Janzen Agricultural Law LLC

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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.…
While participating in a recent podcast hosted by United Soybean Board’s Tech Toolshed (Getting to know Ag Data Transparent), the host asked this question: What does data transparency mean? I asked a few industry leaders about what “data transparency” means to them. Billy Tiller, CEO of Grower Information Services Cooperation (GiSC) and Texas farmer: Transparency means that the farmer understands what is happening to their data. The farmer is a businessman and should…
On June 3, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the EPA registration of three dicamba herbicides: XtendiMax (Bayer), Engenia (BASF) and FeXapan (Corteva). Nat’l Family Farm Coalition et al. v. U.S. EPA, Case No. No. 19-70115 (9th Cir. June 3, 2020). After five long days of uncertainty, the EPA issued a cancellation order for the chemicals late on June 8, 2020. The agency will, however, permit growers and commercial applicators to use existing stocks of…
As someone who is immersed in legal issues related to data privacy and ownership, it should come as no surprise that I have a Google alert set up so that I get notified when a company uses the words “transparency” and “ag data” in a sentence. I get 2-5 emails per week, so there is still a lot of buzz in the industry surrounding ag data. What I observe from the email traffic is interesting.…
The National Farmers Federation of Australia has published a Farm Data Code to assist tech providers with development of policies for collection of agricultural data. The Australian Farm Data Code arrived nearly five years after the North America’s “Core Principles” for ag data, the Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data, so I thought it would be worth examining how these two documents compare, and whether Australian Farm Data Code is a refinement of North…
Contracts are being disrupted, cancelled, and breached because of COVID-19 and the economic ripples it has caused throughout the world. No one is exempt from this. For example, I am writing this blog from my cold basement office, where I’ve been holed up since mid-March. My kids are banging on the (locked) door and I’m thankful my headphones are noise-cancelling. But not all disruptions can be so easily cured with Beats by Dre. Animal…
Many contracts include a provision called “force majeure” (fancy term for “superior force”). Force majeure means unforeseeable circumstances that prevent a party from fulfilling its contractual obligations. This provision is often boilerplate language and rarely the cause of any great disagreement between parties when negotiating the agreement. But now, as COVID19 brings the world economy to a crawl, businesses and individuals should review their contract language to see whether a “force majeure” provision is triggered.…
The warnings are dire—the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) now poses a significant risk here in the United States. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. What can a farm or agricultural business do to prepare? Five ideas: Wash. Your. Hands. Obviously, make plenty of hand washing stations and/or sanitizer available to your employees. This includes in barns, offices, trucks, sheds, etc. Hand washing is one of…