Agricultural Law for Iowa and Missouri

Monthly Archives: March 2015

The USDA announced today that farmers will have one more week to elect Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC), the safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill. April 7, 2015 will also be the final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres.

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, said, “This is an important decision for producers because these programs help farmers and ranchers protect their operations from unexpected changes in the marketplace. Nearly 98 percent of owners have already updated yield and base acres, and 90 percent of producers have enrolled in ARC or PLC. These numbers are strong, and continue to rise. This additional week will give producers a little more time to have those final conversations, review their data, visit their local Farm Service Agency offices, and make their decisions.”
Continue reading

In order to be eligible to receive payments under many USDA farm programs, including the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, a person must qualify as “actively engaged in farming.” Under current regulations actively engaged in farming means a contribution of land, capital, or equipment as well as labor or active personal management. The 2014 Farm Bill requires the USDA to formulate a new definition of “actively engaged in farming,” or, more specifically, to further define what “active personal management” means.

This mandatory change from Congress stems in large part from critics of the program alleging that wealthy landowners were qualifying for farm program payments Continue reading

Farm AccessEasements allowing access for farm equipment are common in Missouri and Iowa. However, as farm equipment and machinery become larger, the dimensions of existing easements may no longer be adequate to provide access. This often creates disagreements between landowners and easement holders that wind up in court. The result from the court varies depending on how the easement was established, and, if written, on the language of the easement.

In a case recently heard by the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District, a party sought to expand an existing written easement for a 16 foot wide road by claiming additional property adjacent to an easement road had been acquired by prescription. Continue reading

Iowa Missouri Deer

Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri contain some of the most prized whitetail deer hunting ground in the country. Whether you’re letting a neighbor, farm tenant, or a non-resident use your land for hunting, a written lease is crucial for protecting your rights on the property, ensuring quality deer management, and protecting yourself from liability and lawsuits.

This article discusses some of the basic provisions of a hunting lease as well as more in-depth issues that should be addressed by a lease with quality deer management as a priority. This article may not cover all of the needs of your particular situation and should not be construed as legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to ensure a hunting lease that addresses your specific priorities and protects you and the land. Continue reading

PPT Farm Interns EmployeesI recently had the opportunity to give a presentation on the legal issues involved in mentoring new farmers or using “internships” on your farm. Such arrangements have become particularly prevalent for small retail farms – those selling vegetables, meat, or value added goods directly to consumers through farmers markets, food coops, or community supported agriculture (CSA).

The below powerpoint was developed for the Women, Food & Agriculture Network’s “Harvesting Our Potential” mentor training. Continue reading