A number of you continue to ask me when you might see settlement checks from the Syngenta corn seed settlement. In late 2018, the court approved the settlement order for the $1.51 billion MIR162 Syngenta settlement. Based on the final order, payments to producers should have started going out in the second quarter of 2019. Payments did not go out. On January 3, 2020, the federal district court in Kansas gave final approval to the settlement. There is one last step for growers is to provide the claims administrator with an IRS W-9 form either online or by mailing a form into Corn Seed Settlement Program Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 26226, Richmond, Virginia 23260.
The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, in Uninsured Employers’ Fund v. Tyson Farms, Inc., recently agreed with the Workers’ Compensation Commission that a poultry farm manager’s occupational disease disablement arose out of his co-employment to both the poultry farm owner and the poultry company, Tyson Farms, Inc. Tyson may appeal to the Court of Appeals of Maryland, but growers and companies should consider the possible implications of this decision.
In November, the IRS announced the revised federal estate tax and gift tax limits for 2020. For 2020, the federal estate tax limit will increase from $11.4 million to $11.58 million. The federal gift tax limit will remain at $15,000 in 2020. In Maryland, state estate tax limits will stay at $5 million.
Recently the Court of Appeals of Minnesota partially reversed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) determination that an environmental impact statement (EIS) for a proposed dairy expansion was not needed. During the public comment period, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) raised concerns that the MPCA had not addressed climate change and the greenhouse gas emissions from the expansion, and the MPCA should develop an EIS to approve the expansion. The court of appeals agreed with the MCEA, and now the MPCA will need to conduct an additional environmental review before approving the expansion and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit (NPDES) modifications. This ruling has raised a concern that other states may see similar challenges.
The article is not a substitute for legal advice. Note: this post is based on the First Print of the bill and not subsequent prints.
Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has recently seen a bill introduced
in Parliament that would create an American-style right-to-farm law. This law,
if enacted, would create a nuisance defense to NSW farms qualifying under the
law. At the same time, the bill would increase the penalties for trespass that
results in released livestock. Trespass penalties increase to a possible
three-year jail term for trespassers. The debate in this legislation is ongoing,
and we will have to wait to see if this legislation passes.
Over the past few years, a revolution in the food service industry has developed with the increased popularity of food trucks. Although many may love to get their daily lunch from food trucks, these vehicles have raised some concerns among many brick-and-mortar restaurant owners. Baltimore City imposed restrictions on food trucks, limiting them from operating within 300 feet of any retail business establishment primarily engaged in selling the same type of food product, other merchandise, or services (Art. 15 § 17-33). Food truck operators challenged this law in circuit court, and the ordinance was found unconstitutional for vagueness issues. The City appealed, and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals recently ruled that the ordinance is not illegal, reversing the circuit court. The Maryland Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the case on appeal, possibly putting an end to litigation involving the ordinance.
article is not a substitute for legal advice..
The 2018 Farm
Bill allows for more growers to grow industrial hemp. A farmer looking to add industrial
hemp on fields creates the possibility of conflicts between neighboring
landowners. The neighbors may not understand that industrial hemp is now legal
to grow or other concerns. Industrial hemp is now a legal commodity and growers
would potentially fall under Maryland’s right-to-farm (RTF) law. Industrial
hemp growers would be eligible for the nuisance defense in the RTF law.
Congress has recently passed and the President has signed the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019. This change in the law will raise the aggregated debt limit with Chapter 12 bankruptcies for family farms to $10 million up from the $4,411,400. This increase in the aggregated debt limits will allow for more family farmers to qualify for the Chapter 12 bankruptcy option.
A number of
you have asked when potential Syngenta settlement checks would be released to
growers. In late 2018, the settlement
order was approved for the $1.51 billion MIR162 Syngenta settlement. Based on the final order, payments to
producers should have started going out in the second quarter of 2019. At this time that has not happened, but
recently the Settlement website
has been updated to reflect to show that class members can expect to see class
determinations will go out in July 2019 that will show their compensable
recovery quantity. Other producers who
did not supply enough information, should have gotten notices of rejection in
June 2019. Payment timing is expected to
be at the earliest February 2020.