At the Farm Progess Show this summer, New Holland rolled out a new concept tractor that appeared mostly conventional but had one stand out feature--it runs on methane rather than diesel. My first impression when seeing this was--didn't we have this same concept 50 years ago?
Last week I testified before a US House Ag subcommittee about farmers' ag data privacy, transparency, and ownership concerns. Although not on the agenda, Congressional representatives repeatedly asked questions about how to bring rural broadband to US farmers. Considering the number of times this subject came up during the hearing, I thought it was worth a deeper look.
You just spent six figures on a new piece of farm equipment. Now you read the fine print and realize that you must also sign-up with the equipment manufacturer's cloud based data platform. You want the equipment, but not the proprietary data platform that comes with it. What do you do?
If you haven't heard from now, Monsanto has terminated its agreement to sell its Precision Planting division to John Deere. Only those inside these companies really know what led to the end of this agreement, but the press releases help us piece together what happened.
A number of poultry growers have filed suit against Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, and other poultry integrators alleging that growers’ production data was shared among integrators to depress the amounts paid to growers. This is the first case where farmers’ ag data is at the center of the lawsuit.
The past two weeks I attended two very different ag data conferences. The first was the Big Data Dairy Management conference held by the American Dairy Science Association. The second was AgGateway's annual conference. The audiences were different, but many of the issues were the same. Here are few of my reflections.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued its Federal Automated Vehicles Policy. Although this policy applies solely to on-road vehicles, CNH’s recent introduction of a concept autonomous tractor suggests that NHTSA’s policy may have agricultural implications too. This post takes a deeper look at NHTSA’s Automated Vehicles Policy.
The Indiana Court of Appeals recently affirmed that a northern Indiana feed and farm supply store can sue a Michigan man in Indiana court for unpaid seed bills. The Appellate Court ruled the court in LaGrange County has personal jurisdiction over Harold Walters, who lives just over the border in Michigan.
Livestock facilities must go through numerous steps in order to operate, including state permit approval and county siting approval. State permit appeals in Indiana are heard by the Office of Environmental Adjudication. Permittees may represent themselves before the OEA, but they do so at their peril.
Livestock facilities in rural areas may be considered "legal nonconforming uses" and therefore be exempt from new zoning ordinances. Indiana law, in particular, gives special protection to agricultural land uses.
"Pesticide drift" is not a new issue, but it has taken center stage this summer as we hear widespread reports of crops damaged by Dicamba. This post suggests the initial steps a farmer should take if they believe their crop has been damaged by another person's Dicamba use.
A major agriculture lawsuit is finally underway in South Dakota. The defendant is ABC Television; the plaintiff is Beef Products, Inc., a South Dakota meatpacker. The lawsuit centers on ABC's repeated use of the phrase pink slime to describe BPI's lean finely textured beef in March 2012. Five years ago, BPI sued ABC in a $1.9 billion defamation suit under South Dakota law.
Farms can be dangerous places. Most agricultural operations are in the full swing of a busy spring, which is a good time to review workplace injury protocol. Do you and your employees know what to do if someone is injured in the field or barn?
The Trump administration has made aggressively searching for and deporting undocumented immigrants (including farm workers) a priority. The first question farmers usually ask is what to do if an immigration officer shows up on the farm. I suggest the following steps:
The Illinois legislature has introduced a number of bills directed at the food and agriculture industries. Most of these proposed bills are intended to make life easier for agriculture. This post provides a rundown on the bills which could affect Illinois livestock, cottage food industries, fields, farmers markets, or agricultural businesses.
FSMA rules can apply to just about any entity in the animal or human food supply chain, from the producers to packagers to transporters and anyone in between. But do the new rules apply to typical grain elevators? In this blog post, I answer that question: usually no, because typical grain elevators are exempt from the most common FSMA regulations.
Let's say you want to expand your livestock operations, build a new manure storage structure, or start an agritourism business focused on beekeeping or growing hops. You know you have to complete a state application for such an operation, but what about the local level? Here are my tips for navigating the local zoning scene.
Poultry growers recently filed a federal lawsuit against Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, and other poultry integrators under the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Packers and Stockyards Act ("PSA"). The Growers alleged the integrators have shared data about the individual Growers without aggregating or anonymizing the information.
As of January 1, 2017, a new FDA regulation requires a veterinarian feed directive ("VFD") from a veterinarian be in place for all antibiotics administered to livestock in feed or water. How can you stay in compliance?
On December 22, 2016, the USDA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") with the Montana Beef Council ("MBC"). This MOU could affect other states' beef councils or qualified checkoff boards for other commodities.
A lawsuit in Montana grabbed the attention of checkoff boards across the country. R-CALF sued the Montana state beef checkoff council in May, asking a federal court to prohibit the council from spending federal checkoff dollars on advertising unless the state cattle producers paying the fees have agreed to it. A federal magistrate recently issued an opinion agreeing with R-CALF.
New GIPSA rules were announced on Tuesday. There are plenty of opinions out there criticizing and praising the regulations, but what do the new rules really say? And, with the incoming Trump administration, does it matter?
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down several Hawaii county ordinances limiting or altogether banning the use of pesticides and GMO products. The court held the local laws attempted to legislate an area already comprehensively covered by state or federal law and those local laws were preempted by state and/or federal laws.
A federal judge in Texas just issued an injunctive order halting the overtime rule nationwide. Judge Amos Mazzant issued a 20-page order preventing the rule from going into effect on December 1. The court wrote the injunction would preserve the status quo while the court considered the merits of the challenge to the overtime rule.
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump indicated he would gut the EPA and vastly reduce the number and scope of federal regulations. Now that Trump has been elected, what can we expect from his administration on the Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule that is currently in legal limbo?
Court of Appeals case asking the Court to overturn the EPA's new WOTUS rule. The groups argue the EPA violated the law in the way it promulgated the new WOTUS rule and ask the court to strike the rule in its entirety.
After years of legislative wrangling, rule-making, and extensive public feedback, the US Food and Drug Administration is finally implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FSMA authorizes new regulations for farmers who grow certain kinds of fresh produce and for certain facilities that process food. The Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption (known more commonly as the “Produce Rule”) can have an enormous effect on farmers.
Today's livestock farming frequently involves negotiating production contracts between owners and growers. These agreements should include dates, prices, standards, and statutorily required language, if applicable. Owners and growers can better their negotiating position by educating themselves about the provisions typically included in such a contract.
One of the most common agricultural agreements is the crop production contract. Each agreement will be different based on the parties, land, and risk allocation, but there are some common elements to include in any production contract.
The Packers and Stockyards Act is intended to ensure fair trade practices and competitive markets for livestock, meat, and poultry. It imposes requirements on swine growers and on the contracts between integrators and growers.
Many farmers have been there: a state or federal governmental body says that you have protected wetlands on your property. You can't farm that land. You can't take down the tree line dividing your field. Damage or fill in that wetland and you could be subject to criminal and civil penalties. So what is a farmer to do if he thinks the government is wrong, and his land is not a wetland? The Supreme Court's recent Hawkes decision provides guidance.
Hundreds of established and start-up companies are working on using big data and technology to trace food from farm to table. Who benefits from this boom? The question of who benefits from food traceability is related to the question of who is responsible for food safety. Is it the farmer? The processor? The packager? The transportation company? The retailer? The consumer? All of the above?