Search Our Online Library

Discover, read, and monitor a wealth of information on your topic from several different sources.

March 12, 2007 | Roger McEowen


September 10, 2007 | Roger McEowen


November 10, 2008 | Roger McEowen


May 8, 2009 | Roger McEowen


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. 

September 29, 2010 | Roger McEowen



March 21, 2012 | Roger McEowen
October 16, 2006 | Roger McEowen


March 10, 2008 | Roger McEowen


May 19, 2009 | Roger McEowen




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. 

October 5, 2011 | Erin Herbold-Swalwell


October 5, 2011 | Erin Herbold-Swalwell


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.

October 26, 2012 | Erika Eckley


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.

July 7, 2011 | Erin Herbold-Swalwell


October 5, 2011 | Erin Herbold-Swalwell



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.

July 5, 2010 | Erin Herbold


May 30, 2006 | Roger McEowen


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. 

June 13, 2006 | Roger McEowen



Many agricultural landowners have had to deal with stray dogs that harm livestock, and Iowa law provides the proper manner for shooting such dogs. But, what about dealing with stray dogs in town? State law and local town ordinances specify the procedure for private persons and peace officers to follow in dealing with strays. Failure to follow those procedures can lead to legal problems.