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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…
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…
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…
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.…
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…
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…
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…