Janzen Agricultural Law LLC

Janzen Agricultural Law LLC Blogs

Latest from Janzen Agricultural Law LLC

Wind power in my part of the world has become a very popular “clean” energy source for power companies. Wind power has also become very controversial, leading to highly contentious zoning fights at the county level. This article discusses three legal items for landowners to consider before signing an agreement to allow construction of wind turbines on their fields by a developer. Zoning. Large-scale wind turbine projects often become extremely contentious at the county level.…
As one farmer recently told me, “If we can’t make money grain farming, we might as well farm the sun.” Clean energy is hot on the farm, and its more than anaerobic digesters and windmills. Many farmers are being approached by solar energy developers who ask them to sign up acres of farmland for conversion into solar farms. These farmers are presented with very long-term leases that take farm ground out of production for decades.…
Last month, the Seventh Circuit overturned an injunction meant to halt an Indiana law which bans smokeable hemp. This puts the law back in play unless and until a more narrow injunction is entered. The 2018 Farm Bill removes hemp from the federal schedule of controlled substances and allows States to regulate hemp production based on a state or tribal plan. The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp to include “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and…
A reporter recently asked me if there are examples of ways in which new ag technologies can actually increase a farmer’s liabilities. As I thought about the question, I concluded usually the opposite is true—ag tech decreases risk by improving accuracy and efficiency, lessening unknowns. Autosteer is a great example. It was able to increase the precision of the tractor and therefore decrease fuel, seed, fertilizer and pesticide usage. Likewise, autosteer decreased the risk that…
Here in Indiana, can the government secretly record you and your family while you’re in the fields? A recent Farm Journal article on the “Open Fields” doctrine shines a light on this very practice in Tennessee. In short, several men noticed game cameras zip-tied to trees on their private property. The property was used for farming or hunting, and was clearly marked “NO TRESPASSING.” The cameras were unmarked, but the men learned the cameras had…
A recent Forbes article touts that “Carbon Labels are Finally Coming to the Food and Beverage Industry.”  The article cites examples from the UK and US where food packagers are voluntarily adopting and labeling their products with carbon rating.  For example, chicken breast might have a carbon score of 5.9kg CO2e/kg, while blueberries have a carbon score of 1.5kg CO2e/kg (Source: Quorn).  Carbon labeling advocates envision a world where all consumer products are labeled and buyers…
My dad, a retired Kansas farmer and cattleman, recently sent me an article about one startup company that hopes to release an army of small robots that go up and down row crop fields during the growing season, mowing any weeds in their path. I categorize this type of concept as “swarm farming”—the idea that many, small autonomous robots can perform the same task that today is done by large, farmer-driven machines. The big questions…
Sixty years ago today (July 7), Hugh Hammond Bennett died. He was the “father of soil conservation” and was instrumental in slowing the ravages of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. Through his work with the Soil Conservation Service (now the Natural Resource Conservation Service, or NRCS), he became convinced that soil erosion was a problem for farmers and for rural economies. Today, we take this connection for granted. In the 1930s, during the Dust…
You may have missed the release of a farmer survey about ag data during the middle of the first COVID-19 wave. In May 2020, an organization called Trust in Food, a collaboration of Farm Journal and The Sustainability Consortium, released the results of its survey of 393 farmers about their opinions on ag data collection, sharing and sustainability (Farmer Perspectives on Data). Here is a summary followed by some concluding thoughts. Of the…
The EPA is defending its decision to allow farmers and commercial applicators to use “existing stocks” of three Dicamba products (XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan) even though it recently cancelled the registration of those herbicides. On June 11, 2020, a group of plaintiffs sued the EPA and asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to order an immediate halt to all use of those products, arguing the EPA was violating the Ninth Circuit’s June 3, 2020 ruling.…