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On June 3, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the EPA’s conditional registrations for three dicamba-based herbicides: XtendiMax (Bayer, formally Monsanto), Engenia (BASF), and FeXapan (Corveta, formally DuPont). National Family Farm Coalition v. EPA, No. 19-70115 (9th Cir.

Update: The President signed this bill into law on June 5, 2020.

May 29, 2020 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On May 29, 2020, Katie Kramer and Justin Muir, agricultural program specialists from the Iowa USDA-FSA office, and ISU agricultural economist Chad Hart joined us for a webinar on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The panel reviewed eligibility information and the application process for the new program and answered a number of producer questions.


Please join us for a free webinar on Friday, May 29, to review the CFAP application process.

On May 13, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued an opinion concerning the award of attorney fees in a farm lease dispute. The court found the contractual attorney-fee clause of a farm lease allowed attorney fees to be awarded to the prevailing party, but this amount did not include the fees incurred after a settlement offer.


Update: Late on May 13, Treasury extended the deadline for repaying a PPP loan without review from May 14 to May 18.


Update: On May 13, 2020, SBA and Treasury issued additional guidance providing a safe harbor and extending the dealine for returning a loan to May 18.

Note: On May 4, SBA began accepting applications for EIDL advances from agricultural businesses only.

It’s official. The President signed H.R. 266, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, into law today. This law provides another opportunity for some small businesses, including agricultural producers, to get in line for a potential loan to help them through the next few months.


Late on April 30, 2020, IRS issued Notice 2020-32, stating that no deduction is allowed for an expense that is otherwise deductible if the payment of the expense results in forgiveness of a covered loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

On April 29, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s ruling finding a classification of property to be residential rather than agricultural. The court found the primary use of the property was not agricultural and the property owner did not have a genuine intention to profit.  

On April 29, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued an opinion concerning an insurance company’s alleged breach of contract with a hog farmer. The court concluded that the farmer’s equipment was damaged by a power surge, but that the electrical system for the buildings was not harmed by a power surge. The court also modified the loss-of-income award to be within policy limits.


The question before the U.S. Supreme Court was whether the Clean Water Act requires a permit when pollutants originate from a point source but are conveyed to navigable waters by a nonpoint source, in this case, groundwater. Many had hoped the Court’s answer to this question would clarify longtime ambiguity under the CWA. But given the complexity of the issue, that was not to be.


The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued a decision in a key case involving competing claims by a secured lender and a grain elevator over the costs of storing and drying the grain. The April 17, 2020, case--MidWestOne Bank v. Heartland Co-op, No.


A bankruptcy court recently ruled in a Chapter 12 case that federal and state taxing authorities do not have the right to offset a refund with tax debt stripped of its priority by 11 U.S.C. § 1232. This was a court’s first opportunity to rule on this question since the passage of the Family Farmer Bankruptcy Clarification Act of 2017.

April 20, 2020 | Kitt Tovar

On April 15, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed a defendants’ motion for quiet title on the establishment of a new boundary line. The court found the two neighbors treated a row of culverts as the boundary line for a period of more than ten years, thereby creating a boundary by acquiescence.

April 18, 2020 | Kristine A. Tidgren

Late Friday, April 17, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the creation of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

On April 15, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a breach of contract case brought by a subcontractor against a business owner and his LLC to collect for work done during a building remodel. The court ruled that the district court incorrectly pierced the veil of the LLC and imposed personal liability on the LLC owner.

On April 15, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a ruling finding a boundary by acquiescence and denying damages for a trespass claim. Because previous adjoining landowners treated a cement seam as the boundary line for more than ten years, they created a new boundary through the doctrine of boundary by acquiescence. Although determining that a new boundary was created, the court ruled that the prevailing landowner presented insufficient evidence of trespass damages.

On April 15, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals reversed a jury verdict in favor of plaintiffs in a breach of contract action against their contractor. The court ruled that the plaintiffs did not complete the required terms and conditions under the contract and that further performance by the contractor was excused.

President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law on March 27, 2020. This economic stimulus package included provisions providing financial relief to individuals, businesses, as well as the agricultural industry. The Act provides nearly $49 billion to producers, nutrition assistance programs, and rural development programs under USDA jurisdiction. While we are still waiting for details on how these programs will be implemented, this post provides a general overview of the new USDA programs.

The CARES Act created three temporary unemployment programs: the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. These programs are 100% federally funded through a voluntary agreement between individual states and the Department of Labor. With federal guidance issued by the Department, we have more information on how these programs are to be implemented.

April 15, 2020 | Kristine A. Tidgren

In an effort to provide relief to businesses struggling because of the COVID-19 crisis, the CARES Act unraveled several of the provisions enacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to generate revenue. Several of these key changes were to net operating loss provisions, opening the door for some taxpayers to recover fairly immediate refunds if they act quickly.

Update:On April 24, Congress replenished PPP funds and made farmers eligible for EIDLs.

On April 9, 2020, IRS issued Notice 2020-23, which significantly expands the deadline relief for filings and payments earlier provided through Notices 2020-18 and 2020-20.

Update: On April 24, Congress replenished the PPP fund. Additional guidance was also provided: Congress Authorizes More Funds for PPP and EIDL and Says Farms Can Apply

April 3, 2020 | Guido van der Hoeven (Updated)

Farmers, like other business owners, may deduct “ordinary and necessary expenses paid . . . in carrying on any trade or business.” IRC § 162.  In agriculture, these ordinary and necessary expenses include car and truck expenses, fertilizer, seed, rent, insurance, fuel, and other costs of operating a farm. Schedule F itemizes many of these expenses in Part II. Those properly deductible expenses not separately listed on the Form are reported on line 32. Following is a summary of several key expense deductions for farmers.

April 1, 2020 | Kitt Tovar

On March 18, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a ruling regarding a boundary-line dispute. The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of the plaintiff’s petition to quiet title because the plaintiff failed to meet his burden for either adverse possession or boundary by acquiescence.

April 1, 2020 | Kitt Tovar

On March 20, 2020, the USDA approved the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s hemp plan for the State of Iowa. IDALS will publish the official notice that the USDA accepted Iowa’s state plan in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin on April 8th. This means that farmers are much closer to being able to grow hemp in Iowa during the 2020 season. It does remain illegal to grow, possess, buy or sell hemp in Iowa until official notice is published in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin (April 8) AND the grower has received a license from IDALS.

On March 13, 2020, President Trump announced all student loan interest would be suspended due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the United States. On March 27, 2020, the President signed the CARES Act into law. Intended as an economic stimulus package, this law has several important changes for federal student loan borrowers.

On March 27, 2020, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling finding that two plaintiffs who voluntarily dismissed their agricultural nuisance claims a second time were liable to the defendants for costs and expenses.

Update: On April 9, 2020, IRS issued Rev. Proc. 2020-24, providing guidance to taxpayers with net operating losses that are carried back under the CARES Act.

March 25, 2020 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Senate has been discussing provisions contained in what's being called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act or Phase 3 Coronavirus legislation. The proposal would include $2 trillion of spending. Full text of the legislation has not been publicly released, but Chairman Grassley from the Senate Finance Committee has released a summary of provisions under consideration.

March 23, 2020 | Kristine A. Tidgren

In a March 22, 2020, Proclamation of Disaster Emergency related to the COVID-19 crisis, the Iowa Governor temporarily suspended foreclosures of residential, commercial, and agricultural real property.

Update: The Department of Labor has created a webpage devoted to this new law.

Update: On March 24, IRS issued a Q & A addressing many questions unanswered by the Notice.

Update: After Iowa issued its notice, the IRS issued a notice extending the filing deadline for federal returns to July 15.

Update: On March 20, 2020, the IRS superseded this notice with Notice 2020-18. An automatic extension now applies to payments AND tax return filings otherwise due on April 15, 2020.

March 18, 2020 | Kristine Tidgren

Eligible producers and crop share landlords should finally begin receiving interim payments from the Syngenta settlement this month. On February 28, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas authorized the claims administrator to make interim payments to class members that have:

On March 16, 2020, the Eastern District of North Carolina issued a ruling on another North Carolina nuisance case against the swine integrator, Murphy-Brown. The federal judge ruled North Carolina’s Right to Farm law barred the nuisance claim because the plaintiff failed to bring the claim within one year of the operation’s establishment or fundamental change. The judge also found that the statute of limitations barred the plaintiff’s negligence claim.

On February 24, 2020, IRS issued proposed regulations, REG-100814-19, to address the deductibility of food and beverage expenses in light of the disallowance of entertainment expenses under IRC § 274(a)(1)(A) by the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA).

While the number of people employed in the agricultural industry has dropped significantly during the past century, many farms still employ family members, migrant workers, and full-time employees.

February 25, 2020 | Kristine Tidgren

On February 21, IRS issued a long-awaited revenue procedure, IRS Rev. Proc. 2020-13, to allow farmers who had elected out of UNICAP prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to revoke that election if they qualify as a small business taxpayer.

February 21, 2020 | Kristine Tidgren

With filing season well underway, IRC §199A (Section 199A) has been generating a lot of questions, particularly with respect to patrons of agricultural and horticultural cooperatives. Below we discuss several common issues.


On February 19, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals denied a beneficiary’s request to invalidate a September 2018 court order approving a plan to make property distributions and then terminate a family farm trust

A married couple created an irrevocable trust and placed farmland into the trust. The parents named their three children as beneficiaries. The trust originally provided for terminating distributions once the three children reached fifty-five years of age.

On February 5, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals found that trustees of a drainage district improperly annexed and reclassified land into their district. The ruling affirmed the district court's order vacating the annexation.

February 6, 2020 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On January 23, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army signed the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), a rule that defines “waters of the United States” or the jurisdictional scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

On January 23, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a ruling finding that cash gifts given by the husband’s parents while the couple was married constituted divisible property during their later divorce. The court found that the gifts were made to the couple with the intent to keep the farm in the family.

It’s always good to get answers to unresolved questions, and it’s even better when the answer provides good news. IRS recently provided such an answer in PMTA 2020-01, posted to the IRS website on January 15.  In this memo, the Office of Chief Counsel answered an important lingering question we’ve had since 2018:

January 6, 2020 | Kitt Tovar

On December 18, 2019, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a ruling on several evidentiary issues concerning a farming accident. The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decisions.

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