May 2019

May 2019

Iowa Supreme Court Says Condemnation of Farmland for Dakota Access Pipeline was Constitutional

 In a case of significant import to Iowa property owners, the Iowa Supreme Court today ruled that the use of eminent domain for the Dakota Access pipeline was not an unconstitutional taking under either the Iowa or U.S. Constitutions.  In Puntenney v. Iowa Utilities Board, No. 17-0423 (Iowa May 31, 2019), the Court also held that the Iowa Utilities Board (Board) acted within its discretion in determining that the pipeline would promote the “public convenience and necessity.”

This case concludes a four-year struggle by landowners challenging the creation of a 343-mile crude oil pipeline across Iowa. The pipeline, which was completed in May of 2017 at a cost of $4 billion, runs diagonally through Iowa, passing through many acres of Iowa’s best farmland. The pipeline, which can carry up to 450,000 barrels of oil per day, transports the crude from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to a refining station in Illinois. While most impacted Iowans ultimately signed voluntary easement agreements with Dakota Access, LLC, the private Texas company constructing the pipeline, others did not. Their land was condemned, and the pipeline was built.

Continue reading here.

USDA Announces 2019 Market Facilitation Program

THE USDA announced on May 23, 2019, that there will be a second Market Facilitation Program in 2019. This comes on the heels of the $12 billion MFP program implemented in 2018. The USDA announcement states that the administration is allocating up to $16 billion for the 2019 program, with up to $14.5 billion of that money used for direct payments to producers. These payments, of course, are intended to compensate U.S. farmers for harm flowing from the ongoing trade dispute with China. The remaining money will purchase surplus commodities affected by trade, and the Food and Nutrition Service will distribute those commodities to food banks, schools, and other groups serving low-income populations.

Continue reading here.

Texas Court Finds that 2015 Clean Water Rule Violated APA

On May 28, 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas determined that the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when they promulgated the final Clean Water Rule in 2015. This rule—frequently referred to as WOTUS because it defines “waters of the United States” subject to Clean Water Act jurisdiction—has been the subject of litigation since its inception. Rather than vacate the Rule, the Texas court sent it back to the agencies. The court also continued its September 12, 2018, injunction preventing the agencies from applying the Rule in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Continue reading here.

Save the Dates!

We are excited to host a July 18-19 seminar focused on hot agricultural tax, business, and transition planning issues, including:

  • Tax considerations when converting from one entity to another,
  • Difficult issues impacting 2018 returns on extension
  • Tax Planning for 2020
  • Tax Issues Arising When Disaster Hits the Farm
  • Tools for resolving and avoiding family disputes stemming from  wills, trusts, and closely-held farming corporations, 
  • New regulations impacting cooperatives and their patrons (if released),
  • Tax issues arising during financial distress and bankruptcy,
  • Best practices and legal considerations for transitioning a farm to the next generation, and 
  • Key Iowa tax changes impacting small businesses.

The seminar will be live at the ISU Alumni Center or online. We are planning to run a video stream for this live webinar. For a detailed agenda and list of speakers, click here! We hope you'll join us!


Donate to CALT

As you know, our work at the Center is dependent on the fees generated by seminar registrations and gifts. If you would like to donate to further the Center's efforts, please contact our Program Administrator, Micki Nelson at or (515) 294-5217. You can also give online with a credit card. We thank you for your generous support.

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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