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Latest from Schroeder Ag Law Blog

Most of a livestock farmer’s resources are walking around on two or four legs out in the barns or the pasture. Animals are crucial to our food supply and the focus of the show world. To give livestock the best chance of success—whether that is defined as the right looks, size, taste, health, strong genetics, or other—proper diet is necessary. We feed livestock many different inputs, from customized blends, to corn or hay, to commercial…
Dairy farms—and other livestock operations—can be a leader in the battle against climate change. Farmers have always been conservationists. Farmers take care of their land, in part because they rely on the land. Livestock farms are no different. Methane gas has been in the headlines lately, and for good reason. Methane, along with carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, are the three main greenhouse gases (GHGs). Anti-livestock media focuses on dairies and CFOs as being emitters…
The Supreme Court of Mississippi ruled in May 2021 that the state’s Right to Farm Act protected farmers’ use of cannons to scare deer away from fields where the farms had been in operation for more than one year. The case demonstrates, yet again, the usefulness of a Right to Farm statute to preserve agriculture in rural parts of the country. In Briggs v. Hughes, two farmers used propane cannons to deter deer from…
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 Senate Bill 389 originally would have repealed all state regulations for any isolated wetland.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…
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…
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…
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…
We are about one month away from a change in presidential administrations. The Biden administration will likely bring many obvious changes to the federal government, but will it impact whether the government has jurisdiction over ground or waters on your property? In other words, will the Biden government seek to change the definition of Waters of the United States (“WOTUS”)? In August 2015, the Obama administration’s WOTUS definition became effective. Less than two years later,…
Solar farms are the latest and hottest kid on the block when it comes to renewable energy in the midwest. As farmers are facing trade barriers, unpredictable weather, high land prices, and other financial challenges, the sun is proving to be an attractive source of revenue. There are questions about what should be included in a solar lease, which Todd posted on here, and I’ll write more on later. This post instead deals with…