Recent Court Decision Highlights Why You Should Update Life Insurance Policies After A Divorce

The article is not a substitute for legal advice.

Many of you may not remember John McLaughlin the host of the long-running public affairs show The McLaughlin Group, for those that do not the video clip above will give you a taste of his show. McLaughlin passed away in 2016. Before passing away, Mr. McLaughlin had divorced Christina Vidal, his wife, in 2010. After this divorce, Mr. McLaughlin neglected to change two life insurance policies beneficiaries from his now-ex-wife to an immediate family member. In late 2017, the federal district court in D.C. ruled that his estate is the sole beneficiary of the life insurance policies. The outcome, in this case, was favorable to the estate, it is an important reminder that you need to update beneficiaries after important life events. Continue reading

Minnesota Court Upholds Granting Conditional Use Permit For Feedlot

 

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Cow closeup image.  Image by Cedar Summit Farm.

 

The article is not a substitute for legal advice. 

A new livestock operation moving into an area can often cause fears from neighbors over potential changes in the neighborhood. Neighbors may fear new smells, sounds, and sights being a part of daily life or changes in the character of the neighborhood. Many states grant counties (or potentially cities) the power to develop zoning ordinances related to agriculture to help limit some of these concerns. One state, Minnesota, recently saw a court case involving a county granting a conditional use permit (CUP) for a new feedlot challenged in state court by a group of realtors. The realtors claimed approving the CUP was unreasonable or contrary to the law because the record did not reflect that the feedlot would meet the mandatory minimum requirements in the zoning ordinances. The Minnesota Court of Appeals disagreed and upheld the granting of the CUP to the feedlot (Rosenquist, 2017). Continue reading

Right-to-Farm Constitutional Amendment Did Not Create A Constitutional Right to Grow Pot

 

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Image by Neal Wellons of central Missouri farm showing grain bins with a grain trailer in the background.

 

The article is not a substitute for legal advice. 

In 2014, Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment creating a new constitutional amendment to protect the right to farm and ranch in the state of Missouri. This amendment is broader protection than the state’s right-to-farm law that just protects an agricultural operation against nuisance lawsuits. But in approving the constitutional amendment did Missouri voters create a new right to grow and cultivate marijuana in Missouri? A few criminal defendants had tried to claim the new constitutional amendment preempted state drug law related to growing marijuana. The Supreme Court of Missouri recently held that the right-to-farm constitutional amendment did not create a new right to grow marijuana in the state (Missouri v. Shanklin). Continue reading

Ninth Circuit Upholds a Portion of an Ag Gag Law

 

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Image by Jess Johnson.  Image of cow looking at the camera.  Image via flickr.com

 

The article is not a substitute for legal advice.

In 2014, Idaho’s legislature approved the Interference with Agricultural Production law. This law was recently upheld in part and found unconstitutional in part by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision reverses part of a federal district court opinion finding the entire law unconstitutional (Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Wasden). Former Extension legal specialist in AREC, Ashley Ellixson, wrote an overview of the district court’s opinion that you can read here. Continue reading

Presenting at American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Convention

 

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Tiffany Dowell Lashmet and Paul Goeringer at the AFBF Convention Trade Show.  Image by Tiffany Lashmet.

 

Earlier this month, I got the opportunity to present with my friend Tiffany Lashmet (@TiffDowell) at the American Farm Bureau’s 99th Annual Convention at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville.  We covered an agricultural law overview for 2017 and what to be watching for in 2018.  As you can see from the one picture I remembered to take during the event, the event was well attended and the audience asking great questions.  After the jump, you will find the audio of the presentation provided by American Farm Bureau. Continue reading

Developing a Contact for Your Custom Service Operation

 

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Hay bales in field.  Image is by Jeanne via Flickr.

 

I recently I contributed an article to Progressive Forage magazine for the January 2018 edition.  The article focuses on developing a contract to ensure you get paid for services in the coming season.  This is an important issue that producers and custom operators should consider before the new season is upon us. The article highlights what is required in the majority of states to be a valid contract.

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2017 in Review: Legal Developments In Agriculture

 

2017 ag law developments

Image in photo from powerpoint slide developed by FPPT.com

 

With 2017 coming to an end, I want to take a minute to look back at many of the top legal developments impacting Maryland agriculture in the year. Many of these legal developments may seem like repeats from my 2016 update, click here to see. With those repeated issues, we in many cases have seen resolutions in a few, and with others, we will probably continue to see litigation further develop with a few issues in 2018. Moving into 2018, we will probably see new issues develop as we look at a new Farm Bill debate and cycle potentially starting.  You can listen to Tiffany Lashmet and I discuss many of these top legal developments on our joint podcast episode, click here. Continue reading