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When a partner sells or exchanges his partnership interest, the partner generally recognizes a capital gain or loss on the sale. The exception to this rule is where the amount received by the partner is attributed to unrealized receivables or inventory.

The Kansas Supreme Court recently overruled long-standing case law and declared that the assumption of the risk doctrine is no longer a complete bar to recovery in a farm employee’s personal injury action against an employer.

In re Woods, No. 12-1111, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2960 (10th Cir. Feb. 19, 2014), rev'g. bankruptcy court opinion and B.A.P. opinion reported at 65 B.R. 196 (B.A.P. 10th Cir. 2012)

The Iowa Court of Appeals recently settled a neighborhood dispute, ruling that all neighbors had the right to use a roadway that was designed to benefit the neighborhood.

The Iowa Court of Appeals has affirmed that a mall owner owed no duty to its customers to remove snow and ice from sidewalks where a “continuing storm” did not provide the owner with a “reasonable opportunity” to remedy the condition.

Medicaid is the joint federal/state program that pays for long-term health care in a nursing home. A Medicaid recipient must meet numerous eligibility requirements but, in short, must have a very minimal level of income and assets.  State law typically allows the state Medicaid agency to file a claim in a deceased Medicaid recipient’s estate to recoup Medicaid benefits paid during the recipient’s lifetime, and also authorizes a statutory lien to the extent of Medicaid benefits paid.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled that 31 U.S.C. Sec. 330 does not grant the IRS authority to regulate tax return preparers. In so finding, the Court of Appeals affirmed the January 18, 2013, District Court for the District of Columbia decision analyzed here.

The IRS has reconfirmd that changes in business structure won't  necessarily accelerate installment payment of federal estate tax. Read Roger McEowen's legal brief on this subject below.

A federal district court in the Northern District of Iowa recently allowed two breach of contract claims to survive summary judgment in an action brought by two Iowa hog producers against a Minnesota meat processing company.

February 4, 2014 | Roger A. McEowen

On January 31, the U.S. House passed H.R. 2642, the “Agricultural Act of 2014” on a 251-166 vote.

The Tax Court has invalidated part of IRS Pub. 590, ruling that the one-year rule applicable to a taxpayer's ability to make a nontaxable rollover contribution to an IRA is not specific to any single IRA of a person, but applies to all of that person's IRAs. 

A recent federal case from the Middle District of Pennsylvania highlights the importance of carefully negotiating and reviewing terms within conservation easements so as to fully protect landowners’ interests.

A magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the District of Oregon has recommended vacating consent judgments entered into between two blueberry growers and the United States Department of Labor (DOL). 

In a third appellate decision for the same case, the Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled that a homebuilder was excused from substantial performance and was entitled to foreclose its mechanic’s lien against a partially-completed home.  

A residuary beneficiary was a big winner after the Iowa Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s total invalidation of a will on undue influence grounds.

An Idaho federal district court recently issued a preliminary injunction preventing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“the Corps”) from enforcing a 40-year-old regulation restricting the possession of loaded firearms and ammunition on Corps-administered property.

The Iowa Court of Appeals has found that a member of an LLC was not personally liable for the debt of the LLC, even though the lender contended that it had extended credit to a partnership and not to the LLC.

The Iowa Court of Appeals recently affirmed a district court ruling granting property owners title to an adjacent strip of land through adverse possession.

The defendants were the plaintiff’s son and daughter-in-law.  In 1999, the defendants acquired a six-acre tract adjacent to the plaintiff’s farm that she owned with her husband. The tract was land-locked and zoned for agricultural use only. 

The doctrine of res judicata prevents parties from re-litigating issues and claims that a court has already decided.  In addition, the evidentiary doctrine of judicial notice allows judges to accept as true certain facts without the need for the parties to present evidence supporting those facts.

January 17, 2014 | Erika Eckley and Roger McEowen

An Iowa statutory provision, known as the recreational use statute, provides an incentive for landowners to open up their property to entrants for recreational purposes by removing the common-law duties that landowners owe to lawful property entrants.  Recreational users are generally treated as adult trespassers – the landowner only owes recreational entrants a duty to refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring them.  However, a recent opinion of the Iowa Court of Appeals, which has been affirmed and expanded by the Iowa Supreme Court, has invalidated the Iowa recreational use statute in

The Iowa Court of Appeals recently decided that a landowner was entitled to a prescriptive easement for a fence erected on land owned by the adjacent landowner. The court ruled, however, that his prescriptive easement did not cover anything more than the fence line and that he had not established a new boundary by acquiescence. 

The Iowa Supreme Court has reaffirmed the extensive reach of the Iowa Medicaid recovery program, stressing the Medicaid program’s “broad purpose” of “providing for care for those in need” and “allowing for recovery by the state” to free “more funds for the provision of future services.”

Forty-three senators have strongly denounced OSHA’s attempt to regulate on-farm grain storage facilities, seeing it as an effort by OSHA to make an “end-run” around statutory law exempting family-run farms from OSHA regulations.

A federal district court for the Eastern District of Washington has kept alive a lawsuit filed by seven environmental groups alleging that the BNSF Railway Company has violated the Clean Water Act (CWA). 

We begin 2014 with our annual look at the most significant agricultural law developments of the previous year. Legal issues continue to be at the forefront of developments that are shaping the present and future of American agriculture, and it is very likely that the involvement of the legal system in agriculture will continue to grow. The following is my list of what I view as the top ten agricultural law developments of 2013 based on their impact (or potential impact) on U.S. agricultural producers and the sector as a whole.

In 2011 the IRS introduced Form 8949, and Schedule D became a summary document for the overall gain or loss of transactions reported on Form 8949. 

The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that a financial advisor can owe a legal duty of care to a specifically identifiable beneficiary of a client’s estate plan if that financial advisor’s negligence causes the beneficiary to lose an intended inheritance.

While admitting some “judicial discomfort” with undue influence claims in general, the Iowa Supreme Court reaffirmed that a plaintiff need only prove an undue influence claim by a “preponderance of the evidence,” rather than by a “clear and convincing” standard. 

The Death Master File (DMF) is a computer database file made available by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). The DMF, which includes more than 86 million records created from SSA payment records, contains the social security number, name, date of birth, and date of death of each decedent for which the SSA has a record. 

A California court of appeals has held, in a case of first impression, that the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), 7 U.S.C. § 6501 et seq., precludes private state law claims involving organic certification and labeling of organic products. This preemption, the court found, ensures national consistency in the production and labeling of agricultural products as “organic.”

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has ruled that manure spread by a farmer as fertilizer onto his fields was not a “pollutant” subject to exclusion from coverage under his farm owners’ insurance policy.

December 31, 2013 | Roger McEowen

Well, 2013 expired without tax legislation that would extend expiring provisions and without a Farm Bill. 

In Clawson v. State, No. 108-426, 2013 Kan. App. LEXIS 105(Kan. Ct. App. Dec. 20, 2013), the Kansas Court of Appeals determined that Kansas law does not allow the Chief Engineer of the Kansas Department of Agriculture's Division of Water Resources to reconsider an approval once a water appropriation permit has been issued.

In Schaefer v. Putnam, et al., No. 12-0064, 2013 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 128 (Iowa Sup. Ct. Dec. 13, 2013), the Iowa Supreme Court interpreted the mandatory mediation requirements of Iowa Code § 654A.6(1) and held that compliance by farm creditors with the law is a jurisdictional prerequisite for filing a foreclosure action against “agricultural property.”  

In a recent decision, the Iowa Supreme Court unequivocally held that “landownership in Iowa is not accompanied by the right to hunt on one's own land.” The Court reasoned that the legislature had extinguished any such right that may have existed at common law.

Throughout a five-year period, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a salvage yard operator five notices of violations of Iowa Code chapter 455B relating to water quality, solid waste, and hazardous conditions.

A major U.S. energy company has entered into a settlement with the federal government for criminal violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for killing protected species of birds at its wind power station near Casper, Wyoming. 

In what could broaden an insurer’s duty to defend Illinois livestock producers in odor lawsuits, an Illinois appeals court has rejected an insurer’s denial of coverage to hog confinement operators pursuant to a standard “pollution exclusion” provision in an umbrella liability policy.

November 1, 2013 | Roger McEowen

With the number of days that the Congress will be in session the remainder of the year dwindling away, it is looking more likely that there won’t be a new Farm Bill.  The Senate passed its bill last June (S. 954) and the House passed their bill in September (H.R. 2642).

A recent federal court opinion has upheld the exemption for agricultural stormwater discharges from the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirement.  The case involved a West Virginia confinement poultry operation where the EPA was claiming a federal permit was necessary for discharges of chicken dander when mixed with rainwater. 

Regulations have been proposed that would change fees for installment payment agreements and offers to compromise.  The new fees would be applicable beginning in 2014.  To see the proposed changes: Installment agreement table.pdf

In a recent case, a taxpayer sued the IRS after the IRS used information on the taxpayer’s return to open an FBAR investigation under 31 U.S.C. §5314. 

October 1, 2013 | Roger McEowen

House and Senate conferees continue attempts to hammer out a Farm Bill.  The present Farm Bill was extended by the ATRA provisions to September 30, 2013, and has since expired.

September 24, 2013 | Christopher R. Barondeau* and Roger A. McEowen**

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) has finalized rules calling for mandatory labels indicating a meat's country of origin and production steps. The new rules, effective May 23, 2013, call for additional requirements concerning mandatory country-of-origin labeling (“COOL”) for meat products.

September 23, 2013 | Roger McEowen

Two people have been indicted by the federal prosecutors in Indiana for allegedly defrauding people by supposedly providing "government certified top-quality biodiesel."

September 3, 2013 | Roger McEowen

In mid-September the IRS issued Final Regulations designed to give guidance on how to draw the line tax-wise between currently deductible repairs and maintenance expenses that have to be capitalized.

August 29, 2013 | Roger McEowen

Beginning in 2007, a new credit is available for persons that enter into qualified arrangements with a "beginning farmer." This provision can have the potential to entirely eliminate Iowa tax for individuals that lease farm property to a beginning farmer for several years. The attachment explains the new credit with an example of its potential benefit: Iowa Beginning Farmer Tax Credit.pdf

It is not uncommon in farm estates for a particular child that has an interest in farming to be given an option to acquire the farmland at a particular value upon the death of the last of the parents.  Many times, these option agreements are contained in wills that were drafted years ago and set an exercise price that is much lower than current fair market land values.  That price difference can create tension between the on–farm heir and the off-farm siblings.  To make matters worse, sometimes those option agreements are only oral.  That only increases the potential for future litigation,

August 19, 2013 | Roger McEowen

An emblement is a crop growing on the leased premises, and the “doctrine of emblements” gives the tenant (or the tenant’s estate) rights to the growing crop if the land is sold or the tenant dies before the crop is harvested.  The doctrine of emblements may also be involved when the landlord dies during the term of the lease and a growing crop exists.  Entitlement to the crop is fairly clear when the landlord owns a fee simple interest in the leased land – the landlord’s heirs succeed to the landlord’s share of the crop.  However, if the landlord owns less than a fee simple interest in the