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In early 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that even though a pesticide complies with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the pesticide is not exempt from the Clean Water Act’s permitting requirements. As a result, the court invalidated an EPA regulation made final in late 2007, with the impact of the court’s ruling broadening the potential application of the CWA to agricultural activities.
An easement by prescription is an implied easement that is granted when someone has used at least a portion of someone else’s property in an open and uninterrupted manner for a continuous period of time – 10 years in Iowa. In order to establish a prescriptive easement, the person claiming the easement exists must provide strict proof of the following: using another’s property under a claim of right, openly, notoriously, continuously, and in a hostile manner (in opposition to the claim of another) for ten years.
In a recent Iowa case, the perils that can fall on beneficiaries who fail to fully inform themselves of their rights, the problems that can arise when a trustee doesn’t pay attention to actions concerning the trust, and the harsh effects of a statute of limitations all collided to create a perfect storm of interests that even a spendthrift clause ultimately could not protect.
Numerous cases have occurred over the years involving the provision of care for an individual in return for some sort of inheritance. In the farm context, such an arrangement often involves an on-farm heir or a farm tenant. In all cases, however, it is best to get any understandings down in writing so that expectations are clear and the possibility of a lawsuit can be minimized. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in this case.
A unanimous Supreme Court has ruled that a company does not automatically gain market power, for antitrust purposes, merely because it holds a patent on a product and ties to it the sales of another product that is not patented. Instead, the Court opined that the challenger in such a case must actually prove that the patent holder has market power in the tying product. The Court’s opinion is an important one for agriculture given the tremendous increase in the patenting of seeds in recent years.
Crop dusting is an important practice in many regions of the country. While it does pose certain liability risks (spray drift and accidents just to name a couple), it is an economical way to apply chemicals to relatively larger fields. Also, the federal government may have jurisdiction over crop dusting activities, as this case points out.
Here, Monsanto sued a farmer for patent infringement for planting the progeny of protected seed. The federal trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Monsanto, and the farmer appealed.
The road to peaceful coexistence can sometimes get bumpy. The Iowa Supreme Court recently tried to smooth a rough patch between a County and a religious community. The Court ruled that a county ordinance adopted to protect the county’s newly paved roads violated the Constitution’s Free Exercise Clause contained in the First Amendment. The ordinance prohibited steel wheels from being used on roadways in the county.
A “right of first refusal” to purchase farmland by a tenant under a farm lease agreement is typically enforceable if the farm lease is properly drafted and a correct legal description of the land is set out in the written lease agreement. But, care must be taken to make sure the wording of the right is clear. This case demonstrates the need for the parties to an ag lease to seek the help of an attorney in drafting farm lease agreements containing such a provision.
Lying and converting property is never a good thing to do. It is especially a bad idea to do it against the interests of the federal government as one Iowa farmer has discovered.
The Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation 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. The Center'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.