June 2016

June 2016

Iowa Farm Leases - A Legal Review

As of 2012, Iowa had 88,637 farms. Of those, 40 percent were farmed under a cash rent lease, and 7.1 percent were farmed pursuant to a crop share lease. Given these numbers, it is crucial that Iowa landowners and producers understand the legal implications and requirements of their farmland leases.

A lease is a contract under which a right to use and occupy real property is conveyed. A farm lease is a binding legal contract, whether or not that lease is reduced to writing. To ward off disputes over agreed-upon terms, it is very important that those terms be put into writing, signed by both parties. The writing should be definite and certain and should include all of the terms the parties wish to enforce. The parties to the lease should not execute side agreements or additional promises separate and apart from the written lease. These agreements are difficult to prove and can lead to expensive litigation. Likewise, if parties choose to modify their lease, they should always record those modifications in writing.

To continue reading or to print this comprehensive fact sheet, please click here.

Ground Control, We Have a Rule

On June 21, 2016, the FAA issued its long-awaited final rule, 14 CFR part 107 (Part 107), for integrating small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the U.S. airspace.[i] Part 107, which changed little from the proposed rule issued in February of 2015, paves the way for the widespread use of small commercial unmanned aircraft.  The new rule, which will be effective August 29, 2016, is good news for agriculture.

In the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-95, Sec 336), Congress directed the FAA to develop and submit a comprehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace by September 2015. Part 107, while a year late, accomplishes this directive.

Part 107 was needed because under current law, any aircraft not meeting the definition of “model aircraft” must be registered, granted an airworthiness certificate, flown by a licensed pilot, and given operational approval. These regulations applied to small unmanned aircraft flown for commercial purposes, essentially prohibiting their use. In early 2015, FAA did begin streamlining a special exemption process to allow some commercial UAS to begin flying. The Section 333 exemption process (authorized under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act) allowed for the granting of special permission for applicants to commercially fly small UAS on a case-by-case basis.

Continue reading here.

Vermont Driving Push for Federal GMO Labeling Law

Barring unexpected immediate Congressional action, Vermont Act 120, the nation’s first mandatory GMO labeling law, will go into effect tomorrow. What does this mean for the rest of the nation? Most likely it means that we will have federal GMO labeling legislation in place by at least year-end .

The new Vermont law requires all food produced from “an organism in which genetic material has been changed” to be labeled. If that food is sold by a retailer, an “easily found” label must state, “Produced entirely or in part by genetic engineering,” as the case may be. The law excludes food sold by restaurants, as well as alcoholic beverages, meat, milk, and eggs, as long as those foods are not combined with other genetically-engineered (GE) ingredients. The law requires GE labeling for raw agricultural commodities, as well as processed foods where the GE material comprises more than .9 percent of the total weight of the food.

Continue reading here.


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CALT 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. CALT'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.

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