The first month of 2020 has been a productive one here at the Center. Between webinars, fact sheets, blog updates and more, Center staff have been hard at work furthering our mission of being the leading source in agricultural and food law research and information. Many of our latest resources and outreach efforts from the month of January are outlined below.

Preparing for a Crop Insurance Audit: Farmers who faced a difficult 2019 season may have relied on the federal crop insurance program to soften the blow. However, producers with crop insurance claims over $200,000 may be subject to a mandated crop insurance audit. To help producers prepare for these audits, we partnered with Peggy Kirk Hall and Chris Zoller from Ohio State University Extension to publish this bulletin.

Intestate Succession and Agriculture: In inheritance situations, title to property has passed from family members to their descendants through various methods, including intestate succession. A phrase often used to describe land that has been inherited by multiple people through the process of intestate succession is “heir property.” Heir property has continued to be a challenging problem for landowners that own real estate as tenants in common with other people. This publication outlines those concerns, discusses how the situation is created, and looks at possible solutions that some states are adopting to address this issue.

50-State Survey: Landowner Liability for Spray Drift: Although lawsuits related to drift generally sound in negligence, there are two additional potential claims that may arise in these cases: The first is whether the application of pesticides is considered inherently dangerous. The second relates to a claim of strict liability against those who apply pesticides. This publication, by Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, Agricultural Law Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Hannes Zetzche, a former NALC Research Fellow, includes a state-by-state survey, including citations, of what state courts have decided in regards to 1) whether pesticide application is inherently dangerous, and 2) whether strict liability is applicable in pesticide drift cases.

The Deal with Dicamba: Staff Attorney Brigit Rollins has begun her blog article series dissecting the various lawsuits concerning the chemical herbicide known as dicamba. The first two parts have already been released, discussing the many lawsuits, how they’re being handled and potential impacts the agricultural community could see. Find the first two editions here: Part One, Part Two

2020 Vision: Finding Clarity on Labor and Employment Risks in the New Year: Our most recent webinar discussed the rapidly changing landscape of agricultural labor. Brandon Davis and Nathan Huff, partners at Phelps Dunbar, joined us to go over recently issued guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on the definition of “agricultural labor,” for purposes of H-2A labor certification and FLSA wage and hour compliance, and how that has affected this highly active space. A recording of this webinar can be found here.

Blog posts:

Outreach

  • Center Director Harrison Pittman traveled to Washington D.C this month to speak on the role of the judiciary in the future of agriculture at the Farm Foundation 2020 Roundtable.
  • Harrison also presented on industrial hemp and wetlands issues at the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts’ annual meeting.
  • Senior Staff Attorney Rusty Rumley attended the Farm Journal Hemp Summit in Chicago, IL.