Eligible Corn Growers and Landlords Begin Filing Syngenta Settlement Claims in May

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Corn harvest with combine dumping onto grain cart.  Image  by United Soybean Board.

This post is not legal advice.

On April 10, 2018, a federal district court judge granted preliminary approval to the $1.51 billion MIR162 Syngenta settlement. This settlement, reached in September 2017 and officially announced in March 2018, would settle claims by U.S. farmers for Syngenta bringing Viptera and Duracade corn varieties to market before approval in China. This approval means corn growers region will begin to see formal notices hitting their mailboxes in May, and the claims process will begin. Corn growers and eligible landlords will be able to file claims electronically beginning May 11, 2018, at www.cornseedsettlement.com, or by calling 1-833-567-CORN(2676) to request a paper form. Corn growers and eligible landlords will need to file a claim by October 12, 2018. Continue reading

Gleaning Unharvested Crops and Crop Insurance or NAP Coverage

 

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Student farm at Penn State.  Image is by Penn State University

 

During the growing season, producers may allow various nonprofits to come on the farm and collect unharvested crops after harvesting. In many cases, it may be not economically profitable to harvest this unharvested portion, or the producer may have had to leave crops unharvested after meeting supply needs for a week. These crops might be left in the field to rot if not for the ability of nonprofits to glean these crops as donations to feed hungry Marylanders. I’ve previously written on liability when allowing gleaners on the farm, to read that post, click here. For those producers who have crop insurance coverage on these crops, is gleaning allowed on insured acres? The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) has requirements that an insured producer should meet before allowing gleaning to take place on their farms. Continue reading

Remember to Certify Conservation Compliance for Crop Insurance Program By Premium Billing Date

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Tilling field with tractor.  Image is by United Soybean Board

As many of you who have purchased crop insurance since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill already know, conservation compliance has been relinked with the crop insurance subsidy. This relinking means that many producers who traditionally have not participated in farm bill programs (such as Price Loss Coverage or Agriculture Risk Coverage) were not required to certify conservation compliance. Continue reading

Pesticide Drift and Your Legal Liability

 

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Image of round bales in a field.  The image is by Tana Griffith 

 

I recently contributed a column to Progressive Forage magazine for the April 2018 edition.  The column covers issues associated with pesticide drift and forage production.  The column covers previous court decisions involving pesticide drift liability to give an applicator a sense of what courts are looking at in determining liability.  Finally, the column covers what you should do if you suspect drift damage. Continue reading

Baltimore City Restrictions on Food Trucks Unconstitutional for Vagueness

 

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Food trucks in San Francisco.  Image by Todd Lappin

 

The article is not a substitute for legal advice.

Many of you may not live in areas with access to food trucks, but in areas where there are food trucks there can be disputes between traditional brick and mortar restaurants and the food trucks. Recently, Baltimore City imposed restrictions on food trucks that limited food trucks from operating within 300 feet of any retail business establishment that is primarily engaged in selling the same type of food product, other merchandise, or services as that offered by the food truck operator (Art. 15 § 17-33). Food truck operators challenged this law in circuit court and the law recently found to be void for vagueness and rejected arguments that the law violated Maryland Declaration of Rights protections of Due Process and Equal Protection. Continue reading

Syngenta Announces $1.51 Billion Dollar Settlement to MIR162 Class Action Suit

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Corn being harvest in a field by a combine.  Image is by the United Soybean Board.

The article is not a substitute for legal advice.

In September 2017, Syngenta agreed to settle claims brought by U.S. farmers for bringing Viptera and Duracade corn varieties to market before approval in China. On March 12, 2018, Syngenta formally announced that it would be settling all U.S. corn growers, grain handlers, and ethanol plant claims. This settlement, from media reports, will include all U.S. corn farmers including those who opted out of the original class action suit and those who grew Agrisure Duracade Corn and/or Agrisure Viptera corn varieties. The settlement will be for a period starting after September 15, 2013, and continue through the 2018 crop year. You are not required to retain an attorney to assist you in collecting on this settlement. Continue reading

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