December 2016

December 2016


2016 in Review: An Agricultural Law Summary

As we close out the year, we pause to review important developments in agricultural law from 2016. The year saw several notable rulings under the Clean Water Act,as well as the progression of several key Clean Water Act cases. Federal regulators unveiled new rules, and Congress passed legislation impacting producers and ag businesses. As always, the courts were busy and so were we. It seems likely that 2017 will be even busier as we track new legislation and rulemaking proposed by a new administration. The transformation of agencies key to agriculture, such as the USDA, the Treasury, and the EPA, mean big change ahead. We'll be here to keep you posted!

Clean Water Rule Sits Idle.

Since October of 2015, the embattled Clean Water Rule, which was finalized by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps Engineers on May 27, 2015, has been stayed nationwide. In other words, the agencies cannot use it.  The final Rule defines “waters of the United States” or those waters over which the federal government has Clean Water Act jurisdiction. The Rule, which identifies eight categories of “jurisdictional waters,” retained most of the provisions from its proposed form and added additional controversial provisions as well. Immediately upon publication of the Rule on June 29, 2015, the majority of states filed actions challenging the validity of the Rule. Industry groups also challenged the Rule.

Continue reading here.


Iowa Supreme Court Nixes Partition in Kind

The Iowa Supreme Court recently provided an excellent overview of the rules governing the partition of concurrently owned property in Iowa. In reversing a court of appeals decision ordering a partition in kind, the Court reiterated that Iowa law favors partition by sale. In the case before it, the Court ruled that the party seeking an in-kind division had not established that such a split would be both equitable and practicable.  

The parties were biological siblings (a brother and a sister) who owned two separate farm properties as tenants in common. In 2006, the parties received the Butler County “home place,” via inter vivos gift, from their parents. In 2011, the parties received a tract located in Hardin County through a testamentary gift from their biological aunt. The Butler County tract consisted of 315 acres, 115 of them tillable and the rest pasture and hay ground. The brother’s expert appraised the Butler County land at $929,000, and the sister’s expert appraised it at $1.2 million.

The Hardin County property consisted of 162.92 acres, of which 110 was tillable and the rest pasture. The brother’s expert appraised the Hardin County land at $778,000, and the sister’s expert appraised it at $620,000.

Continue reading here.


Iowa Cooperatives: Understanding Equity and Patronage

On December 20, 2016, we hosted Dr. Keri Jacobs, as she presented a webinar explaining important Iowa Cooperative concepts. Dr. Jacobs is an assistant professor and cooperatives extension economist in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University. The webinar addressed a number of questions including: How does a co-op make patronage allocation decisions? What does "equity redemption" mean? What are the systems co-ops use? What are the options a co-op has in making patronage allocation decisions (Qualified and Non-Qualified)? What role does DPAD play in the co-ops decisions? What are member-related implications in either choice?

The webinar is available for replay here.

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CALT does not provide legal advice. Any information provided on this website is not intended to be a substitute for legal services from a competent professional. CALT's work is supported by fee-based seminars and generous private gifts. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the material contained on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of Iowa State University.

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