Ag Docket Blog

In two separate lawsuits, several advocacy groups challenged Iowa’s Farm Trespass law and Trespass Surveillance statute. In both cases, a judge from the Southern District of Iowa previously held that the law violated the First Amendment and granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Reynolds, 591 F.Supp.3d 397 (S.D. Iowa 2022); Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Reynolds, 630 F.Supp.3d 1105 (S.D. Iowa 2022).

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals released two separate opinions on January 8, 2024, and reversed the district court’s decisions, ruling that both statutes passed intermediate scrutiny and were, thus, constitutional. The cases are Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Reynolds, No. 22-1830, (8th Cir. Jan. 8, 2024) and Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Reynolds, No. 22-3464 (8th Cir. Jan. 8, 2024).

January 11, 2024 | Kristine A. Tidgren

In early 2022, the Iowa Legislature passed HF 2317. This law reduced individual and corporate income tax rates, provided exemptions from Iowa tax for most forms of retirement income--including retired farmer rental income--and scaled back the Iowa capital gain deduction.

On December 21, 2023, IRS announced a Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP) through which eligible employers may repay 80 percent of the employee retention credit (ERC) to which they were not entitled and avoid civil litigation, penalties, and interest.

Update: On March 1, 2024, in the case of National Small Business United v. Yellen, No. 5:22-cv-01448 (N.D.

On September 8, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) published a revised definition of “waters of the United States” or WOTUS. 88 FR 61964. To conform with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Sackett v. EPA, 143 S. Ct. 1322 (2023) ruling, the agencies made various changes including the removal of the “significant nexus” standard and amending the definition of “adjacent.” The new rule went into effect September 8, 2023. Because the revision was required to make the Rule comply with the Sackett decision, no notice and opportunity for public comment was necessary.

On August 9, 2023, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed that a boundary by acquiescence was established between a farm and neighboring homeowner. The parties treated a fence as the boundary line for over ten years. Even though a homeowner later tore the fence down, the boundary line was still clearly marked from farming activities. Therefore, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s finding in favor of the plaintiffs.

A commercial fishing business harvested shrimp by dragging nets along the ocean floor. The nets would trap other marine animals in addition to the shrimp. The fishermen would throw this “bycatch” back into the ocean. A conservation group brought a citizen-suit under the Clean Water Act (CWA) claiming that the company violated the CWA by 1) disturbing the sediment when it dragged nets along the ocean floor and 2) throwing the bycatch back into state waters bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The district court granted the fishing company’s motion to dismiss. On appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the court affirmed.

Producers have until July 14, 2023, to apply for disaster relief under Phase 2 of the Emergency Relief Program (ERP Phase 2) or the Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP). The USDA recently extended the application deadline from June 2, 2023, to July 14, 2023.

On May 25, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court significantly narrowed the definition of “waters of the United States.” Sackett v. EPA, No. 21-454 (2023). This case marks a decided victory for the Sacketts, an Idaho couple who wished to build a house on property the EPA found to contain federal wetlands.

California’s Proposition 12 is here to stay...unless Congress decides to weigh in. On May 11, 2023, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the 2018 law forbidding the sale of whole pork meat that comes from breeding pigs “confined in a cruel manner” did not violate the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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