Janzen Agricultural Law LLC

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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…
The struggles of the dairy industry have been widely covered by the farm press and national news organizations. Decreased fluid milk consumption, large dairy processor bankruptcies, small dairy exits, and the rise of plant-based alternatives are all causing headaches for the industry. But there is a bright spot. The demand for clean energy is causing a resurgence in interest in anaerobic digesters. Although digesters have been “on the horizon” for years, the economics never made…
Farm security means protecting the real property and the animals present at a farm. It involves proper animal care, screening and training employees, and physically hardening the farm’s boundaries. Now farm security also requires the use of and defense against high tech cameras, drones, and virtual reality. A recent Wired article followed several activists with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), a guerrilla animal liberation group founded in San Fransisco in 2013. The article recounts how a…
The Trump administration released its new Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) on January 23, 2020. The NWPR will be published sometime soon in the Federal Register, and then will take effect 60 days later. The NWPR will replace the Obama administration’s 2015 attempt to define Waters of the United States (WOTUS). First, remember that the NWPR will not affect jurisdictional determinations (JDs) issued under earlier regulations. The NWPR will only apply when those JDs expire…
Almost no one reads tech contracts (privacy policies, EULAs, terms of service, etc.) This fact has led tech providers to go overboard, creating long and complex agreements. This makes users even less likely to read the agreements, and bolsters the tech provider’s belief that no one cares about what they sign. It is an endless, shameful, cycle. However, this cycle breaks when something goes wrong and users start to ask questions. That’s what happened this…
I first read the article in Car and Driver, an automotive publication, which titled the story: “Midwest Farmers are Tired of Tech-Loaded Tractors They Can’t Fix.” As someoe that writes about agtech, this sort of Luddite-themed headline grabbed my attention. Are farmers really ditching new high-tech tractors for 1970s and 1980s models? The original Star-Tribune article explains why older equipment does appeal to some Midwestern farmers: The other big draw of the older…
I am fortunate to be a member of the AgriInstitute Agricultural Leadership Program (ALP) Class 18. At the end of February, we will travel to South Korea and Laos as the capstone to our two-year leadership program. We have spent the past two years traveling the state of Indiana to learn more about various agricultural industries, civic leadership, and rural economic development. We spent a week in Washington DC meeting with Senators, House Representatives, NGO…
Electrifying the Farm. In November, Elon Musk rolled out the electric Tesla Cybertruck, and though I am still uncertain how many of these we’ll see on the farm, I am certain we will see more electric equipment. The ag industry is long behind the automotive industry in delivering all-electric equipment. But that is slowly changing. Deere unveiled an electric tractor at Agritechnica, as well as an electric garden tractor. Fendt already sells an electric…
The headlines are jarring — livestock farms accused of mistreating the animals entrusted to their care. These headlines are sometimes accompanied by videos (staged or not) that are, quite frankly, difficult to watch. Farms can take certain steps to avoid being the target of the activist groups that use these undercover videos in an attempt to turn consumers against commercial livestock production. Image from DFA Proper employee training is the best way to protect against…