Janzen Agricultural Law LLC

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Real property law is probably the most antiquated of all legal subjects. Many legal subject matters have been through periods of modernization, when lawyers, judges, and legislatures worked together to update laws for the times. For example, commercial law was modernized in the 1950s when the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) was published as a model act. Most states subsequently passed legislation adopting this new framework for resolving commercial disputes. This not only replaced old common…
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed the controversial isolated wetlands bill into law on April 29, 2021. What, if anything, does that mean for agriculture? Senate Bill 389 originally would have repealed all state regulations for any isolated wetland. In its amended form, it is more nuanced. First, it is important to note that this state legislation does not change federal wetlands regulations, such as rules enforced by the Army Corps of Engineers or the Environmental…
In my last post, I discussed how unauthorized secondary uses of ag data, when collected for a different purpose, are privacy violations. This post looks at another concept from Professor Solove’s Taxonomy of Privacy—how “decisional interference” is a form of privacy violation. “Decisional interference” occurs when someone interferes with another person’s decision making through manipulative techniques, such as misleading content, obscuring relevant information, or mind games. Such interferences are a type of privacy violation. An…
Privacy as an idea seems simple. We all have an understanding of what privacy is and means.  Generally, most people probably consider privacy as the right not to disclose certain information. Blinds on your windows ensure visual privacy from neighbors—the right not disclose what happens behind the window to the outside world. But privacy is a much deeper concept than just the right not to disclose information.  This post digs into some of those nuances and how they…
I’ve written about Indiana’s enhanced trespass statute before. Activist groups continue to challenge what they call “ag gag” laws around the country, alleging the laws violate the First Amendment or the Equal Protection clause. This post provides a quick update on some of these lawsuits. The Indiana law applies a heightened safety standard to agricultural operations, just like we apply to dwellings. The law also created various damage thresholds that can increase the severity…
At a farmer meeting I attended recently, the hot topic was carbon reduction contracts. There was a lot of curiosity, confusion and skepticism among these farmers. Many questioned how the various offerings on the market work, whether these tools make financial sense, and whether farmers are better off holding out for more lucrative, future possibilities. Many questions involved questions about how “carbon credits” work. This post will explain more about carbon credits, who generates, verifies,…
Many landowners in the Midwest have been approached by a new kind of tenant. These days, a new lessee may ask for a lease term of 20, 30, or even 50 years. These companies are not cash rent farmers. They are solar companies. While a solar farm may not be appropriate for everyone, it can be an attractive option for the right land and the right company. As an owner of farmland, how do you…
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 virus stopping the world in its tracks, my mind wandered to more superficial things this pandemic has changed. Namely—how we litigate . Three big changes jump to mind. Here they are: Depositions. As part of a lawsuit, the parties engage in “discovery,” which is the process of sharing information with the other parties in the case. This includes producing documents, answering written questions, and eventually, taking…
The market is buzzing with carbon reduction platforms designed to pay farmers for following established carbon reduction protocols. Indigo Ag, ESMC, FBN, Bayer/Climate Corporation, Nori, and Nutrien are just some of the players in these new carbon reduction platforms for row crop and grain farmers. Livestock producers are also seeing changes in how they produce proteins driving by the buyers of these commodities. What all of these efforts have in common—they all rely on data…
On January 27, the Biden Administration signed new executive orders to address climate change. Unsurprisingly, the orders included language directed to preserve manufacturing jobs, move towards clean energy, build a modern infrastructure system, and focus on scientific evidence. For my purposes, that is all great news. However, more importantly for this article, Biden also signaled that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will play a key role in the Administration’s climate strategy. What might…