Agricultural Law for Iowa and Missouri

Easements

County Road Bridge

As increasingly large farm equipment exceeds the capacity of county roads, disputes over easements increase.

Missouri Courts recently addressed issues relating to the increase in size and weight of farm equipment and resulting problems accessing farmland. As equipment gets larger and heavier, existing easements and roads that have been used for decades often become inadequate to allow farmer’s access to fields.

In Westrich Farms, LLC v. East Prairie Farm, LLC, a landowner’s tenant could no longer use a county road to access the farm because his large equipment exceeded the weight limits for a bridge on the county road that ran to the farm and had previously been used.  The issue for the court to decide was whether the landowner could establish a private road across his neighbor’s farm due to the county road becoming inadequate. 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