Iowa Resources

 

 

We have written detailed reviews of Iowa law impacting agricultural producers and landowners. Access these reviews by clicking on the tiles below. You can also review Iowa cases on a particular subject by searching our list of Iowa case law reviews at the bottom of this page.

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February 22, 2024 | Jennifer Harrington

On January 24, 2024, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s partition order. The judge ordered a hybrid partition, where a portion of the partitioned property would be sold, and the other portion given in-kind to one owner. The one receiving an in-kind share would also owe owelty payments to the other owners. The land was heirs property under the 2018 Iowa partition law, and the plaintiffs argued a hybrid partition was not allowed for heirs property.

On February 2nd, 2024, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed both the Court of Appeals and district court's finding that the injured plaintiff failed to bring forth evidence that the owner of a cow that caused an accident on Interstate 80 was negligent. The court made clear that an animal on the road is no longer prima facie evidence of owner’s negligence.

On January 10, 2024, the Iowa Court of Appeals held that the district court improperly considered extrinsic evidence when interpreting a will. The decedent’s will directed one farm property to be held in a trust and the other farm property be evenly divided between her three children. Based on the testimony of the scrivener of the will, the district court concluded that the testator intended both parcels to be placed in the trust. Because the will was not ambiguous, extrinsic evidence was inadmissible. Thus, the Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s order.

January 19, 2024 | Jennifer Harrington

Many landowners have land that borders a road. Iowa has specific laws about fences located within the right-of-way dating back to 1858.[i] A landowner can be told to remove a fence located within the highway right-of-way even if the right-of-way is established by easement. Unless the fence is an immediate and dangerous hazard, specific procedures need to be followed by the governmental agency before they can remove a fence and charge the owner for the removal costs.

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 November 21, 2023, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed that Iowa’s partition law did not apply to farmland owned by a trust. Iowa Code chapter 651 contains special provisions for the partition of “heirs property.” Because the farmland was not held in tenancy in common, the farmland did not qualify as “heirs property.” See Iowa Code § 651.1. 

On October 11, 2023, the Iowa Court of Appeals found that one brother failed to properly account to his brothers for the farming proceeds received while marketing organic crops. The two brothers lost their organic certification in 2015 and for the next two seasons enlisted their brother, Dietrich, to obtain the required certifications and market the crops. Eventually the two brothers sued Dietrich for an accounting and payment due, claiming their brother had a fiduciary duty to them.

On October 11, 2023, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the district court when it ruled that one owner of tenancy-in-common could not terminate a farm lease entered into by a life estate holder without the permission of the other co-owners. The court also affirmed that a co-executor could not terminate a farm lease during probate administration without the unanimous consent of the other co-executors.

After disagreements over the boundary line between two neighbors occurred, the plaintiffs brought this lawsuit alleging boundary by acquiescence and adverse possession. The trial court found that the plaintiffs had maintained the 8.5-foot strip of land and ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. On appeal, the court found that the plaintiffs only began maintaining the disputed area six years earlier when the defendants purchased the adjoining parcel. Because the plaintiffs did not meet the statutory ten-year requirement for either claim, the Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s ruling.

Beginning July 1, 2023, Iowa producers can sell raw milk within the state under certain conditions. SF 315 provides requirements for the production, sale, and testing of raw milk, raw milk dairy products, and raw milk products. Previously, only Grade “A” pasteurized milk and milk products could be sold. Iowa Code § 192.103 (2022). Before selling raw milk, producers should carefully consider the specific restrictions under the law and potential liabilities.

July 14, 2023 | Jennifer Harrington

On July 13, 2023, the Iowa Court of Appeals held that a soybean buyer repudiated the contract when it repeatedly delayed and prevented delivery of soybeans from the farmer. The contract did not specify a time of delivery, but customary practice created an implied term within the contract that prevented the buyer from delaying the delivery for more than five months. The farmer was allowed to sell to another buyer and no damages were owed to the original buyer.

A semi-truck collided with a cow standing on the interstate. The driver brought a negligence lawsuit against the livestock owner claiming that he suffered personal injuries and property damage. The district court determined that the driver failed to prove that the livestock owner breached a duty of care. On appeal, the court affirmed that there was insufficient evidence that the owner failed to use ordinary care to constrain the animal.

In a June 21 ruling, the Iowa Court of Appeals held that helping a neighbor get a downed heifer back on its feet is not a “domesticated animal activity” under Iowa Code § 673.1(3) and therefore Iowa Code § 673.2 does not provides liability immunity for the owner of the heifer. The court overturned the district court’s summary judgment dismissal and remanded the case back to district court.

The potential carbon dioxide pipeline projects in Iowa have created some controversy. One issue that has concerned some landowners is the statute granting companies proposing pipelines the right to access their land for a survey. Several recent cases addressing this issue have come before Iowa district courts.

To collect $106,898 of unpaid income taxes from the estate of Francis Glaser, the Iowa Department of Revenue (IDOR) sought to set aside Glaser’s predeath transfers of real estate to his friend. The Iowa Supreme Court held that fraudulent conveyances may only be voided to the extent necessary to pay the debts and charges of the estate. Iowa Code § 633.368. On remand, the friend argued that income taxes are not a debt of the estate. The Court of Appeals disagreed and found that the properties could be sold to satisfy the estate’s debts including IDOR’s claim. However, any remaining funds or unsold properties must be returned to the decedent’s friend.

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