Agricultural Law for Iowa and Missouri

Ed Cox

Ed is an Associate Attorney at Orsborn, Milani, Mitchell & Goedken, L.L.P. Ed is licensed to practice law in Iowa and Missouri and is a Fellow at the Drake Agricultural Law Center. He lives in Centerville, Iowa with his wife and two daughters. Contact Ed at 515-856-3251.

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

FAA Rules Drones

The FAA is charged with the safety and regulation of civil aviation in the U.S.

As commercial uses for drones has grown, including those for agriculture, anticipation for new rules from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) governing the use of drones has also increased. This week the FAA released proposed rules that, once implemented, will allow businesses to use drones for commercial purposes.

FAA Administrator, Michael Huerta, said, “We have tried to be flexible in writing these rules. We want to maintain today’s outstanding level of aviation safety without placing an undue regulatory burden on an emerging industry.”

Commercial uses are likely to include Real Estate photography and videography, inspection of powerlines and pipelines, rescue operations, wildlife monitoring, and farming.  Drones may serve many uses for agriculture Continue reading

Putting aside the many political controversies surrounding gun rights and the right to carry firearms, there are many practical as well as recreational purposes for having firearms on a farm.

There are, however, a number of ways a person may lose their right to possess firearms, as well as ammunition, regardless of the type of gun or the purpose for which it is used. These reasons may include felony convictions, the placement of a restraining or no contact order, and, in some cases, a history of substance abuse.

Below are steps that may be of assistance in restoring rights to possess firearms. This can be a complicated and long process. The information provided here is for informational purposes only and not a replacement for consultation with a licensed attorney. Continue reading

The Iowa Legislature recently enacted the Iowa Uniform Power of Attorney Act (IUPAA). The Act became effective law on July 1, 2014 and codified in the Iowa Code under Section 633B. The IUPAA greatly expands the state law governing the use of powers of attorney. A primary purpose for the enactment is to prevent abuse by individuals exercising authority under a power of attorney and to help ensure finances and estate plans are not misused or altered to benefit the recipient of a power of attorney. Continue reading

Landowner liability for on-farm visitors and Iowa’s recreational use statute received a great deal of attention in 2013. In the Sallee v. Stewart opinion the Iowa Supreme Court addressed several distinct issues in Iowa’s recreational use statute, which limited the reach of the protections offered by the statute. This raised significant concerns from landowners, insurers, and others.  The Iowa Legislature quickly reformed the statute, attempting to expand protection and clarify what activities are included as “recreational.” (Iowa Code Section 461C (2014)).

The discussion below is intended to provide some guidance on the current state of Iowa’s Recreational Use Statute – discussing issues that have been clarified by the recent ruling and corresponding legislation as well as raising issues that remain ambiguous. Continue reading

As most landowners and farmers are aware, Iowa’s farm lease termination statute, Iowa Code Section 562.5, requires written notice of termination of a farm lease by September 1. For most of the statute’s history it has only applied to leases involving more than 40 acres. In 2013 the Iowa legislature amended the law, making it applicable to nearly all farm leases, regardless of size. This amendment has received little press and many landowners and tenants may not be aware of this important change. Continue reading