Agricultural Law for Iowa and Missouri

Monthly Archives: April 2015

Hog CAFOIn 2011, Missouri adopted a “right to farm” law (Missouri Revised Statute 537.296), which precludes recovery of non-economic damages caused by a nuisance that emanates from property used primarily for agriculture. This law effectively means that neighboring landowners are limited to recover the reduction in the fair market value for their property and any expenses for medical conditions resulting from the nuisance. Neighbors may not recover for non-economic damages, such as loss of use and enjoyment, inconvenience, or discomfort caused by a nuisance. Nuisances commonly associated with agricultural uses stem from confined animal feeding operations, or CAFO’s. Continue reading

The federal government has in recent years demonstrated an increased propensity for bringing criminal charges against farmers and food producers who violate food safety regulations. Cantelope farmers in Colorado received probation after introducing adulterated fruit and most recently, Quality Egg LLC, the company owner, and a top executive were sentenced in federal court in Sioux City, Iowa. The owner of Quality Egg LLC, Jack DeCoster, and his son, Peter DeCoster of Clarion, Iowa, were each sentenced to serve three months and fined $100,000.  The company was fined $6.79 million and placed on probation for three years. Continue reading

farm leaseLike many states, Missouri law provides different rules in terminating a lease of agricultural land.  Farming operations require planning several months or more in advance. Recognizing this fact, state laws often require greater notice before a landlord cannot terminate the farm tenancy. The notice requirements in Missouri will, however, depend on the specific characteristics of the lease arrangement. Continue reading

Iowa Corn Residue

Iowa law gives farm lease tenants the right to remove crop residue, unless otherwise agreed to in writing.

Farm leases are a special creature with several unique requirements that don’t apply to other leases. This is particularly true in Iowa.  A farm lease is a contract, but it is also a conveyance of a real property interest that transfer rights of possession and use. The extent of these rights, however, depends on the terms of the lease contract and on state law. In 2010, the Iowa legislature adopted Iowa Code Section 562.5A, a statute betowing ownership of any above-ground portion of a plant to farm tenants, unless the parties agreed to a different arrangement in writing. This includes corn-stalks, stover, or any other residue from the plant. The details of the Iowa crop residue law are examined in an earlier post. Continue reading