A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.

Judicial: Land Use, Urbanization, Secured Transactions, 

N. Dakota Farm Bureau, Inc. v. Stenehjem, No. 1:16-CV-137, 2018 WL 4550391 (D.N.D. Sept. 21, 2018);

On June 2, 2016, the Plaintiffs initiated this declaratory judgment action challenging the constitutionality of Chapter 10-06.1 of the North Dakota Century Code. The Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on August 17, 2016. On January 1, 2017, the Court entered an order allowing Farmers Union and the DRC to intervene as Defendants.
Chapter 10-06.1 is officially known as the Corporate or Limited Liability Company Farming law (“Corporate Farming Law”). The Corporate Farming Law was originally enacted in 1932 as an initiated measure.   In its original form, the Corporate Farming Law prohibited corporations from owning farm or ranch land or engaging in the business of farming or agriculture. Since 1932, the law has been amended a number of times and it now permits a number of exceptions to the general rule prohibiting corporate farming. Chapter 10-06.1 “is rooted in the desire to preserve rural agricultural land for use by family farmers” by making unlawful, with some exceptions, corporate farming and corporate ownership of farms as well as farming and ownership of farms by limited liability companies.
The Plaintiffs specifically challenge N.D.C.C. § 10-06.1-12 (“the family farm exception”) which provides an exception for family farms to the general ban on corporate farming if the shareholders or members do not exceed fifteen in number, are family members within a specified degree of kinship, and meet other specified requirements. The family farm exception was added to the Corporate Farming Law in 1981. The Plaintiffs contend the family farm exception is facially discriminatory and violates the Commerce Clause, the Privileges and Immunities Clause, and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Plaintiffs seek a declaration that the entirety of Chapter 10-06.1 is unconstitutional and an injunction prohibiting its enforcement.
The Court further ordered and declares that the State is permanently enjoined from enforcing or seeking to enforce Section 10-06.1-12 of the North Dakota Century Code in a manner which limits its application to only North Dakota corporations and limited liability companies, and must permit corporations and limited liability companies organized under the laws of other states to utilize the family farm exception, so long as they meet the other requirements of the current law which are not the subject of this litigation.
William E. Morrison & Sonya Morrison, Appellants-Respondents, v. Putnam Cty. Commissioners, Appellees-Petitioners, & Donald Richards, Appellee-Intervenor, No. 18A-PL-462, 2018 WL 4558339 (Ind. Ct. App. Sept. 21, 2018); The Putnam County Commissioners (the County) determined that the Appellants were in violation of a zoning ordinance that prohibits agricultural property from being used as a junkyard. The trial court granted an injunction and ordered the Appellants to dispose of the complained-of items.  The court did not find the state’s Right to Farm Act, as relevant because this was considered a common nuisance.
Heritage Bank, petitioner, Respondent, v. Gary D. Stortenbecker, Appellant., No. A18-0560, 2018 WL 4558321 (Minn. Ct. App. Sept. 24, 2018); Appellant borrower challenges the district court’s grant of respondent bank’s petition under Minn. Stat. § 583.27, subd. 7 (2016), to proceed with remedies as a secured-party notwithstanding the requirements of the Farmer-Lender Mediation Act (FLMA), Minn. Stat. §§ 583.20–.32 (2016 & Supp. 2017). Appellant argues that the district court improperly applied the Dahlberg factors in granting a temporary restraining order, erred in determining that he was ineligible for mediation under the FLMA, and erred in failing to recuse based on bias against appellant.
First Minnesota Bank as assignee of Sacor Fin., Inc., as assignee of Nat’l Credit Acceptance, Inc., Appellant, v. Richard Weller, Respondent., No. A18-0073, 2018 WL 4558312 (Minn. Ct. App. Sept. 24, 2018); Appellant argues the district court erred in determining that respondent’s real property was exempt from enforcement of a 2008 judgment based on stipulated facts establishing that, as of 2013, respondent owned and occupied the real property as his homestead. See Minn. Stat. § 510.01 (2016). Because respondent owned but abandoned the real property as his homestead in 2008, allowing the judgment lien to attach, and because existing precedent holds that a judgment lien is not defeated and execution of the judgment is not prevented by respondent’s subsequent occupancy of the real property as a homestead in 2013, court reverses.
Notice: Collection of Data, Section 12315 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-79) authorizes distribution out of the Agriculture Wood Apparel Manufacturers Trust Fund (“Agriculture Wool Trust Fund”) in each of calendar years 2014 through 2019, payable to qualifying claimants. Eligible claimants are directed to submit a notarized affidavit, following the statutory procedures specified Section 12314 (c) or (d) of the Act., Agriculture Wood Apparel Manufacturers Trust Fund, Info here
Notice: Section 508(f)(3) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1515); 7 U.S.C. 7333(b)(3); 7 CFR 457.8 and 7 CFR 1437.7(d) mandates the collection of acreage and production information from producers who wish to participate in certain USDA programs. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Risk Management Agency (RMA) are implementing the Acreage/Crop Reporting Streamlining Initiative (ACRSI), a web-based single source reporting system to establish a single reporting and data collection. Info here
Notice: Commodity Credit Corporation and Farm Service Agency, USDA., MFP provides payments to producers with commodities that have been significantly impacted by actions of foreign governments resulting in the loss of traditional exports. This NOFA announces the availability of MFP funds for eligible producers of shelled almonds and fresh sweet cherries and makes a correction to a previously issued NOFA published on August 30, 2018, with respect to MFP funds availability for hogs. On behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), the Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers MFP. MFP participants will receive an MFP payment, calculated based on the eligible production multiplied by the participant’s share multiplied by the MFP payment rate. Info here
Notice: Commodity Credit Corporation and Farm Service Agency, USDA., The NOFA announcing funds availability for hogs specifies that the date for which the owner reports the number of head of live hogs is August 1, 2018. It has come to our attention that the inventory on August 1 may not be representative of the operation’s inventory. For example, a producer may have sold a barnful of hogs a few days before August 1, resulting in reduced inventory and then purchased feeder pigs a few days later. To provide an option for those owners to participate in MFP, this NOFA is revising the requirement. Producers may select any day from July 15 through August 15, 2018, as the date for which the ownership is reported. Info here