NRDs). Recognizing a direct connection between surface water and ground water, Avery believes one board would provide a consistent regulation over the state's [...]

12 Mar, 2014

Crop Insurance Agents: No Rebates Allowed

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00March 12th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Insurance, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Incentives work.  Trust me, I use incentives all the time to get my three year old to sit still, eat his dinner, and stop asking me "why?"  So why don't you ever see crop insurance agents incentivizing clients with bargains on premiums? Incentives on crop insurance rates, no matter how small, are not allowed.  In the crop insurance world such incentives are called "rebates" and offering rebates is illegal under the Federal [...]

3 Mar, 2014

EPA Proposing New Pesticide Safety Measures

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00March 3rd, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking to implement new safety measures for handling and applying pesticides on the nation's farm ground.  The proposed changes come on the heels of an "Agricultural Health Study" of pesticide impacts on human health overseen by the EPA, USDA, National Institute of Health and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The proposed changes would include making pesticide protection training for applicators an [...]

21 Feb, 2014

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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00February 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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00February 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 [...]

9 Oct, 2013

Iowa DNR and EPA Come Together on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Regulations

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00October 9th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Fall Into Line! A year ago the EPA threatened to pull Iowa's police power over Iowa's Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) due to perceived shortcomings of Iowa's inspection and permitting process. On September 11, 2013 Iowa DNR (IDNR) and the EPA came to an agreement on actions the IDNR would take to bring their inspection and permitting process in line with EPA's requirements. Iowa agreed to the following: - [...]

20 Aug, 2013

Florida’s Constitutional Ban on Gestation Crates = $505,000 Award for Hog Producer

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00August 20th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

A July decision by the Florida appellate court awarding a Florida hog producer over $500,000 for damages that occurred as a result of the State's 2003 ban on gestation crates may cause legislatures to take a second look before enacting legislation to rid the pork industry of those very crates.  In 2010, Stephen Basford filed an "inverse condemnation" lawsuit against the State of Florida, claiming he was forced to shut down his hog operation [...]

2 Aug, 2013

Property Rights Along Waterway: What Nebraska Land Owners and Float Trippers Need to Know.

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00August 2nd, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Property Rights, Water Law|

Float trips on the Dismal River, Platte River, and Niobrara in Nebraska, the Gasconade, Little Piney and Big Piney in Missouri and the North Platte in Wyoming make up some of my fondest memories.  On every one of those float trips, without fail, nature calls on somebody in the group and a decision has to be made as to where can we stop, and how long can we stick around? This issue came to a [...]

5 Jul, 2013

Wet Weather Problems Pt. III: Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone and Iowa’s Response

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00July 5th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The Gulf of Mexico's dead zone is a big problem and the problem may the biggest on record this year as a result of the wet spring.   As can be expected, heavier-than-normal rains lead to heavier-than-normal fertilizer runoff from fields, yards, golf courses, etc, into Midwestern rivers, which eventually ends up in the Gulf of Mexico.  Algae feasts on the nitrogen from the fertilizer creating large algae blooms which die off and are decomposed by bacteria.  The bacteria use oxygen [...]

7 Jun, 2013

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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00June 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 [...]

4 Jan, 2013

Rezoning Your Backyard For Wind Farms Is Not A Taking According To 7th Circuit Ct. of Appeals

By |2018-04-23T18:22:22+00:00January 4th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

   Some people just do not want certain activities conducted in their back yard, even if those activities which may benefit the community as a whole.  Patricia Muscarello is such a person when it comes to wind farms being put up near land she owns in Winnebago County, Illinois.  Despite Ms. Muscarello's best efforts, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decided the Winnebago County Board could rezone wind farms as permissible use of agricultural land.  [...]

8 Nov, 2012

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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:22+00:00November 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 [...]

27 Sep, 2012

Workers Wanted Desperately Needed: Searching for a Solution to the Foreign Agricultural Labor Shortage

By |2018-04-23T18:22:22+00:00September 27th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The call for immigration reform is being made again (or, still) as many producers find they are increasingly unable to provide the work force—a work force which comes predominantly from Mexico—needed to harvest their crops.  A recent article by Carol Lawrence examines some of the economic and policy issues responsible for creating a shortage of foreign workers.  (http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/farm-workers/farm-workers). According to a recent report from the  Pew Hispanic Center, the difficulty [...]

6 Sep, 2012

PETA Video Given “R” Rating at Kansas State Fair

By |2018-04-23T18:22:22+00:00September 6th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

"R" meaning restricted, of course.  The Kansas State Fair  (Sept. 7 - 16) had required PETA to restrict viewing of PETA's 13 minute video depicting livestock slaughter from people walking by PETA's booth.  As previously discussed in my Aug. 27th blog, PETA did not like the restriction and filed a lawsuit claiming their constitutional right to free speech had been violated.  PETA asked the U.S. District Court, District of Kansas to block the restriction, [...]

27 Aug, 2012

PETA Claims Constitutional Right to Protest Animal Agriculture at Kansas State Fair

By |2018-04-23T18:22:22+00:00August 27th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has threatened to file a lawsuit against the Kansas State Fair for violating PETA's right to free speech; specifically, the right to show a 13 minute undercover video of packing plants and large animal confinements.  PETA was granted to right to set up a booth at the fair but was not allowed to show the video or any pictures depicting animal processing.  The American Civil Liberties [...]

30 Jul, 2012

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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:22+00:00July 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 [...]

20 Jul, 2012

HSUS’ Flank Attack on Gestation Crates: Claims Environmental Violations of 51 Hog Facilities Pt. I

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00July 20th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Battle of Big Bethel, VA 1861 The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recently posted the following headline: The HSUS Serves Notices of Intent to Sue More than 50 Pig Confinement Facilities for Toxic Air Pollution.  At first glance it does not make sense for a program whose alleged mission is to protect animals from abusive treatment to concern itself with environmental issues.  However, if the mission is not just the protection of animals, but [...]

19 Jun, 2012

Illinois Taps CAFO’s to Fund Regulation of CAFO’s

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00June 19th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Owners of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO's) in Illinois will be partially funding their own pollution permits if the Governor Pat Quinn signs the recently passed Clean Water Funding Fairness Act.  The Act would require CAFO's that discharge or intend to discharge pollutants to pay an annual fee for their permits under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).  The fee amount is determined by the size of your CAFO: $750 for CAFO's [...]

8 Jun, 2012

Surprise, Surprise, the EPA is watching you from the skies: Part II

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00June 8th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

On Monday, the EPA Region 7 defended the aerial surveillance program in the Midwest, by emphasizing the surveillance is "a legal and cost-effective way to help protect Nebraska and Iowa streams from runoff contamination."  Per Joe Duggan's article in the Omaha World Herald. Senator Mike Johanns, R-Neb., is not buying it and believes the EPA does not have congressional authority to conduct aerial surveillance.  Others believe the EPA's surveillance unnecessarily duplicates the state's CAFO regulations.  So....which is it?  Is the [...]

4 Jun, 2012

Surprise, Surprise, the EPA is watching you from the skies: Part I

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00June 4th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

You may have been surprised by the recent news that EPA Region 7 has conducted aerial surveillance of feed yards in the Midwest for the past two years.  If you had not heard about these activities you should check out Todd Janzen's Ag Law Blog article EPA Aerial Surveillance Under Fire.  To tell you the truth, I was not surprised.  During every EPA/Clean Water Act presentation I have attended, the speaker displayed an aerial photo of a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) [...]

25 May, 2012

TransCanada facing new obstacles in Nebraska leg of Keystone XL pipeline.

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00May 25th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

I recently signed up to run the Warrior Dash which is some sort of 3 + mile obstacle course through mud, fire and brimstone.  The Warrior Dash twitter page boasts that "It's the craziest frickin' day of your life!"  @WarriorDash  Over-exaggeration aside, I asked one friend who has been through it whether the Warrior Dash was tough.  His response was, "Yeah, it's pretty tough, but not as tough as getting an oil pipeline [...]

28 Apr, 2012

Ag’s voice heard: Dept. of Labor withdraws proposed child labor revisions

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00April 28th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

It looks like the thousands of comments opposing the Department of Labors' (DOL) proposed child labor revisions regarding agriculture has worked.  I summarized the proposed changes in my November 17 blog: Child-labor and Agriculture: Proposed rules restrict youths’ access to agricultural jobs.  Today the DOL issued a statement that the proposals were withdrawn and would not "be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration." The last part of the statement indicates [...]

28 Mar, 2012

Airborne Water Pollution: North Carolina case decides whether Clean Water Act regulates airborne emissions

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00March 28th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

As the old saying goes; what goes up, must come down, which is why celebratory gunfire is not that great of an idea.  With that clever segue, a North Carolina court will have to decide whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) can regulate what goes up before it comes down. The case involves Rose Acre Farms which is a large egg farm, housing over 3 millions hens near a national wildlife refuge in [...]

8 Mar, 2012

Water Rights: Landowners’ Win Big in Texas

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00March 8th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

  Government regulation of groundwater just became a lot more precarious in Texas.  The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled that landowners own the groundwater upon which their land sits, which means that the State of Texas has to be extra careful in how it regulates groundwater use.  Specifically, landowners may be entitled to compensation if the state's groundwater regulations go to far.   Which regulations "go to far"?  At this point, nobody knows and [...]

20 Jan, 2012

Proposed Indiana Law Gives CAFOs a Legal Hammer against Nuisance Lawsuits

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00January 20th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Generally speaking, a defendant who successfully defends a lawsuit cannot collect his/her legal fees from the other side.  One exception is when the court determines that the lawsuit was so frivolous that the claim should have never been filed.  In that case, the court may award the defendant legal fees.  From experience, I can tell you that courts rarely find a claim to be frivolous and it is even more rare for a [...]

13 Jan, 2012

FDA Slows Down Antibiotic Use in Agriculture

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00January 13th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

As of January 4, 2012 the Federal Drug Administration has banned the "unapproved" use of cephalosporins in food animals such as cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys.  Therefore, you may want to return that thoughtful gift of Cefzil or Keflex your livestock got you for Christmas.  It was really a gift for them more than it was for you anyway. Actually, hold off on returning the gift as the prohibition is for "extra-label" use [...]

5 Jan, 2012

Agricultural related lawsuits coming to head in 2012; Pt. II

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00January 5th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

On January 20, 2011 the Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network of North America filed a lawsuit against the EPA for allegedly failing to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) before approving pesticide use.  Agricultural organizations such as the National Corn Growers Association have joined the lawsuit to ensure they have a seat at the table. The lawsuit is 411 pages long [...]