The Midwest Agricultural Law Guide, was created to offer legal discussion and encourage the use of social media in the agricultural industry.

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13 Sep, 2013

CRP Payments Likely Subject to Self Employment Tax

2018-04-23T18:22:21-06:00September 13th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law, Tax|

The following was posted by Dan Waters on the Midwest Business Law Journal on August 15, 2013.    The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a USDA land conservation program administered by the Farm Service Agency.  In exchange for annual “rent” payments from the FSA, farmers enrolled in a CRP agree to remove select parcels of land from agricultural production and plant species in order to improve environmental health and quality. [...]

6 Sep, 2013

Guest Blogger Irv McQuarrie: Discussion on Investments and Agriculture.

2018-04-23T18:22:21-06:00September 6th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law|

As a member of the Nebraska Agribusiness Club, I have had the great pleasure to meet Irv McQuarrie who runs the website  We discussed investment opportunities and strategies.  I asked him specifically about investment opportunities for agriculture and if he would provide his response in this blog.   Where should farmers be putting their money? Most of us are of two minds when it comes to investing. Our left brain (that’s the rational side) [...]

30 Aug, 2013

RMA Removes “Normal Weather Condition” Requirement for Prevented Planting Eligibility…

2018-04-23T18:22:21-06:00August 30th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Insurance, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Prairie Pothole Region MapUS Geographic Survey ...for acres found in the Prairie Pothole National Priority Area, which extends to regions of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.  Beginning in 2014, acres planted in the Prairie Pothole region will be eligible for prevented planting payments if those acres were planted in at least one out of the last four years.  The acres are eligible even if one or more of those four years was [...]

20 Aug, 2013

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

2018-04-23T18:22:21-06:00August 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.

2018-04-23T18:22:21-06:00August 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

2018-04-23T18:22:21-06:00July 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 [...]

13 Jun, 2013

Wet Weather Problems Pt II: Crop Insurance and Your Options

2018-04-23T18:22:21-06:00June 13th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Insurance, Midwest Agricultural Law|

  To plant or not to plant?  It is a question several farmers are facing this year in those areas of the Midwest where the rain hasn't let up and the rivers have overtopped their banks.  In some areas, the decision has been made for them.  In those areas where the fields are beginning to dry out, farmers are well advised to speak with their crop insurance agent to determine how their decision may [...]

7 Jun, 2013

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

2018-04-23T18:22:21-06:00June 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 [...]

18 May, 2013

Supreme Court Ruling Protects Monsanto’s Patent For Round Up Ready Seed

2018-04-23T18:22:21-06:00May 18th, 2013|Biotechnology, Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Old US Supreme Court Chamber in Capital Bldg   The U.S. Supreme Court ruled an Indiana farmer violated Monsanto's patent when he planted soybeans containing Monsanto's patented Round-Up ready genetics without paying Monsanto for the seed.  The Court emphasized the ruling was limited to seeds, but the decision may affect self-replicating technology outside the ag world.   Indiana farmer, Vernon Bowman, purchased Round-Up Ready soybeans from Monsanto for his first crop of the season.  However, starting in 1999, [...]

17 Apr, 2013

Agricultural Law Pt. IV: Touchdown in Taiwan

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00April 17th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The group touched down late in Taipei, Taiwan to start the last leg of the LEAD 31 International Seminar.  The following four days was a whirlwind of experiencing the culture, politics and economy of the East Asian state otherwise known as the Republic of China. Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial To understand Taiwan, one must understand the split between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People's Republic of China (China).  Therefore, our first stop was [...]

29 Mar, 2013

Agricultural Law Abroad Pt. III: Visiting Vietnam

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00March 29th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Somewhere out in Hanoi a rooster crows incessantly To be honest, of the three countries we visited on the LEAD 31 International Seminar, Vietnam was my favorite.  At its core, Hong Kong is similar to almost any other international metropolis.  Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, on the other hand were completely different than anything I had ever experienced. Hanoi Upon leaving Hong Kong, we flew into rain [...]

12 Feb, 2013

Agricultural Law Abroad; Pt. II: Hello Hong Kong

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00February 12th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law|

If you love skyscrapers and city skylines, Hong Kong is the place for you.   The morning after arriving in Hong Kong was spent acclimating to our surroundings (i.e. figuring out breakfast (fried monk fish) and exchange rates).  Fortunately, we did not have to figure out lunch, which was served and sponsored by Pet-Link Co. Ltd.  Pet-Link Co. is a distributor of small animal pet products produced by Oxbow Animal Health in Murdock, Nebraska. [...]

31 Jan, 2013

Agricultural Law Abroad: Part I: How I Came to Board a Plane for SE Asia

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00January 31st, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law|

I realize it has been some time since my last posting.  But wait, before you write me off as being lazy or having given up, listen to my excuse.   Rice paddies outside Taipei, Taiwan On January 12th, I and the rest ofthe Nebraska LEAD Class 31, left for an educational tour of Hong Kong, Vietnam and Taiwan returning on January 24th.  The weeks beforehand were spent scrambling around getting my cases and staff organized in preparation [...]

4 Jan, 2013

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

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00January 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.  [...]

10 Dec, 2012

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

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00December 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

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00November 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 [...]

16 Nov, 2012

National Organic Program Establishes 5% Residue Testing Requirement

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00November 16th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law, Organic and All Natural|

Many in agriculture know the organic certification process has been a less than airtight, although many consumers may not be aware.  As I discussed in my May 2011 blog, certifying agencies have been inconsistent with the frequency of inspections, inspection standards, and the assessing punishments for violations.  The National Organic Program (NOP) has attempted to tighten those leaks by establishing a periodic residue test on 5% of the farms certified by an independent agency. The testing requirement will [...]

8 Nov, 2012

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

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00November 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 [...]

13 Oct, 2012

And in this Corner: Preparing for Crop Insurance Arbitration

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00October 13th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Insurance, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Farmer v. Crop Insurer I was hanging out in Midwesttown, USA the other day and came across a poster advertising an event held at the community center.  The poster read: FIGHT NIGHT! Jimmythe Farmer v. Craig Crop Insurer in a 12 round winner take all bout.  So I headed right over, laid down my money and walked in to a sold out fight.  It was a good fight with both fighters standing toe to toe [...]

27 Sep, 2012

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

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00September 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.  ( According to a recent report from the  Pew Hispanic Center, the difficulty [...]

19 Sep, 2012

CSR2 Effect on Iowa Land Values

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00September 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 [...]

6 Sep, 2012

PETA Video Given “R” Rating at Kansas State Fair

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00September 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

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00August 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 [...]

13 Aug, 2012

EPA Dishes Punishment on Iowa DNR’s Failure to Enforce CWA

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00August 13th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law|

"Just wait until your father gets home!" are the dreaded words my friends and I probably feared most growing up.  The Iowa Department of Natural Resources' (IDNR) proverbial father, the EPA, recently came home and threatened to punish the IDNR for failing to properly enforce the Clean Water Act (CWA) against livestock facilities. As discussed in my August 2011 blog, several environmental groups have claimed the IDNR has not been appropriately regulating CAFO wastewater discharges in Iowa.  The EPA finally responded [...]

6 Aug, 2012

After Instant Replay Review: Pesticide Drift Is Not a Trespass in Minnesota

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00August 6th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Damage Claims, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Almost one year ago, I reported in this blog, that the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled "unwanted pesticide drift...can constitute a trespass" in favor of organic producer, Oluf Johnson.  The defendant, Paynesville Farmers Union Cooperative, tossed the red flag and requested an instant replay review.  After review, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled pesticide drift cannot, as a matter of law, constitute a trespass.  The Minnesota Supreme Court didn't exactly overturn a touchdown.  The Court emphasized pesticide drift cases are nuisance [...]

30 Jul, 2012

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

2018-04-23T18:22:22-06:00July 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

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00July 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

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00June 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

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00June 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

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00June 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.

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00May 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 [...]

18 May, 2012

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

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00May 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 [...]

4 May, 2012

Niobrara River irrigators win big hand against NPPD in water rights card game.

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00May 4th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

Irrigators on the Niobrara River Basin won a big hand recently when the Nebraska Supreme Court found in their favor again.  The ruling does not end the ongoing card game with NPPD, but it may give irrigators a chance to expand their water rights in the basin.    Last June, I posted this blog regarding the Court's decision ordering the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to re-determine whether the basin was "maxed out" for irrigation purposes.   Despite the ruling, the Nebraska Public [...]

28 Apr, 2012

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

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00April 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 [...]

19 Apr, 2012

Nebraska doesn’t allow prenuptial coercion to protect ag interest

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00April 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 [...]

10 Apr, 2012

Organic Farmers Appeal Monsanto’s Victory Regarding Patent Infringement Claims

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00April 10th, 2012|Biotechnology, Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law|

In mid-March I posted this blog summarizing Monsanto's victory over a group of farmers and producers.  The farmers were looking to prevent future patent infringment claims by Monsanto for inadvertent planting or harvesting seed contaminated by Monsanto's genetically modified seed.  The following telephone coversation occurred shortly after the judge ruled in Monsanto's favor:  Counsel for farmers: "Good afternoon, congratulations on obtaining the judgment in your favor, but surely you did not think we would [...]

5 Apr, 2012

Are You Adequately Covered For Ag Environmental Losses?

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00April 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 [...]

28 Mar, 2012

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

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00March 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 [...]

21 Mar, 2012

Iowa’s Chief Justice Cady proposes agricultural courts

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00March 21st, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law|

  Iowa's Chief Justice of the Supreme Court recently brought up the idea of developing a specific court system to handle agricultural issues.  As a licensed Iowa attorney with a specific interest in agriculture, I love the idea.  Plus, such a court would be a great asset for Iowa's number one industry.   Chief Justice, Mark Cady, brought up the idea during an appearance in Tipton, Iowa while drumming up support [...]

15 Mar, 2012

Court Finds Monsanto Not Big Bad Wolf in Patent Infringement Claims

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00March 15th, 2012|Biotechnology, Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law|

We all know the story about the boy who cried wolf, and we all know the lesson learned in the story.  If not, shame on you and ask your kids.  A United States District Court recently found 62 farmer organizations and seed businesses were crying wolf in a recent lawsuit against Monsanto. The 62 organizations were organic and non-organic crop and seed producers who did not want to buy, plant, harvest, or sell patented and genetically [...]

8 Mar, 2012

Water Rights: Landowners’ Win Big in Texas

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00March 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 [...]

24 Feb, 2012

Pesticide Damage Claims: Nebraska Supreme Court Sets Evidence Standard

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00February 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

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00January 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 [...]

20 Jan, 2012

Proposed Indiana Law Gives CAFOs a Legal Hammer against Nuisance Lawsuits

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00January 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

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00January 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

2018-04-23T18:22:23-06:00January 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 [...]

30 Dec, 2011

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

2018-04-23T18:22:24-06:00December 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

2018-04-23T18:22:24-06:00December 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

2018-04-23T18:22:24-06:00December 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

2018-04-23T18:22:24-06:00December 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 [...]