Latest News

30 Dec, 2011

Agricultural Related Lawsuits coming to head in 2012; Pt. I

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00December 30th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

At this time last year, the EPA set limits on the maximum daily amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment allowed into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries; commonly referred to as the Chesapeake Bay TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load).  States within the watershed were subsequently required to develop an EPA approved plan for limiting the pollutants from entering the watershed. Immediately thereafter, national agricultural organizations joined forces to challenge the EPA's TMDL for the Chesapeake [...]

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 [...]

2 Dec, 2011

Constitutional Protection for Right to Farm: ND Farm Bureau staying one step ahead of HSUS

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00December 2nd, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The North Dakota Farm Bureau is taking the "right to farm" to the state constitution.  The Farm Bureau likely has the the 27,000 signatures necessary to get a proposal on the ballot in June or November 2012 which will likely read: "The right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state.  No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of [...]

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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3ZOKDmorj0 Seriously check it out, I promise it [...]

15 Sep, 2011

Livestock Facility Siting Laws: State-wide Predictability or Local Autonomy

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00September 15th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Traveling across the Midwest, you will inevitably run into the smell of a cattle or hog operation.  Every time I run across that smell I think of the quote my father used to use, "That is the smell of money."  One can grow accustomed to the smell when living and/or working on a farm or ranch; some even appreciate it. However, while many want to enjoy a rural lifestyle, they do not want to live [...]

2 Sep, 2011

Crop Insurance, the 2012 Farm Bill and Natural Disasters; Preserving the Safety Net

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00September 2nd, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Insurance, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Every time I turn on the Weather Channel it seems like another area of the country has been hit by a natural disaster.  Last week, Hurricane Irene struck the east coast resulting in extensive damage to the area's crop and livestock.  Farmers in the Midwestern states of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri are just beginning to discover the extent of damage to their fields caused by long term flooding of the Missouri River Basin.  Agricultural producers in [...]

22 Aug, 2011

Who’s Regulating Iowa CAFO’s? Environmental groups going after Iowa DNR authority by suing EPA

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00August 22nd, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Currently, the EPA authorizes the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to regulate Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) through Clean Water Act permits.  However, the Environmental Integrity Group, Iowa Chapter of Sierra Club and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement have petitioned the EPA to revoke Iowa DNR's authority for failing to regulate CAFO's under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The groups filed a notice of intent to sue in light of the EPA's failure to respond to [...]

5 Aug, 2011

Relief from the Heat; Farm Bill program compensates for heat-related livestock deaths.

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00August 5th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Breaking news...it's been hot across the Midwest for the past two weeks.  Okay, so it is not breaking news and it is not breaking news to livestock producers that the heat has stressed herds across the country.  The record low national cattle herd has been especially stressed with Iowa alone estimating between 3,400 and 4,000 heat-related cattle deaths.  Per Dan Pillar's Des Moines Register article found here. However, what many producers may not know is that a [...]

20 Jul, 2011

Missouri Tells Grain Dealers to Show-Me the Money: New legislation tightens financial requirements.

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00July 20th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Dishonest grain dealers will find it harder to operate in Missouri.  On July 11, 2011 Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed legislation which will require grain dealers to pony up more money to safeguard against insolvency. The legislation is in response to the actions of Cathy Gieseker who defrauded approximately 180 farmers out of $27 million.  According to the evidence, Cathy Gieseker told farmers that she had contracts with Archer Daniels Midland Co. which [...]

13 Jul, 2011

Roundup-ready Kentucky Bluegrass: Great for Weekend Warrior, Bad for Anti-GMO

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00July 13th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The weekend lawn chores may become just a bit easier.  Scotts Miracle-Gro has been given the green light to sell Roundup-ready Kentucky bluegrass without government approval.  The U.S.D.A determined that the genetically modified bluegrass was exempt because the modification did not include plant pests. Most Roundup-ready crops contain a slice of DNA from a plant virus that acts as a herbicide resistant trigger and falls under the U.S.D.A.'s control over plant pests.  [...]

29 Jun, 2011

Pesticide Reglations: Bill H.R. 872 may knock out EPA authority under Clean Water Act

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00June 29th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

On June 21, 2011 the Senate Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 872 which would effectively restore regulatory authority for pesticide application to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  The Bill will now go to the full Senate for approval.    Passed by the House on March 31, 2011, H.R. 872 would prohibit the EPA or a state from requiring CWA permits for discharges of a FIFRA-approved pesticide into navigable waters.  The legislation is in response to the Sixth-Circuit Court of Appeals' decision [...]

13 Jun, 2011

Unfairly Appropriated: Nebraska Supreme Court Reverses Designation of Niobrara River

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00June 13th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

In what may be good news for farmers and ranchers operating in the Lower Niobrara River Basin, the Nebraska Supreme Court reversed the Department of Natural Resources' "fully appropriated" designation for the basin.  The June 3, 2011 ruling may open doors for new well permits and possibly new surface water appropriations.    The "fully appropriated" designation generally means that the river is maxed out for uses which divert water from the river, such [...]

9 Jun, 2011

Flood the Farm or the City: The Army Corps of Engineers’ Tough Question

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

On Friday, June 3, I was helping fill sandbags in Plattsmouth, Nebraska in an effort to protect the waste treament and water treatment plants from expected flooding along the Missouri river.  The volunteer turnout was tremendous but somber as the discussions obviously centered on the potential damage and whether there was anything that could have been done earlier to prevent the possible catastrophe.  Rumors swirled that the Army Corps of Engineers was [...]

17 May, 2011

EPA Cracks Down on 7 Midwest CAFOs

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

The EPA is on the warpath in the midwest again.  On May 16, 2011 the EPA Region 7 announced it had issued administrative complicane orders to seven concentrated animal feeding operations in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska; all cattle operations.  The operations included medium to large CAFO's operating with and without NPDES permits. The violations included the following: 1.     Failure to maintain adequate storage capacity and confinement of cattle in areas [...]

16 May, 2011

Clean Water Act Expansion?

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

According to the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, the Clean Water Act (CWA) should no longer be limited to "navigable waters".  Rather, the Act extends to non-navigable tributaries of navigable waters if such tributaries contain water seasonally per the EPA's and Army Corps' new draft guidance. In addition, the CWA will now cover wetlands located next to interstate waters or navigable waters along with wetlands directly next-to permanent waters.  [...]