Friday, June 11, 2021

The “Dormant” Commerce Clause and Agriculture

Overview

Much environmental legislation and regulation restricting private land use activities is created pursuant to the commerce clause of the United States Constitution.  Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution provides in part, “the Congress shall have Power...To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations and among the several states, and with the Indian Tribes.”  But, there’s also something known as the “Dormant” Commerce Clause.  What is it and how is it relevant to agricultural law and policy?

The Dormant Commerce Clause – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Background

The Dormant Commerce Clause cannot be found in the Constitution. It is a judicially-created doctrine that several U.S. Supreme Court Justices don’t believe in and that special interests groups have utilized to achieve an outcome in the courts that they could not obtain in state legislatures.  In essence, the doctrine has been used to create law where there is none with the result of a further expansion of the federal government into what should be purely a state matter.  The outcome is that elected state legislators are stripped from establishing policy for their own citizens.  For example, with respect to agriculture, this has been evident in the past couple of decades with respect to agricultural “checkoff” programs and anti-corporate farming laws 

So what is the “Dormant Commerce Clause”?  It is a constitutional law doctrine that says Congress's power to "regulate Commerce ... among the several States" implicitly restricts state power over the same area.  In general, the Commerce Clause places two main restrictions on state power – (1) Congress can preempt state law merely by exercising its Commerce Clause power by means of the Supremacy Clause of Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution; and (2) the Commerce Clause itself--absent action by Congress--restricts state power.  In other words, the grant of federal power implies a corresponding restriction of state power.  This second limitation has come to be known as the "Dormant" Commerce Clause because it restricts state power even though Congress's commerce power lies dormant. Willson v. Black Bird Creek Marsh Co., 27 U.S. 245 (1829).  The label of “Dormant Commerce Clause” is really not accurate – the doctrine applies when the Congress is dormant, not the Commerce Clause itself.

Rationale.  The rationale behind the Commerce Clause is to protect the national economic market from opportunistic behavior by the states - to identify protectionist actions by state governments that are hostile to other states.  Generally, the dormant Commerce Clause doctrine prohibits states from unduly interfering with interstate commerce.  A recent example on this point is the California legislature enacting Proposition 12 specifying how laying hens are to be raised in other states if those producers want access to the California market. 

The U.S. Supreme Court has developed two tests to determine when state regulation has gone too far.  Under the first test, states are generally prohibited from enacting laws that discriminate against interstate commerce.  City of Philadelphia v. New Jersey, 437 U.S. 617 (1978).  Under the second test, the Court balances the burden on interstate commerce against the state's interest in its regulation. Kassel v. Consolidated Freightways Corp., 450 U.S. 662 (1981).

The Court has never held that discrimination between in-state and out-of-state commerce, without more, violates the Dormant Commerce Clause.  Instead, the Court has explained that the Dormant Commerce Clause is concerned with state laws that both discriminate between in-state and out-of-state actors that compete with one another, and harm the welfare of the national economy.  Thus, a discriminatory state law that harms the national economy is permissible if in-state and out-of-state commerce do not compete.  See, e.g., General Motors Corp. v. Tracy, 117 S. Ct. 811, 824-26 (1997). 

Conversely, a state law that discriminates between in-state and out-of-state competitors is permissible if it does not harm the national economy. H.P. Hood & Sons, Inc. v. Du Mond, 336 U.S. 525 (1949).  That was the basis for the court’s decision in the California Proposition 12 case mentioned above.  In that case, National Animal Meat Institute v. Becerra, 825 Fed. Appx. 518 (9th Cir. 2020), aff’g. sub. nom., National Animal Meat Institute v. Becerra, 420 F. Supp. 3d 1014 (C.D. Cal. 2019), Proposition 12 established minimum requirements on farmers to provide more space for egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and calves raised for veal. Specifically, the law requires that covered animals be housed in confinement systems that comply with specific standards for freedom of movement, cage-free design and minimum floor space. The law identifies covered animals to include veal calves, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens. The implementing regulations prohibit a farm owner or operator from knowingly causing any covered animal to be confined in a cruel manner, as specified, and prohibits a business owner or operator from knowingly engaging in the sale within the state of shell eggs, liquid eggs, whole pork meat or whole veal meat, as defined, from animals housed in a cruel manner. In addition to general requirements that prohibit animals from being confined in a manner that prevents lying down, standing up, fully extending limbs or turning around freely, the measure added detailed confinement space standards for farms subject to the law.

Under Proposition 12, effective January 1, 2022, all pork producers selling in the California market must raise sows in conditions where the sow has 24 square feet per sow. The law also applies to meat processors – whole cuts of veal and pork must be from animals that were housed in accordance with the space requirements of Proposition 12. The plaintiff challenged Proposition 12 as an unconstitutional violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause by imposing substantial burdens on interstate commerce “that clearly outweigh any valid state interest.” The trial court rejected the challenge, finding that the plaintiff failed to establish that the law discriminated against out-of-state commerce for the purpose of economic protectionism. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed. The appellate court determined that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the plaintiff was not likely to succeed on the merits of its Dormant Commerce Clause claim. The appellate court also stated that the plaintiff acknowledged that Proposition 12 was not facially discriminatory, and had failed to produce sufficient evidence that California had a protectionist intent in enacting the law. The appellate court noted the trial court’s finding that the law was not a price control or price affirmation statute. Similarly, the appellate court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in holding that Proposition 12 did not substantially burden interstate commerce because it did not impact an industry that is inherently national or requires a uniform system of regulation. The appellate court noted that the law merely precluded the sale of meat products produced by a specific method rather than burdening producers based on their geographic location. 

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has been careless in applying the anti-discrimination test, and in many cases, neither of the two requirements--interstate competition or harm to the national economy--is ever mentioned.  See, e.g., Hughes v. Oklahoma, 441 U.S. 322 (1979). The reason interstate competition goes unstated is obvious – in most cases the in-state and out-of-state actors compete in the same market.  But, the reason that the second requirement, harm to the national economy, goes unstated is because the Court simply assumes the issue away.  Specifically, the Court assumes that discrimination between in-state and out-of-state competitors necessarily harms the welfare of the national economy, making the second requirement superfluous.  The Court simply assumes that free competition among rational economic actors will necessarily improve the national economy.  In other words, the Court assumes that individuals can have no impact on the results of the market, and that the rational pursuit of individual self-interest will result in society being better off.  But, this is an incorrect assumption – and it’s the primary reason for the existence of anti-trust laws, including the Packers and Stockyards Act, and the real reason behind why, historically, some states have taken action to enact corporate farming laws. 

For example, assume that Mary goes to the grocery store to buy steak for Sunday dinner.  Mary will evaluate the information that is available in the marketplace by comparing the prices of the different brands along with her perception of their various qualities.  Based on her analysis, she will decide which steak product to buy.  Price and quality are set by the market, and Mary does not act strategically – she does not take into account any future behavior of the meat department manager or the supplier.  However, the purchasing agent for the grocery store who buys meat from suppliers not only considers price and quality, but also the supplier’s future behavior.  The purchasing agent will want to know whether the supplier is likely to breach a contract with the grocery store which would result in empty shelves and lost sales.  If a breach is anticipated, the purchasing agent may refuse to deal with the supplier regardless of price and quality.  So, the purchasing agent will act strategically by considering how the supplier is anticipated to behave.  The outcome is that Mary may not actually be getting the best deal that she otherwise could. 

Economic theory has a blind spot for strategic behavior – it does not address situations in which people anticipate another’s future conduct.  It simply assumes that free competition among rational actors will be efficient.  But, the presence of strategic behavior undermines that assumption.  That’s where the legal system comes in - to establish appropriate legal rules to provide incentives or disincentives for appropriate economic conduct.   

Application

So what does all of this mean?  Why is this relevant?  The application is that, in some cases, states act strategically.  That is, they act in response to the anticipated behavior of other states.  In these situations, it is incorrect for any court to build economic assumptions about free competition into its Dormant Commerce Clause anti-discrimination test.  In these cases, state discrimination between in-state and out-of-state competitors may actually improve national welfare.

With that much said, in recent years, the most conservative Justices on the Supreme Court have argued for the complete elimination of the dormant Commerce Clause.  Former Chief Justice Rehnquist, and former Justice Scalia as well as the most senior member of the current Supreme Court, Justice Thomas, believe that not only is there no textual basis for the Dormant Commerce Clause, but that it actually contradicts, and therefore directly undermines, the Constitution's carefully established textual structure for allocating power between federal and state governments. In a dissent joined by Rehnquist and Scalia, Justice Thomas concluded: "The negative Commerce Clause has no basis in the text of the Constitution, makes little sense, and has proved virtually unworkable in application.”  Camps Newfound/Owatonna, Inc. v. Town of Harrison, 117 S. Ct. 1590, 1615 (1997).

How would the Court rule on a Dormant Commerce Clause case if it were to have one?  Who knows?  But, using the Dormant Commerce Clause to strike down state legislation impacting agriculture, would lead to an expansion of the federal government, a reduction of the role of state legislatures to set policy for their citizens and a further push down the path of globalization.  See McEowen, Roger A., South Dakota Amendment E Ruled Unconstitutional – Is There a Future for Legislative Involvement in Shaping the Structure of Agriculture?, 37 Creighton Law Review, 285 (2004).  The recent inclusion by the current Administration of including a provision in federal legislation purporting to provide economic relief from the virus barring states from using the funds to enact tax breaks at the state level is an example of the expansion of the power of the federal government over states. 

In a 1932 dissenting opinion, Justice Brandeis sounded a warning that remains true today.

“To stay experimentation in things social and economic is a grave responsibility. Denial of the right to experiment may be fraught with serious consequences to the nation. It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country. This Court has the power to prevent an experiment.  We may strike down the statute which embodies it on the ground that, in our opinion, the measure is arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable…. But, in the exercise of this high power, we must be ever on our guard, lest we erect our prejudices into legal principles…”.  New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262 (1932)

Conclusion

The Dormant Commerce Clause is something to watch for in court opinions involving agriculture.  As states, enact legislation designed to protect the economic interests of agricultural producers in those states, those opposed to such laws could challenge them on Dormant Commerce Clause grounds. This is one of those legal theory issues that is “floating” around out there that can have a real impact in the lives of farmers and ranchers and how economic activity is conducted.  

June 11, 2021 in Regulatory Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 5, 2021

The FLSA and Ag’s Exemption From Paying Overtime Wages

Overview

Agricultural law is often “law by the exception.”  One of those areas of exception involves the exemption from paying overtime wages to workers engaged in agricultural employment.  Recently, a federal court issued a decision involving the issue of whether transporting field workers for non-work related activities was within the exemption. 

The scope of the exemption for paying overtime for agricultural employment – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The FLSA (29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq.) requires that agricultural employers who use 500 man-days or more of agricultural labor in any calendar quarter of a particular year must pay the agricultural minimum wage to certain agricultural employees in the following calendar year. Man-days are those days during which an employee performs any agricultural labor for not less than one hour.  The man-days of all agricultural employees count in the 500 man-days test, except those generated by members of an incorporated employer's immediate family.  29 U.S.C. § 203(e)(3).  Five hundred man-days is roughly equivalent to seven workers working five and one-half days per week for thirteen weeks (5.5 x 7 x 13 = 501 man-days). 

Under the FLSA, “agriculture” is defined to include “among other things (1) the cultivation and tillage of the soil, dairying, the production, cultivation, growing and harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural commodities; (2) the raising of livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals, or poultry; and (3) any practices (including any forestry or lumbering operations) performed by a farmer or on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with such farming operations, including preparation for market, delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market.”  29 U.S.C. § 203(f). For related entities, where not all of the entities involve an agricultural trade or business, the question is whether the business operations are so intertwined that they constitute a single agricultural enterprise exempt from the overtime rules.  See, e.g., Ares v. Manuel Diaz Farms, Inc., 318 F.3d 1054 (11th Cir. 2003).

Wage Requirement

The minimum wage must be paid to all agricultural employees except: (1) members of the employer's immediate family, unless the farm is incorporated; (2) local hand-harvest, piece-rate workers who come to the farm from their permanent residences each day, but only if such workers were employed less than 13 weeks in agriculture in the preceding year; (3) children, age 16 and under, whose parents are migrant workers, and who are employed as hand-harvest piece-rate workers on the same farm as their parents, provided that they receive the same piece-rate as other workers; and (4) employees engaged in range production of livestock. 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(6).  Where the agricultural minimum wage must be paid to piece-rate employees, the rate of pay for piece-rate  work must be sufficient to allow a worker reasonably to generate that rate of hourly income.

The FLSA requires covered employers to compensate employees for activities performed during the workday.  But, the FLSA does not require that compensation be paid to employees for activities performed outside the workday such as walking, riding or traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the employee’s principal activity, and for activities which occur before and after the employee’s principal activity.  On the question of whether an employee is entitled to compensation for time spent waiting at stations where required safety and health equipment is distributed, donned and doffed, and traveling to and from these stations to work sites at the beginning and end of each workday, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such activities are indispensable to an employee’s principal activity and are, therefore, a principal activity itself. However, the Court ruled that unless an employee is required to report at a specific time and wait to don required gear, the time spent waiting to don gear is preliminary to the first principal activity of the workday and is not compensable unless compensation is required by the employment agreement or industry custom and practice. See, e.g., IBP, Inc. v. Alvarez, et al., 546 U.S. 21 (2005). See also De Asencio v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 500 F.3d 361 (3d Cir. 2007), cert. den., sub nom. Tyson Foods, Inc., v. De Asencio, 128 S. Ct. 2902 (2008).

Overtime.  The FLSA requires payment of an enhanced rate of at least one and one-half times an employee’s regular rate for work over 40 hours in a week.  However, an exemption denies persons employed in agriculture the benefit of mandatory overtime payment.  29 U.S.C. §213(b)(12).  The 500 man-days test is irrelevant in this context. In addition, there are specific FLSA hour exemptions for certain employment that is not within the FLSA definition of agriculture.

The 1977 “strawberry” amendment allows an agricultural employer who is required to pay the federal agricultural minimum wage to apply for an administrative waiver permitting the employment of children of others, ages 10 and 11, outside of school hours and for not more than eight weeks in the calendar year. 29 U.S.C. § 213(c)(4). Applicants for the waiver must submit objective data showing a crop with a short harvesting season, unavailability of employees ages 12 and above, a past tradition of employing younger children, and the potential of severe economic disruption if this work force is not available.  In addition, the applicant must demonstrate that the level and type of pesticides and other chemicals used will not have an adverse effect on the health or well-being of the individuals to whom the waiver would apply.  Compliance with adult field worker standards will not necessarily satisfy this requirement.

Recent Case

In Ramirez v. Statewide Harvesting & Hauling, No. 20-11995, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 15215 (11th Cir. May 21, 2021), aff’g., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 235412 (M.D. Fla., Sept. 30, 2019), the defendant, a fruit-harvesting company, employed primarily temporary foreign guest workers as H-2A harvest workers.  As such, the defendant was required to provide housing (and housing amenities) and meals (or free access to a kitchen).  The defendant provided cooking facilities rather than meals and contracted for crew leaders to transport the harvest workers to such places as grocery stores, laundromats and banks on a weekly basis.  Each trip took four hours, and the crew leaders were not paid overtime when they worked over forty hours in a week.  The defendant acknowledged that the crew leaders worked over 40 hours per week on occasion, but claimed that the crew leaders were engaged in “agricultural” employment and, as such, the defendant was exempt from paying overtime wages.  Both parties motioned for summary judgment. 

The federal trial court referred the motions to a magistrate.  The magistrate concluded that the defendant did not fall within the definition of a “farmer.”  The magistrate also determined that the transportation of the field workers did not involve work performed on a farm and that the trips were more than just a minor part of the workers job responsibilities.  While this indicated that that exemption would not apply, the magistrate recommended that time spent transporting the workers was exempt from the requirement to pay overtime wages because the defendant provided the transportation to be compliant with the H-2A program. 

The trial court determined that the activities of the crew leaders were not performed by a farmer.  As such, the transportation activities that occurred wholly off of the farm were not exempt from the requirement to pay the overtime wage rate of time and a half for the hours worked exceeding 40 hours per week.  29 U.S.C. §207((a)(1).   

The appellate court affirmed, finding that the transportation of the workers did not involve “farming.”  The appellate court also determined that the transportation activity did not constitute “secondary agriculture” because it wasn’t performed by a farmer or performed on the farm.  In addition, the appellate court concluded that the defendant was not a “farmer” because it did not “own, lease, or control” the farms or crops that the workers harvested.  See 29 C.F.R. §780.131The appellate court also determined that the defendant could not utilize the primary and secondary definition of “agriculture.”  The activity at issue did not occur on a “farm.” Thus, because the activity of the crew leaders in transporting the field workers to town and back was not performed on a farm or by a farmer, the appellate court affirmed the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. 

Conclusion

Agriculture often has special rules that apply in the context of the law, including tax law.  The overtime exemption under the FLSA is just one of those unique areas.  But, to use the rule for agriculture, one must satisfy the applicable definitions. 

June 5, 2021 in Regulatory Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 1, 2021

The Agricultural Law and Tax Report

Overview
 
Starting Monday May 3, I am hosting a daily 2-minute program, The Agricultural Law and Tax Report on farm radio stations nationwide and on SiriusXM 147.  The purpose of each report is to educate farmers and ranchers and rural landowners on the unique legal and tax issues that they are often faced with.  Each program explains what the law is on a particular topic, and how actual court cases and IRS rulings have been decided based on that law, and what the application is to a farming or ranching operation.
 
Topical Coverage
 
Some of the topics that I will address include:
 
Contract Issues - (auction sales; farm leases; hunting leases; grain and livestock sale contracts; types of clauses to protect the farmer-seller; remedies if there is a breach).
 
Ag Financing Issues - (collateral issues; rules governing lenders and farm borrowers; foreclosure issues and Farmers’ Home (FSA); redemption rights for farmland; agricultural liens).
 
Agricultural Bankruptcy - (Chapter 12 farm bankruptcy issues).
 
Farm Income Tax - (handling USDA/CCC loans; government payments; crop insurance proceeds; pre-paying expenses; deferred payment contracts; commodity trading income; easement payments; crop and livestock share rental income).
 
Real Property Issues - (fences and boundaries; buying and selling farmland; recoveries from settlements and court judgments (such as the Roundup litigation, etc.)).
 
Farm Estate Planning - (types of title ownership; disruption of family farm if there is no will or trust; planning approaches to facilitate keeping the farm in the family; federal estate tax planning; gifting of farm assets; treating off-farm and on-farm heirs fairly).
 
Liability Issues - (food product liability issues (labeling and disparagement laws); liability for trespassers and others on the property; trespassing dog laws; nuisance law; employer's responsibility for farm employees; animal diseases; fence laws).
 
Criminal Law Issues - (what can the government search without a warrant; cruelty to animal laws; government programs and criminal liability; environmental liability for farmers and ranchers).
 
Water Law Issues - (types of water law systems; use of surface water for crops and livestock; use of subsurface water; boundary disputes).
 
The initial sponsor is First State Bank headquartered in Lincoln, NE.  If you are interested in also becoming a sponsor, please let me know.
 
Many thanks to John Mellencamp and Sony Music Publishing Co. for the "bumper" music that accompanies each show. And...special thanks to Donn Teske.
 
Check with your local farm radio station to see if they are carrying The Agricultural Law and Tax Report. If not, please call your local station and request it, and let me know
 
My hope is that you find the show profitable for your farming business, rural practice, and your local rural community.

May 1, 2021 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 19, 2021

Ag Law and Taxation - 2016 Bibliography

Overview

Today's post is a bibliography of my ag law and tax blog articles of 2016.  Earlier this year I have provided bibliographies for you of my blog articles for 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017.  This now completes the bibliographies since I began the blog in July of 2016.  At the end of 2021, I will post a lengthy blog article of all of the articles published through that timeframe. 

The 2016 bibliography of articles – it’s the subject matter of today’s post.

BUSINESS PLANNING

Treasury Attacks Estate and Entity Planning Techniques With Proposed Valuation Regulations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/08/treasury-attacks-estate-and-entity-planning-techniques-with-proposed-valuation-regulations.html

Using an LLC to Reduce S.E Tax and the NIIT

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/09/using-an-llc-to-reduce-se-tax-and-the-niit.html

IRS Audit Issue – S Corporation Reasonable Compensation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/10/irs-audit-issue-s-corporation-reasonable-compensation.html

Rents Are Passive, But They Can Be Recharacterized - And Grouped (Sometimes)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/11/rents-are-passive-but-they-can-be-recharacterized-and-grouped-sometimes.html

Tribute To Orville Bloethe

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/12/tribute-to-orville-bloethe.html

CIVIL LIABILITIES

Registration of a Pesticide Doesn't Mean It Might Not Be Misbranded

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/07/registration-of-a-pesticide-doesnt-mean-it-might-not-be-misbranded-.html

Death of Livestock In Blizzard Was a Covered Loss by “Drowning”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/08/death-of-livestock-in-blizzard-was-a-covered-loss-by-drowning.html

FIFRA Pre-Emption of Pesticide Damage Claims

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/08/fifra-pre-emption-of-pesticide-damage-claims.html

Agritourism Acts, Zoning Issues and Landowner Liability

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/09/agritourism-acts-zoning-issues-and-landowner-liability.html

The “Agriculture” Exemption From The Requirement To Pay Overtime Wages

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/09/the-agriculture-exemption-from-the-requirement-to-pay-overtime-wages.html

The Scope and Effect of Equine Liability Acts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/09/the-scope-and-effect-of-equine-liability-acts.html

What’s a Rural Landowner’s Responsibility Concerning Crops, Trees and Vegetation Near an Intersection?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/12/whats-a-rural-landowners-responsibility-concerning-crops-trees-and-vegetation-near-an-intersection.html

CONTRACTS

Some Thoughts on Production Contracts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/10/some-thoughts-on-production-contracts.html

CRIMINAL LIABILITIES

Prison Sentences Upheld For Egg Company Executives Even Though Government Conceded They Had No Knowledge of Salmonella Contamination.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/07/prison-sentences-upheld-for-egg-company-executives-even-though-government-conceded-they-had-no-knowledge-of-salmonella-contam.html

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

Registration of a Pesticide Doesn't Mean It Might Not Be Misbranded

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/07/registration-of-a-pesticide-doesnt-mean-it-might-not-be-misbranded-.html

FIFRA Pre-Emption of Pesticide Damage Claims

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/08/fifra-pre-emption-of-pesticide-damage-claims.html

Air Emissions, CWA and CERCLA

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/08/air-emissions-cwa-and-cercla.html

Are Seeds Coated With Insecticides Exempt From FIFRA Regulation?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/12/are-seeds-coated-with-insecticides-exempt-from-fifra-regulation.html

ESTATE PLANNING

The Situs of a Trust Can Make a Tax Difference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/07/the-situs-of-a-trust-can-make-a-tax-difference.html

Treasury Attacks Estate and Entity Planning Techniques With Proposed Valuation Regulations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/08/treasury-attacks-estate-and-entity-planning-techniques-with-proposed-valuation-regulations.html

Common Estate Planning Mistakes of Farmers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/09/common-estate-planning-mistakes-of-farmers.html

Staying on the Farm With the Help of In-Home Care

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/10/staying-on-the-farm-with-the-help-of-in-home-care.html

Including Property in the Gross Estate to Get a Basis Step-Up

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/10/including-property-in-the-gross-estate-to-get-a-basis-step-up.html

Farm Valuation Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/10/farm-valuation-issues.html

The Future of the Federal Estate Tax and Implications for Estate Planning

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/11/the-future-of-the-federal-estate-tax-and-implications-for-estate-planning.html

Tribute To Orville Bloethe

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/12/tribute-to-orville-bloethe.html

INCOME TAX

House Ways and Means Committee Has A Blueprint For Tax Proposals - Implications For Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/07/house-ways-and-means-committee-has-a-blueprint-for-tax-proposals-implications-for-agriculture.html

In Attempt To Deny Oil and Gas-Related Deductions, IRS Reads Language Into the Code That Isn’t There – Tax Court Not Biting

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/07/in-attempt-to-deny-oil-and-gas-related-deductions-irs-reads-language-into-the-code-that-isnt-there-tax-court-not-biti.html

IRS Does Double-Back Layout on Self-Employment Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/08/irs-does-double-back-layout-on-self-employment-tax.html

S.E. Tax on Passive Investment Income; Election Out of Subchapter K Doesn’t Change Entity’s Nature; and IRS Can Change Its Mind

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/08/se-tax-on-passive-investment-income-election-out-of-subchapter-k-doesnt-change-entitys-nature-and-irs-can-change-it.html

Handling Depreciation on Asset Trades

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/08/handling-depreciation-on-asset-trades.html

Claiming “Bonus” Depreciation on Plants

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/08/claiming-bonus-depreciation-on-plants.html

Proper Reporting of Crop Insurance Proceeds

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/08/proper-reporting-of-crop-insurance-proceeds.html

Permanent Conservation Easement Donation Opportunities and Perils

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/09/permanent-conservation-easement-donation-opportunities-and-perils.html

Sales By Farmers/Rural Landowners Generate Common Questions

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/09/sales-by-farmersrural-landowners-generate-common-questions-.html

Expense Method Depreciation - Great Tax Planning Opportunities On Amended Returns

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/09/expense-method-depreciation-great-tax-planning-opportunities-on-amended-returns.html

The DPAD and Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/10/the-dpad-and-agriculture.html

Donating Food Inventory to a Qualified Charity - New Opportunity for Farmers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/10/donating-food-inventory-to-a-qualified-charity-new-opportunity-for-farmers.html

Farm Valuation Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/10/farm-valuation-issues.html

Treatment of Farming Casualty and Theft Losses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/10/treatment-of-farming-casualty-and-theft-losses.html

More on Handling Farm Losses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/11/more-on-handling-farm-losses.html

Selected Tax Issues For Rural Landowners Associated With Easement Payments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/11/selected-tax-issues-for-rural-landowners-associated-with-easement-payments.html

Are You A Farmer? It Depends!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/11/are-you-a-farmer-it-depends.html

Rents Are Passive, But They Can Be Recharacterized - And Grouped (Sometimes)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/11/rents-are-passive-but-they-can-be-recharacterized-and-grouped-sometimes.html

It’s Fall and Time to “Hoop it Up”!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/11/its-fall-and-time-to-hoop-it-up.html

Utilizing the Home Sale Exclusion When Selling the Farm

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/12/utilizing-the-home-sale-exclusion-when-selling-the-farm.html

Farmland Acquisition – Allocation of Value to Depreciable Items

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/12/farmland-acquisition-allocation-of-value-to-depreciable-items.html

Tribute To Orville Bloethe

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/12/tribute-to-orville-bloethe.html

IRS Continues (Unsuccessfully) Attack on Cash Accounting By Farmers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/12/irs-continues-unsuccessfully-attack-on-cash-accounting-by-farmers.html

The Uniform Capitalization Rules and Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/12/the-uniform-capitalization-rules-and-agriculture.html

The Non-Corporate Lessor Rule – A Potential Trap In Expense Method Depreciation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/12/the-non-corporate-lessor-rule-a-potential-trap-in-expense-method-depreciation.html

REAL PROPERTY

Texas Mineral Estates, Groundwater Rights, Surface Usage and the “Accommodation Doctrine”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/08/texas-mineral-estates-groundwater-rights-surface-usage-and-the-accommodation-doctrine.html

So You Want To Buy Farmland? Things to Consider

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/09/so-you-want-to-buy-farmland-things-to-consider.html

What’s the Character of the Gain From the Sale of Farm or Ranch Land?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/09/whats-the-character-of-the-gain-from-the-sale-of-farm-or-ranch-land.html

Utilizing the Home Sale Exclusion When Selling the Farm

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/12/utilizing-the-home-sale-exclusion-when-selling-the-farm.html

REGULATORY LAW

New Food Safety Rules Soon to Apply to Farmers and Others In the Food Production Chain

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/10/new-food-safety-rules-soon-to-apply-to-farmers-and-others-in-the-food-production-chain.html

New Regulations on Marketing of Livestock and Poultry

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/11/new-regulations-on-marketing-of-livestock-and-poultry.html

The Future of Ag Policy Under Trump

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/11/the-future-of-ag-policy-under-trump.html

Verifying Employment – New Form I-9; The Requirements and Potential Problem Areas

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/11/verifying-employment-new-form-i-9-the-requirements-and-potential-problem-areas.html

SECURED TRANSACTIONS

Feedlot Has Superior Rights to Cattle Sale Proceeds

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/08/feedlot-has-superior-rights-to-cattle-sale-proceeds.html

WATER LAW

Watercourses and Boundary Lines

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2016/11/watercourses-and-boundary-lines.html

April 19, 2021 in Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Regulation of Agriculture – Food Products, Slaughterhouse Line Speeds and CAFOs

Overview

Agriculture is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the United States.  Almost every activity of a farmer or rancher is somehow regulated by federal or state government.  For example, federal and state governments regulate the marketing and quality standards of various ag products; animal and plant health is regulated; farm programs are numerous and are often tied to crop insurance and/or soil conservation; water use is regulated; and ag products are subject to various export and import programs.  This just names a few ways that ag is regulated.  Such regulation can also lead a producer into tangled administrative battles with various regulatory agencies and which can end up in court.

In today’s post, I take a look at some recent examples of court cases involving the regulation of agriculture and food production.  It’s just a sample of what a farmer or rancher often encounters.

Recent cases involving the regulation of agriculture – it’s the topic of today’ post.

Background – The Government’s Regulatory Power Authority

Every level of government has certain basic powers. For example, the federal government's power includes the commerce power, exercise of eminent domain, the power to tax, and the power to spend.  The commerce power is the constitutionally-based power to regulate commerce between and among the states and with other countries and regulates goods and transactions “affecting” interstate commerce.  The power of eminent domain is the power to acquire property for the public good.  The power to tax is the power to generate revenue.  While the constitution limits the federal government's exercise of these powers, much of the regulation of agricultural activities occurs in accordance with the Congress' ability to regulate commerce among the states in accordance with the Commerce Clause of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

State-level governmental power to regulate agricultural activities derives largely from the police power.  The states, in accordance with their police power, may regulate activities in order to promote the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. The police power is limited only by the extent to which the regulations infringe upon constitutional guarantees, such as equal protection of the laws and by the limits on the “taking” of property value through the heavy hand of regulation.  In general, a state's exercise of its police power will only be found improper if it is utilized in an arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory or confiscatory manner or results in a “taking.”  But, of course, the power can be abused, as was evidenced clearly in some states during 2020. 

Thus, the extent and validity of much of federal regulation of agricultural activities is measured by the Commerce Clause while state regulation is made possible by the police power.

Recent Court Decisions

In recent weeks, the courts have decided numerous cases involving the regulation of food and agriculture concerning various matters.  The following is just a sampling of three cases:

Missouri Food Labeling Law Upheld

Turtle Islands Foods, SPC v. Thompson, No. 19-3154, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 9037 (8th Cir. Mar. 29, 2021)

 Missouri law (Mo. Rev. Stat. §265.494(7)) makes it a criminal offense to misrepresent a product as meat that is not derived from the harvested production of livestock or poultry. A violation of the law could result in up to a year in prison plus up to a $1,000 fine. The law is directed at businesses that sell “alternative” protein sources such as those that are plant-based or cell-cultured and market such products as a meat-based product. The plaintiff, a maker of a vegetarian turkey substitute, challenged the law as an unconstitutional violation of free speech, due process and the Dormant Commerce Clause. The plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction preventing the state from enforcing the law. The state submitted evidence showing how the plaintiff could comply with the law, noting that a label clearly stating that the product was “plant-based,” “veggie,” “lab grown,” or something similar.

The trial court denied the plaintiff’s request for an injunction on the basis that the law only barred a company from misleading consumers into believing that a product is meat from livestock when it is not. The trial court also determined that the plaintiff had failed to prove an irreparable injury by risk of prosecution because its packaging already contained the necessary disclaimers.

On further review, the appellate court affirmed. The appellate court noted that the plaintiff admitted that its products were labeled in such a way to clearly indicate that the products did not contain meat from slaughtered animals and denoted that they were plant-based, vegan or vegetarian. The appellate court noted that, on remand at the trial court, facts could be discovered that could possibly lead to a different result on appeal. 

USDA Rule Eliminating Line Speeds Vacated

United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local No. 663 v. United States Department of Agriculture, No. 19-cv-2660, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62656 (D. Minn. Mar. 31, 2021)

USDA inspectors, under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), monitor port slaughter plants to ensure the safety and wholesomeness of pork products that are sold to the public. To ensure that post-mortem inspections are adequate, the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) regulates the speed of evisceration lines. 9 C.F.R. §310.1(b)(3). In late 2019 the FSIS adopted as a final rule the New Swine Inspection System ("NSIS"), an optional program that implemented several reforms, including the elimination of evisceration line speed limits at pork processing plants. A labor union sued, claiming that the final rule was not properly promulgated under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). When FSIS proposed the NSIS, it expressly identified worker safety as an important consideration and requested public comment on whether increasing line speeds would harm workers. The FSIS received many comments raising worker safety concerns before finalizing the optional rule. The court vacated the portion of the final rule pertaining to line speed limits concluding that the rule didn’t contain any discussion, analysis or evaluation of the submitted worker safety comments. The court reasoned that such failure violated the APA because worker safety was a key aspect of the rule. Thus, this part of the rule was remanded to the FSIS for review. The balance of the rule was not vacated and remains in effect. The court also stayed its order and entry of judgment for 90 days to give the FSIS time to address the issue. 

Zoning Ordinance Allows for CAFO

Chambers v. Delaware-Muncie Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals, 150 N.E.3d 603 (Ind. Ct. App. 2020)

The petitioners owned property located in an area that was zoned as “agricultural.” The petitioners sought and eventually obtained a permit from the county building commissioner to build several hog barns configured as a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) on their property. Neighbors of the petitioners asked the zoning board to review the building commissioner’s decision to issue the permit. The zoning board voided the permit and determined that the farming zone did not recognize industrial agricultural uses, such as the petitioners’ proposed CAFO. The petitioners sought a review of the zoning board’s decision. The trial court noted that the zoning ordinance specifically permitted animal husbandry, as well as raising and selling hogs and the erection of barns and similar farming building. The trial court determined that the zoning ordinance clearly indicated that hog raising operations were a permitted use. The trial court noted that the county could have excluded CAFOs or put other restrictions in place to maintain more traditional farming operations. Additionally, the trial court noted that several CAFOs were located and permitted in other agricultural zones in the county. Thus, the trial court held that the zoning board’s decision was reversed and the building commissioner’s decision to issue the permit to the petitioners was reinstated. On appeal, the neighbors of the petitioners argued that the zoning ordinance was ambiguous because it did not mention CAFOs. The appellate court agreed with the trial court and noted that the zoning ordinance set no limit on the scale of permitted uses in the agricultural zone. The appellate court determined that the plain language of the zoning ordinance was not ambiguous, and the petitioners were permitted to raise any number of hogs, subject to state and federal limitations. 

Conclusion

The federal and state government regulation of agricultural activities seems to grow as the years go on.  The government becomes more and more entangled in the daily life of a farmer or rancher.  Do the benefits outweigh the costs?  Probably not?  Is there hope on the horizon for less governmental regulation?  That tide recently changed.  In any event the matter is just another reason that an experienced ag lawyer is needed more now than ever before.

April 15, 2021 in Regulatory Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Federal Farm Programs and the AGI Computation

Overview

Many farmers participate in federal farm programs and receive subsidies on a per-person basis.  There are limits to the amount of subsidies that can be received.  However, to be eligible to participate in most federal farm programs the applicant (individual or entity) must have an average adjusted gross income (AGI) of $900,000 or less. 

What is AGI for farm program eligibility purposes?  How is it computed?  Does it matter if the applicant is an individual or an entity? 

The computation of AGI for farm program eligibility purposes – it’s the topic of today’ post.

In General

A prerequisite to participating in many federal farm programs is annually certifying that average AGI doesn’t exceed a $900,000 threshold. The measuring period is the prior three years, skipping the immediately prior year.  The $900,000 limit applies to most USDA farm programs, but there are some exceptions – particularly those concerning conservation or disasters.  An applicant must provide the IRS with written consent to allow the USDA to verify AGI.  The consent (via USDA Form CCC-941) allows the IRS to verify to the FSA, based on a farm program applicant’s tax return information, whether (for most farm programs) the $900,000 limit is not exceeded.  The consent covers the three tax years that precede the immediately preceding tax year for which farm program benefits are being sought.  Thus, for 2021, the relevant tax years are 2019, 2018 and 2017.  For a farmer or a farming operation that has not been operating for the three-year period before the immediately preceding year, the FSA uses an average of income for the years of operation. FSA 5-PL, Para. 312, subparagraph F

Note:  Worksheets used in determining AGI calculations should be retained for at least three years.

Defining AGI – The FSA Way

As noted, average AGI is measured over the three taxable years preceding the most immediately preceding complete taxable year for which benefits are requested.  FSA 5-PL, Para. 293.  The FSA, in its 5-PL at Paragraph 296, subparagraph B, sets forth the following Table for guidance on AGI determinations using a producer/applicant’s data that has been reported to the IRS:

If determining AGI for….

Then see IRS Form….

AND use the amount entered on….

Corporations

1120 or 1120-S

Either of the following:

·       Line 30 (total taxable income) plus line 19 (charitable contributions)

·       For S corporations, use only Form 1120-S, line 21 (ordinary business income).

Estates or trusts

1041

Line 23 (taxable income) plus line 13 (charitable deductions)

LLCs, LLPs, LP or similar type organization taxed as partnership

1065

Line 22 (total income from trade or business) plus line 10 (guaranteed payments to partners).

Persons

1040

Line 8b (AGI)

Tax-exempt or charitable organizations

990-T

Line 31 (unrelated business taxable income) minus income that CCC determines to be from noncommercial activity.

For a sole proprietor filing a joint return, an exception exists from the need to report the full amount reported as AGI on the final IRS tax return for the applicable year.  Under the exception, a certification may be provided by a CPA or an attorney that specifies what the amounts would have been if separate tax returns would have been filed for the applicable year.  FSA 5-PL, Para. 296, subparagraph A. 

Schedule K Issues

IRS Form 1120-S and Form 1065 do not refer to income or deductions reported on Schedule K-1. A Schedule K-1 is the IRS Form that is used to report amounts that are passed through to each taxpayer that has an interest in a “flow-through” entity such as an S corporation, partnership, trust or an estate.  Consequently, any I.R.C. §179 deduction (i.e., expense method depreciation) would not be factored into the average AGI computation for a farming operation that is a flow-through entity seeking farm program benefits.  But it would be taken into account for a C corporation. Thus, a C corporation and an S corporation with identical taxable incomes may not be treated similarly for farm program eligibility purposes.  This is particularly true for an S corporation farming entity, for example, that has AGI over the $900,000 threshold without factoring in any I.R.C. §179 amount but is under the limitation when the I.R.C. §179 deduction is taken into account. 

Threatened with litigation on this disparate treatment, the FSA backed down and the 5-PL was later amended to reflect the rule change allowing the I.R.C. §179 deduction for flow-through entities as well as sole proprietorships and C corporations.  However, FSA still ignores other K-1 items in the computation of AGI for purposes of the $900,000 AGI computation.  At least this is the position of the national FSA.  There may be variations at the local and state level.  Consistent application of the regulations has never been a staple of the FSA. 

Certifying Income – Form CCC-941

A producer seeking farm program benefits, as noted above, must annually certify income to the FSA to ensure that the $900,000 threshold (in most instances) is not exceeded. The verification process starts with the FSA’s referral of the applicant’s AGI certification and written consent to the IRS to use the applicant’s tax information on file and disclose certain information to the FSA for AGI verification purposes.  FSA 5-PL, Para. 301, Subparagraph A.  Consent for disclosure of tax information is valid only if the IRS receives it within 120 calendar days of the date the Form CCC-941 was signed.  FSA 5-PL, Para. 301, Subparagraph E. 

If an attorney or CPA statement is provided, both the statement and the completed Form CCC-941 must be submitted to the local FSA office before the Form CCC-941 is considered to be complete and AGI is updated in the producer’s file.  The submitted Form CCC-941 is then sent to the IRS and the statement of the attorney/CPA is attached to a copy of the Form that FSA retains.  FSA 5-PL, Para. 302, Subparagraph A.

Form CCC-941 is required to determine payment eligibility for all persons; legal entities; interest holders in a legal entity, including embedded entities to the fourth level of ownership interest, regardless of the level of interest held; and, members of a general partnership or joint venture, regardless of the number of members.  FSA 5-PL, Par. 294.  It is submitted under the same name and TIN as is used for tax filing purposes.  For example, for farm assets and land that have been transferred to a revocable trust, the identification on Form CCC-941 is the grantor’s name and Social Security number.

If Form CCC-941 is not filed for a program year, the producer is not eligible for farm program payments for that year.  Any program payments erroneously paid will have to be returned, with interest. 

Note:  Technically, the FSA rules state that to comply with the AGI requirement for the applicable crop, program or fiscal year, a person or legal entity must provide either a completed Form CCC-941 for that year or a statement from a CPA or attorney that the average AGI does not exceed the applicable limitation.  But, in all cases, the portions of Form CCC-941 pertaining to consent of disclosure of tax information must be completed and signed by the person (or entity) subject to AGI compliance.  FSA 5-PL, Par. 294, subparagraph B.

The form must be personally signed by the applicant – either in their own name or, if the application is on behalf of an entity, by the designated officer(s).  If the applicant is a minor, the Form can be signed by a parent or guardian.  One spouse cannot sign for the other spouse, however, absent a duly executed power-of-attorney (POA).  Likewise, neither IRS Form 2848 nor an FSA POA (Form 211) is acceptable.  FSA 5-PL, Para. 302, Subparagraph C. 

Note:  A Table contained in the FSA 5-PL, Amendment 4, page 6-34 at Para. 302, subparagraph C, sets forth the signature authority for Form CCC-941. 

If the applicant is a grantor trust, the Form must denote the grantor’s name.  For a deceased person, Form CCC-941 may be filed by the surviving spouse, an authorized representative or an entity that is responsible for filing the final Federal income tax return for the decedent.  FSA 5-PL, Para. 302, subparagraph D.  If filing is by an authorized representative, proof of such authorization must be provided by attachment to Form CCC-941. 

If a Form CCC-941, as submitted to the IRS, is incomplete or illegible it will be returned to the FSA along with IRS Notice 1398 containing the reason(s) for the rejection.  FSA 5-PL, Para. 301, Subparagraph H.  The FSA will then contact the person or entity that submitted the Form and explain the reason(s) for the rejection as well as provide assistance to get the Form corrected.  Id., Subparagraph H. 

Form CCC-941 authorizes the FSA to obtain AGI data from the IRS.  When the IRS receives the Form, it matches the identity of the name on the Form with the tax records associated with the name.  The IRS then calculates AGI according to the FSA’s definition of the term and reports to the FSA whether the applicant is within the $900,000 threshold.  If the IRS reports to the FSA that a producer is over the AGI limit, FSA then sends the producer a letter informing them that they have 30 days to provide a third-party verification by a CPA or an attorney that the producer’s average AGI is within the threshold along with associated tax records. If an entity is the farmer, this letter will be required for both the entity and the individual. If, upon review, the FSA still deems the producer to not be eligible for benefits, the producer may file an administrative appeal within 30 days of the determination.

Note:   It’s important for a producer/applicant to respond to the FSA within the 30-day timeframe so as to preserver administrative appeal rights.  However, the FSA 5-PL does state that appeal rights exist even if requested information is not timely provided.  FSA 5-PL, Para. 297, Subparagraph E.

The failure to provide the FSA with correct and accurate information to establish AGI compliance can result in ineligibility for all program payments and benefits that are subject to the AGI limitation for the applicable years.  In addition, the producer/entity will have to refund any benefits already paid due to the incorrect information and face possible civil or criminal prosecution.  FSA 5-PL, Para. 297, Subparagraph D.

A person or entity that lacks tax records or is not required to file tax returns may document AGI by providing to FSA annual budgets and a statement of operations; annual public financial disclosures; financial statements; or any other documentation as FSA deems acceptable. 

Note:  Some farmers have expressed concern about the information the IRS shares with the FSA.  However, the IRS does not report the applicant’s income, AGI (or average AGI), or any determination on the applicant’s eligibility or ineligibility for farm program payments.  The IRS merely computes AGI according to the FSA approach and reports to the FSA whether the producer/applicant is over or under the applicable threshold.  FSA 5-PL, Para. 303, subparagraph B.  FSA maintains the information that the IRS provides to it in a secure database, and the information  is not subject to a Freedom of Information Act request.  Id., subparagraph C. 

Exception for Exceeding the AGI Threshold

The 75 percent test.  There are some farm programs for which the $900,000 AGI limit does not apply if at least 75 percent of AGI is derived from farming, ranching or forestry activities.  For this purpose, “farm AGI” is comparable to net income from farming and may be identical to net farm profit (or loss) on Schedule F.  The FSA definition of “farm AGI” also includes income from the sale of farmland, breeding livestock and ag conservation easements, for example.  However, the term does not include income derived from the sale of farm equipment as well as income derived from the sale of production inputs and services.  However, if at least two-thirds of total AGI from all sources is from farming, the income from the sale of farm equipment and production inputs and services counts as farm AGI.  FSA 5-PL, Para. 312, subparagraph F.    

In recent years, the market facilitation program (MFP) and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) are examples of farm programs that don’t subject the applicant to a $900,000 AGI limitation.  A producer applying for benefits from such a program must certify that the 75 percent test is satisfied.  For this purpose, the FSA might require the producer to sign Form CCC-942.  Alternatively, a letter from the producer’s professional tax preparer (an attorney of a CPA) can suffice.  For entities that are applying for benefits, a certification letter is required for the entity and for the individual producer. 

Note:  The FSA cannot send certifications with respect to the 75 percent farm AGI test to the IRS for verification.

For purposes of the 75 percent test, the FSA, in a Table in the FSA 5-PL, Amendment 6, Para. 312, subparagraph B, defines income from farming, ranching and forestry.  The Table illustrates that the term is defined broadly.  

Wages paid by a farm employer do not constitute farm income.  Thus, if an applicant’s only income is from wages earned via employment with, for example, a farming C corporation, the wages do not count as farm income for purposes of the 75 percent test.  But, of course, this is only an issue if the producer/applicant’s income is over the $900,000 threshold. 

The FSA regulations and associated guidance do not address whether income from a farmer’s foreign sales that are funneled through an IC-DISC counts as farm income for purposes of the 75 percent test.  An IC-DISC allows a farmer that will be selling into an export market to essentially transfer income from the farmer to the tax-exempt IC-DISC via an export sales commission.  An IC-DISC can be formed and utilized by any taxpayer that manufactures, produces, grows or extracts (MPGE) property in the U.S. that is held primarily for sale, lease or rental in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s trade or business.  That definition certainly includes farmers.  The property to be exported is transferred to the IC-DISC which then sells the assets into an export market.  While there is no “official” guidance on the issue, it would seem reasonable that such income counts as farm income. 

Conclusion

Farmers participating in federal farm programs are subject to many detailed rules.  In recent years, such payments have made up a substantial portion of total farm income.  That makes compliance with the rules and staying within the average AGI limit critical. 

April 10, 2021 in Income Tax, Regulatory Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 2, 2021

Ag Law and Taxation - 2017 Bibliography

Overview

Today's post is a bibliography of my ag law and tax blog articles of 2017.  This will make it easier to find the articles you are looking for in your research.  In late January I posted the 2020 bibliography of articles.  In late February I posted the bibliography of the 2019 articles.  Last month, I posted the 2018 bibliography of articles.  Today’s posting is the bibliography of my 2017 articles.  Later this month I will post the 2016 bibliography. 

The library of content continues to grow with relevant information for you practice or your farming/ranching business.

The 2017 bibliography of articles – it’s the subject matter of today’s post.

BANKRUPTCY

The Most Important Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2016

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/the-most-important-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2016.html  

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2016 (Ten Through Six)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2016-ten-through-six.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law Developments of 2016 (Five Through One)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-developments-of-2016-five-through-one.html

Farm Financial Stress – Debt Restructuring

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/farm-financial-stress-debt-restructuring.html

Qualified Farm Indebtedness – A Special Rule for Income Exclusion of Forgiven Debt

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/03/qualified-farm-indebtedness-a-special-rule-for-income-exclusion-of-forgiven-debt.html

What Are a Farmer’s Rights When a Grain Elevator Fails?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/what-are-a-farmers-rights-when-a-grain-elevator-fails.html

Agricultural Law in a Nutshell

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/agricultural-law-in-a-nutshell.html

The Business of Agriculture – Upcoming CLE Symposium

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/the-business-of-agriculture-upcoming-cle-symposium.html

Tough Financial Times in Agriculture and Lending Clauses – Peril for the Unwary

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/10/tough-financial-times-in-agriculture-and-lending-clauses-peril-for-the-unwary.html

What Interest Rate Applies to a Secured Creditor’s Claim in a Reorganization Bankruptcy?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/11/what-interest-rate-applies-to-a-secured-creditors-claim-in-a-reorganization-bankruptcy.html

PACA Trust Does Not Prevent Chapter 11 DIP’s Use of Cash Collateral

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/11/paca-trust-does-not-prevent-chapter-11-dips-use-of-cash-collateral.html

Are Taxes Dischargeable in Bankruptcy?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/12/are-taxes-dischargeable-in-bankruptcy.html

Christmas Shopping Season Curtailed? – Bankruptcy Venue Shopping, That Is!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/12/christmas-shopping-season-curtailed-bankruptcy-venue-shopping-that-is.html

BUSINESS PLANNING

The Most Important Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2016

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/the-most-important-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2016.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2016 (Ten Through Six)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2016-ten-through-six.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law Developments of 2016 (Five Through One)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-developments-of-2016-five-through-one.html

C Corporation Penalty Taxes – Time to Dust-Off and Review?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/c-corporation-penalty-taxes-time-to-dust-off-and-review.html

Divisive Reorganizations of Farming and Ranching Corporations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/divisive-reorganizations-of-farming-and-ranching-corporations.html

The Scope and Effect of the “Small Partnership Exception”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/02/the-scope-and-effect-of-the-small-partnership-exception.html

Using the Right Kind of an Entity to Reduce Self-Employment Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/04/using-the-right-kind-of-an-entity-to-reduce-self-employment-tax.html

Employer-Provided Meals and Lodging

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/employer-provided-meals-and-lodging.html

Self-Employment Tax on Farming Activity of Trusts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/self-employment-tax-on-farming-activity-of-trusts.html

Minority Shareholder Oppression Case Raises Several Tax Questions

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/minority-shareholder-oppression-case-raises-several-tax-questions.html

Farm Program Payment Limitations and Entity Planning – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/farm-program-payment-limitations-and-entity-planning-part-one.html

Farm Program Payment Limitations and Entity Planning – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/farm-program-payment-limitations-and-entity-planning-part-two.html

Summer Ag Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/summer-ag-taxestate-and-business-planning-conference.html

An Installment Sale as Part of an Estate Plan

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/an-installment-sale-as-part-of-an-estate-plan.html

The Use of a Buy-Sell Agreement for Transitioning a Business

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/the-use-of-a-buy-sell-agreement-for-transitioning-a-business.html

The Business of Agriculture – Upcoming CLE Symposium

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/the-business-of-agriculture-upcoming-cle-symposium.html

Forming a Farming/Ranching Corporation Tax-Free

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/forming-a-farmingranching-corporation-tax-free.html

Farmers Renting Equipment – Does it Trigger A Self-Employment Tax Liability?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/farmers-renting-equipment-does-it-trigger-a-self-employment-tax-liability.html

New Partnership Audit Rules

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/new-partnership-audit-rules.html

Self-Employment Tax on Farm Rental Income – Is the Mizell Veneer Cracking?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/self-employment-tax-on-farm-rental-income-is-the-mizell-veneer-cracking.html

IRS To Finalize Regulations on Tax Status of LLC and LLP Members?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/10/irs-to-finalize-regulations-on-tax-status-of-llc-and-llp-members.html

H.R. 1 – Farmers, Self-Employment Tax and Business Arrangement Structures

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/11/hr-1-farmers-self-employment-tax-and-business-arrangement-structures.html

Summer 2018 – Farm Tax and Farm Business Education

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/11/summer-2018-farm-tax-and-farm-business-education.html

Partnerships and Tax Law – Details Matter

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/11/partnership-and-tax-law-details-matter.html   

CIVIL LIABILITIES

The Most Important Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2016

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/the-most-important-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2016.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2016 (Ten Through Six)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2016-ten-through-six.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Developments of 2016 (Five Through One)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-developments-of-2016-five-through-one.html

Recreational Use Statutes – What is Covered?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/02/recreational-use-statutes-what-is-covered.html

Is Aesthetic Damage Enough to Make Out a Nuisance Claim?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/04/is-aesthetic-damage-enough-to-make-out-a-nuisance-claim.html

Liability Associated with a Range of Fires and Controlled Burns

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/04/liability-associated-with-a-range-fires-and-controlled-burns.html

What’s My Liability for Spread of Animal Disease

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/whats-my-liability-for-spread-of-animal-disease.html

Dicamba Spray-Drift Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/dicamba-spray-drift-issues.html

Agricultural Law in a Nutshell

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/agricultural-law-in-a-nutshell.html

The Business of Agriculture – Upcoming CLE Symposium

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/the-business-of-agriculture-upcoming-cle-symposium.html

Right-to-Farm Laws

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/right-to-farm-laws.html

CONTRACTS

The Most Important Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2016

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/the-most-important-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2016.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2016 (Ten Through Six)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2016-ten-through-six.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law Developments of 2016 (Five Through One)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-developments-of-2016-five-through-one.html

Another Issue With Producing Livestock on Contract – Insurance

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/another-issue-with-producing-livestock-on-contract-insurance.html

The Ability of Tenants-in-Common To Bind Co-Tenants to a Farm Lease – and Related Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/02/the-ability-of-tenants-in-common-to-bind-co-tenants-to-a-farm-lease-and-related-issues.html

Ag Goods Sold at Auction – When is a Contract Formed?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/ag-goods-sold-at-auction-when-is-a-contract-formed.html

Agricultural Law in a Nutshell

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/agricultural-law-in-a-nutshell.html

The Business of Agriculture – Upcoming CLE Symposium

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/the-business-of-agriculture-upcoming-cle-symposium.html

Ag Contracts and Express Warranties

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/ag-contracts-and-express-warranties.html

What Remedies Does a Buyer Have When a Seller of Ag Goods Breaches the Contract?           

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/10/what-remedies-does-a-buyer-have-when-a-seller-of-ag-goods-breaches-the-contract.html  

COOPERATIVES

The Most Important Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2016

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/the-most-important-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2016.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law Developments of 2016 (Five Through One)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2016-ten-through-six.html

What Is a Cooperative Director’s Liability to Member-Shareholders and Others?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/what-is-a-cooperative-directors-liability-to-member-shareholders-and-others.html

CRIMINAL LIABILITIES

The Necessity Defense to Criminal Liability

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/the-necessity-defense-to-criminal-liability.html

The Business of Agriculture – Upcoming CLE Symposium

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/the-business-of-agriculture-upcoming-cle-symposium.html

What Problems Does The Migratory Bird Treaty Act Pose For Farmers, Ranchers and Rural Landowners?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/what-problems-does-the-migratory-bird-treaty-act-pose-for-farmers-ranchers-and-rural-landowners.html

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

Drainage Activities on Farmland and the USDA

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/03/drainage-activities-on-farmland-and-the-usda.html

The Application of the Endangered Species Act to Activities on Private Land

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/04/the-application-of-the-endangered-species-act-to-activities-on-private-land.html

Eminent Domain – The Government’s Power to “Take” Private Property

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/eminent-domain-the-governments-power-to-take-private-property.html

Spray Drift As Hazardous Waste?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/spray-drift-as-hazardous-waste.html

What Problems Does The Migratory Bird Treaty Act Pose For Farmers, Ranchers and Rural Landowners?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/what-problems-does-the-migratory-bird-treaty-act-pose-for-farmers-ranchers-and-rural-landowners.html

The Prior Converted Cropland Exception From Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/the-prior-converted-cropland-exception-from-clean-water-act-jurisdiction.html

Air Emission Reporting Requirement For Livestock Operations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/11/air-emission-reporting-requirement-for-livestock-operations.html

ESTATE PLANNING

Rights of Refusal and the Rule Against Perpetuities

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/rights-of-refusal-and-the-rule-against-perpetuities.html

Some Thoughts On Long-Term Care Insurance

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/02/some-thoughts-on-long-term-care-insurance.html

Overview of Gifting Rules and Strategies                                                                 

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/04/overview-of-gifting-rules-and-strategies.html

Disinheriting a Spouse – Can It Be Done?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/04/disinheriting-a-spouse-can-it-be-done.html

Specific Property Devised in Will (or Trust) That Doesn’t Exist At Death – What Happens?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/specific-property-devised-in-will-that-doesnt-exist-at-death-what-happens.html

Discounting IRAs for Income Tax Liability?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/discounting-iras-for-income-tax-liability.html

Special Use Valuation and Cash Leasing

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/special-use-valuation-and-cash-leasing.html

Self-Employment Tax On Farming Activity Of Trusts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/self-employment-tax-on-farming-activity-of-trusts.html

Would an Interest Charge Domestic International Sales Corporation Benefit a Farming Business?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/would-an-interest-charge-domestic-international-sales-corporation-benefit-a-farming-business.html

An Installment Sale as Part of An Estate Plan

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/an-installment-sale-as-part-of-an-estate-plan.html

Using An IDGT For Wealth Transfer and Business Succession

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/using-an-idgt-for-wealth-transfer-and-business-succession.html

Federal Tax Claims in Decedent’s Estates – What’s the Liability and Priority?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/federal-tax-claims-in-decedents-estates-whats-the-liability-and-priority.html

Estate Tax Portability – The Authority of the IRS To Audit

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/10/estate-tax-portability-the-authority-of-the-irs-to-audit.html

Digital Assets and Estate Planning       

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/10/digital-assets-and-estate-planning.html

INCOME TAX

The Burden of Proof in Tax Cases – What are the Rules?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/02/the-burden-of-proof-in-tax-cases-what-are-the-rules.html

The Home Office Deduction

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/02/the-home-office-deduction.html

IRS To Continue Attacking Cash Method For Farmers Via the “Farming Syndicate Rule”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/02/irs-to-continue-attacking-cash-method-for-farmers-via-the-farming-syndicate-rule.html

Using Schedule J As A Planning Tool For Clients With Farm Income

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/03/using-schedule-j-as-a-planning-tool-for-clients-with-farm-income.html

Deductibility of Soil and Water Conservation Expenses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/03/deductibility-of-soil-and-water-conservation-expenses.html

Should Purchased Livestock Be Depreciated or Inventoried?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/03/should-purchased-livestock-be-depreciated-or-inventoried.html

The Changing Structure of Agricultural Production and…the IRS

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/03/the-changing-structure-of-agricultural-production-andthe-irs.html

Farm-Related Casualty Losses and Involuntary Conversions – Helpful Tax Rules in Times of Distress

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/03/farm-related-casualty-losses-and-involuntary-conversions-helpful-tax-rules-in-times-of-distress.html

Charitable Contributions Via Trust

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/03/charitable-contributions-via-trust.html

Ag Tax Policy The Focus in D.C.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/04/ag-tax-policy-the-focus-in-dc-.html

For Depreciation Purposes, What Does Placed in Service Mean?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/04/for-depreciation-purposes-what-does-placed-in-service-mean.html

Tax Treatment of Commodity Futures and Options

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/04/tax-treatment-of-commodity-futures-and-options.html

Discounting IRAs for Income Tax Liability?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/discounting-iras-for-income-tax-liability.html

Like-Kind Exchanges, Reverse Exchanges, and the Safe Harbor

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/like-kind-exchanges-reverse-exchanges-and-the-safe-harbor.html

Insights Into Handling IRS Disputes

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/insights-into-handling-irs-disputes.html

Employer-Provided Meals and Lodging

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/employer-provided-meals-and-lodging.html

Self-Employment Tax On Farming Activity Of Trusts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/self-employment-tax-on-farming-activity-of-trusts.html

Minority Shareholder Oppression Case Raises Several Tax Questions

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/minority-shareholder-oppression-case-raises-several-tax-questions.html

Input Costs – When Can a Deduction Be Claimed?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/input-costs-when-can-a-deduction-be-claimed.html

Like-Kind Exchange Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/like-kind-exchange-issues.html

Tax Issues With Bad Debt Deductions

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/tax-issues-with-bad-debt-deductions.html

Like-Kind Exchanges – The Related Party Rule and a Planning Opportunity

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/like-kind-exchanges-the-related-party-rule-and-a-planning-opportunity.html

Tax Treatment of Cooperative Value-Added Payments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/tax-treatment-of-cooperative-value-added-payments.html

Would an Interest Charge Domestic International Sales Corporation Benefit a Farming Business?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/would-an-interest-charge-domestic-international-sales-corporation-benefit-a-farming-business.html

Timber Tax Issues – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/timber-tax-issues-part-one.html

Timber Tax Issues – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/timber-tax-issues-part-two.html

An Installment Sale as Part of An Estate Plan

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/an-installment-sale-as-part-of-an-estate-plan.html

Using An IDGT For Wealth Transfer and Business Succession

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/using-an-idgt-for-wealth-transfer-and-business-succession.html

Prospects for Tax Legislation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/prospects-for-tax-legislation.html

Deferred Payment Contracts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/deferred-payment-contracts.html

When Is A Farmer Not A “Qualified Farmer” For Conservation Easement Donation Purposes?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/when-is-a-farmer-not-a-qualified-farmer-for-conservation-easement-donation-purposes.html

Substantiating Charitable Contributions

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/substantiating-charitable-contributions.html

Forming a Farming/Ranching Corporation Tax-Free

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/forming-a-farmingranching-corporation-tax-free.html

Farmers Renting Equipment – Does It Trigger A Self-Employment Tax Liability?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/farmers-renting-equipment-does-it-trigger-a-self-employment-tax-liability.html

Commodity Credit Corporation Loans and Elections

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/commodity-credit-corporation-loans-and-elections.html

New Partnership Audit Rules

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/new-partnership-audit-rules.html

Alternatives to Like-Kind Exchanges of Farmland

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/alternatives-to-like-kind-exchanges-of-farmland.html

South Dakota Attempts To Change Internet Sales Taxation – What Might Be The Impact On Small Businesses?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/south-dakota-attempts-to-change-internet-sales-taxation-what-might-be-the-impact-on-small-businesses.html

Fall Tax Schools

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/fall-tax-schools.html

Self-Employment Tax on Farm Rental Income – Is the Mizell Veneer Cracking?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/self-employment-tax-on-farm-rental-income-is-the-mizell-veneer-cracking.html

Tax Treatment of Settlements and Court Judgments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/10/tax-treatment-of-settlements-and-court-judgments.html

The “Perpetuity” Requirement For Donated Easements

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/10/the-perpetuity-requirement-for-donated-easements.html

The Tax Rules Involving Prepaid Farm Expenses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/10/the-tax-rules-involving-prepaid-farm-expenses.html

It’s Just About Tax School Time

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/10/its-just-about-tax-school-time.html

IRS To Finalize Regulations On Tax Status of LLC and LLP Members?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/10/irs-to-finalize-regulations-on-tax-status-of-llc-and-llp-members.html

The Deductibility (Or Non-Deductibility) of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/10/the-deductibility-or-non-deductibility-of-interest.html

H.R. 1 - Farmers, Self-Employment Tax and Business Arrangement Structures

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/11/hr-1-farmers-self-employment-tax-and-business-arrangement-structures.html

The Broad Reach of the Wash-Sale Rule

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/11/the-broad-reach-of-the-wash-sale-rule.html

Comparison of the House and Senate Tax Bills – Implications for Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/11/comparison-of-the-house-and-senate-tax-bills-implications-for-agriculture.html

Partnerships and Tax Law – Details Matter

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/11/partnership-and-tax-law-details-matter.html

Senate Clears Tax Bill - On To Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/12/senate-clears-tax-bill-on-to-conference-committee.html

Are Taxes Dischargeable in Bankruptcy?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/12/are-taxes-dischargeable-in-bankruptcy.html

Bitcoin Fever and the Tax Man

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/12/bitcoin-fever-and-the-tax-man.html

House and Senate to Vote on Conference Tax Bill This Week

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/12/house-and-senate-to-vote-on-conference-tax-bill-this-week.html

Another Tax Bill Introduced, Year-End Planning, and Jan. 10 Seminar/Webinar

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/12/another-tax-bill-introduced-year-end-planning-and-jan-10-seminarwebinar.html

PUBLICATIONS

Agricultural Law in a Nutshell

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/agricultural-law-in-a-nutshell.html

REAL PROPERTY

Another Issue When the Definition of “Agriculture” Matters – Property Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/another-issue-when-the-definition-of-agriculture-matters-property-tax.html

The Ability of Tenants-in-Common To Bind Co-Tenants to a Farm Lease – and Related Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/02/the-ability-of-tenants-in-common-to-bind-co-tenants-to-a-farm-lease-and-related-issues.html

Like-Kind Exchanges, Reverse Exchanges, and the Safe Harbor

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/05/like-kind-exchanges-reverse-exchanges-and-the-safe-harbor.html

Like-Kind Exchange Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/like-kind-exchange-issues.html

Easements on Agricultural Land – Classification and Legal Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/easements-on-agricultural-land-classification-and-legal-issues.html

Should I Enter Into An Oil and Gas Lease?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/12/should-i-enter-into-an-oil-and-gas-lease.html

REGULATORY LAW

Checkoffs, The Courts and Free Speech

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/checkoffs-the-courts-and-free-speech.html

Joint Employment Situations In Agriculture – What’s the FLSA Test?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/02/joint-employment-situations-in-agriculture-whats-the-flsa-test.html

Farmers, Ranchers and Government Administrative Agencies

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/03/farmers-ranchers-and-government-administrative-agencies.html

IRS To Target “Hobby” Farmers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/03/irs-to-target-hobby-farmers.html

Drainage Activities on Farmland and the USDA

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/03/drainage-activities-on-farmland-and-the-usda.html

What is a “Separate Person” For Payment Limitation Purposes?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/03/what-is-a-separate-person-for-payment-limitation-purposes.html

Livestock Indemnity Payments – What They Are and Tax Reporting Options

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/03/livestock-indemnity-payments-what-they-are-and-tax-reporting-options.html

Can One State Regulate Agricultural Production Activities in Other States?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/can-one-state-regulate-agricultural-production-activities-in-other-states.html

Farm Program Payment Limitations and Entity Planning – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/farm-program-payment-limitations-and-entity-planning-part-one.html

Farm Program Payment Limitations and Entity Planning – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/farm-program-payment-limitations-and-entity-planning-part-two.html

Eminent Domain – The Government’s Power to “Take” Private Property

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/eminent-domain-the-governments-power-to-take-private-property.html

Department of Labor Overtime Rules Struck Down – What’s the Impact on Ag?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/department-of-labor-overtime-rules-struck-down-whats-the-impact-on-ag.html

The Prior Converted Cropland Exception From Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/the-prior-converted-cropland-exception-from-clean-water-act-jurisdiction.html

Air Emission Reporting Requirement For Livestock Operations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/11/air-emission-reporting-requirement-for-livestock-operations.html

Federal Labor Law and Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/11/federal-labor-law-and-agriculture.html

 Electronic Logs For Truckers and Implications for Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/12/electronic-logs-for-truckers-and-implications-for-agriculture.html

SECURED TRANSACTIONS

Ag Supply Dealer Liens – Important Tool in Tough Financial Times

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/01/ag-supply-dealer-liens-important-tool-in-tough-financial-times.html

“Commercial Reasonableness” of Collateral Sales

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/commercial-reasonableness-of-collateral-sales.html

What Are A Farmer’s Rights When a Grain Elevator Fails?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/07/what-are-a-farmers-rights-when-a-grain-elevator-fails.html

Selling Collateralized Ag Products – The “Farm Products” Rule

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/selling-collateralized-ag-products-the-farm-products-rule.html

SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES

Fall Tax Schools

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/09/fall-tax-schools.html

Another Tax Bill Introduced, Year-End Planning, and Jan. 10 Seminar/Webinar

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/12/another-tax-bill-introduced-year-end-planning-and-jan-10-seminarwebinar.html

Summer 2018 - Farm Tax and Farm Business Education

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/11/summer-2018-farm-tax-and-farm-business-education.html

The Business of Agriculture – Upcoming CLE Symposium

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/08/the-business-of-agriculture-upcoming-cle-symposium.html

Summer Ag Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/06/summer-ag-taxestate-and-business-planning-conference.html

WATER LAW

Prior Appropriation – First in Time, First in Right

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/02/prior-appropriation-first-in-time-first-in-right.html

Kansas Water Law - Reactions to and Potential Consequences of the Garetson decision

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/02/kansas-water-law-reactions-to-and-potential-consequences-of-the-garetson-decision.html

Public Access To Private Land Via Water

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/04/public-access-to-private-land-via-water.html

Big Development for Water in the West - Federal Implied Reserved Water Rights Doctrine Applies to Groundwater

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2017/12/big-development-for-water-in-the-west-federal-implied-reserved-water-rights-doctrine-applies-to-grou.html

April 2, 2021 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Ag Law and Taxation - 2018 Bibliography

Overview

Today's post is a bibliography of my ag law and tax blog articles of 2018.  Many of you have requested that I provide something like this to make it easier to find the articles, and last month I posted the bibliography of the 2020 and 2019 articles.  Soon I will post the bibliography of the 2017 articles and then 2016.  After those are posted.  I will post one long bibliography containing all of the articles up to that point in time.  Then, to close out 2021, I will post the articles of 2021. 

The library of content is piling up.

Cataloging the 2018 ag law and tax blog articles - it's the topic of today's post.

BANKRUPTCY

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2017 (Ten through Six)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2017-ten-through-six.html

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy – Feasibility of the Reorganization Plan

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/03/chapter-12-bankruptcy-feasibility-of-the-reorganization-plan.html

Farm Bankruptcy and the Preferential Payment Rule

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/farm-bankruptcy-and-the-preferential-payment-rule.html

Can a Bankrupt Farm Debtor Make Plan Payments Directly to Creditors?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/can-a-bankrupt-farm-debtor-make-plan-payments-directly-to-creditors.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy and the Tools-of-the-Trade Exemption

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/chapter-12-bankruptcy-and-the-tools-of-the-trade-exemption.html

Developments in Ag Law and Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/developments-in-ag-law-and-tax.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html

BUSINESS PLANNING

The “Almost Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2017

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/the-almost-top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2017.html

The Spousal Qualified Joint Venture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/the-spousal-qualified-joint-venture.html

The Spousal Qualified Joint Venture – Implications for Self-Employment Tax and Federal Farm Program Payment Limitations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/the-spousal-qualified-joint-venture-implications-for-self-employment-tax-and-federal-farm-program-payment-limitations.html

Form a C Corporation – The New Vogue in Business Structure?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/form-a-c-corporation-the-new-vogue-in-business-structure.html

Tax Issues When Forming a C Corporation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/tax-issues-when-forming-a-c-corporation.html

End of Tax Preparation Season Means Tax Seminar Season is About to Begin

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/04/end-of-tax-preparation-season-means-tax-seminar-season-is-about-to-begin.html

Converting a C Corporation to an S Corporation – The Problem of Passive Income

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/converting-a-c-corporation-to-an-s-corporation-the-problem-of-passive-income.html

Valuation Discounting

              https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/valuation-discounting.html

Valuation Discounting – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/valuation-discounting-part-two.html

The Impact of the TCJA on Estates and Trusts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/the-impact-of-the-tcja-on-estates-and-trusts.html

Buy-Sell Agreements for Family Businesses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/06/buy-sell-agreements-for-family-businesses.html

When is an Informal Business Arrangement a Partnership?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/when-is-an-informal-business-arrangement-a-partnership.html

Management Activities and the Passive Loss Rules

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/management-activities-and-the-passive-loss-rules.html

Expense Method Depreciation and Trusts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/expense-method-depreciation-and-trusts.html

Qualified Business Income Deduction – Proposed Regulations

  https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/qualified-business-income-deduction-proposed-regulations.html

Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust – What is it and How Does it Work?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/intentionally-defective-grantor-trust-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work.html

When Can a Corporate Shareholder be Held Liable for Corporate Debts and Liabilities?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/09/when-can-a-corporate-shareholder-be-held-liable-for-corporate-debts-and-liabilities.html

Farm Wealth Transfer and Business Succession – The GRAT

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/09/farm-wealth-transfer-and-business-succession-the-grat.html

Social Security Planning for Farmers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/social-security-planning-for-farmers.html

Corporations Post-TCJA and Anti-Corporate Farming Laws

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/corporations-post-tcja-and-anti-corporate-farming-laws.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

What Happens When a Partner Dies?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/what-happens-when-a-partner-dies.html

What are the Tax Consequences on Sale or Exchange of a Partnership Interest?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/what-are-the-tax-consequences-on-sale-or-exchange-of-a-partnership-interest.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html

CIVIL LIABILITIES

The “Almost Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2017

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/the-almost-top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2017.html

Landlord Liability for Injuries Occurring on Leased Premises

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/03/landlord-liability-for-injuries-occurring-on-leased-premises.html

When Does a Rule of Strict Liability Apply on the Farm?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/03/when-does-a-rule-of-strict-liability-apply-on-the-farm.html

When Can I Shoot My Neighbor’s Dog?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/when-can-i-shoot-my-neighbors-dog.html

Reasonable Foreseeability

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/reasonable-foreseeability.html

What is “Agriculture” for Purposes of Agritourism?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/what-is-agriculture-for-purposes-of-agritourism.html

Negligence – Can You Prove Liability?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/06/negligence-can-you-prove-liability.html

Wind Farm Nuisance Matter Resolved – Buy the Homeowners Out!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/06/wind-farm-nuisance-matter-resolved-buy-the-homeowners-out.html

Torts Down on the Farm

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/torts-down-on-the-farm.html

Roadkill – It’s What’s for Dinner

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/09/roadkill-its-whats-for-dinner.html

What Difference Does it Make if I Post My Property “No Trespassing”?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/09/what-difference-does-it-make-if-i-post-my-property-no-trespassing.html

Liability for Injuries Associated with Horses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/liability-for-injuries-associated-with-horses.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

Developments in Ag Law and Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/developments-in-ag-law-and-tax.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html

CONTRACTS

Is a Farmer a Merchant?  Why it Might Matter

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/is-a-farmer-a-merchant-why-it-might-matter.html

Some Thoughts on the Importance of Leasing Farmland

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/some-thoughts-on-the-importance-of-leasing-farmland.html

Contract Rescission – When Can You Back Out of a Deal?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/06/contract-rescission-when-can-you-back-out-of-a-deal.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

Disclaiming Implied Warranties

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/disclaiming-implied-warranties.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html

COOPERATIVES

The Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deduction – What a Mess!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/the-qualified-business-income-qbi-deduction-what-a-mess.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html

CRIMINAL LIABILITIES

Curtilage – How Much Ag Property is Protected from a Warrantless Search?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/curtilage-how-much-ag-property-is-protected-from-a-warrantless-search.html

Establishing the Elements of a Cruelty to Animals Charge

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/establishing-the-elements-of-a-cruelty-to-animals-charge.html

What Difference Does it Make if I Post My Property “No Trespassing”?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/09/what-difference-does-it-make-if-i-post-my-property-no-trespassing.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

The “Almost Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2017

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/the-almost-top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2017.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2017 (Five through One)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2017-five-through-one.html

Is a CWA Permit Needed for Pollution Discharges via Groundwater?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/03/is-a-cwa-permit-needed-for-pollution-discharges-via-groundwater.html

Non-Tax Ag Provisions and the Omnibus Bill

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/04/non-tax-ag-provisions-in-the-omnibus-bill.html

Wetlands and Farm Programs – Does NRCS Understand the Rules?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/06/wetlands-and-farm-programs-does-nrcs-understand-the-rules.html

Regulation of Wetlands and “Ipse Dixit” Determinations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/regulation-of-wetlands-and-ipse-dixit-determinations.html

WOTUS Developments

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/wotus-developments.html

Does the Migratory Bird Treaty Act Apply to Farmers?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/does-the-migratory-bird-treaty-act-apply-to-farmers.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

Is Groundwater a “Point Source” Pollutant?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/is-groundwater-a-point-source-pollutant.html

“Waters of the United States” Means “Frozen Soil”?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/waters-of-the-united-states-means-frozen-soil.html

Developments in Ag Law and Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/developments-in-ag-law-and-tax.html

Can an Endangered Species be Protected in Areas Where it Can’t Survive?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/can-an-endangered-species-be-protected-in-areas-where-it-cant-survive.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html

ESTATE PLANNING

The “Almost Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2017

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/the-almost-top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2017.html

The Tax Cuts and Job Acts – How Does it Impact Estate Planning?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/the-tax-cuts-and-jobs-act-how-does-it-impact-estate-planning.html

What’s the Charitable Deduction for Donations From a Trust?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/whats-the-charitable-deduction-for-donations-from-a-trust.html

The Spousal Qualified Joint Venture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/the-spousal-qualified-joint-venture.html

Why Clarity in Will/Trust Language Matters

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/why-clarity-in-willtrust-language-matters.html

Some Thoughts on the Importance of Leasing Farmland

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/some-thoughts-on-the-importance-of-leasing-farmland.html

End of Tax Preparation Season Means Tax Seminar Season is About to Begin

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/04/end-of-tax-preparation-season-means-tax-seminar-season-is-about-to-begin.html

Modifying an Irrevocable Trust – Decanting

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/04/modifying-an-irrevocable-trust-decanting.html

Valuation Discounting – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/valuation-discounting-part-two.html

The Impact of the TCJA on Estates and Trusts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/the-impact-of-the-tcja-on-estates-and-trusts.html

Impact of Post-Death Events on Valuation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/06/impact-of-post-death-events-on-valuation.html

Beneficiary Designations, Changed Circumstances and the Contracts Clause

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/beneficiary-designations-changed-circumstances-and-the-contracts-clause.html

Qualified Business Income Deduction – Proposed Regulations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/qualified-business-income-deduction-proposed-regulations.html

Spousal Joint Tendencies and Income Tax Basis

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/09/spousal-joint-tenancies-and-income-tax-basis.html

Farm and Ranch Estate Planning in 2018 and Forward

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/farm-and-ranch-estate-planning-in-2018-and-forward.html

The TCJA, Charitable Giving and a Donor-Advised Fund

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/the-tcja-charitable-giving-and-a-donor-advised-fund.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

Unpaid Tax at Death – How Long Does IRS Have to Collect?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/unpaid-tax-at-death-how-long-does-irs-have-to-collect.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html

INCOME TAX

The “Almost Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2017

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/the-almost-top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2017.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2017 (Five through One)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2017-five-through-one.html

The Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deduction – What a Mess!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/the-qualified-business-income-qbi-deduction-what-a-mess.html

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – How Does it Impact Estate Planning?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/the-tax-cuts-and-jobs-act-how-does-it-impact-estate-planning.html

What’s the Charitable Deduction for Donations from a Trust?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/whats-the-charitable-deduction-for-donations-from-a-trust.html

Can Farmers Currently Deduct Research Expenditures?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/can-farmers-currently-deduct-research-expenditures.html

Innovation on the Farm – Will the Research and Development Credit Apply?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/innovation-on-the-farm-will-the-research-and-development-credit-apply.html

What Happens When the IRS Deems an Ag Activity to Be a Hobby?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/what-happens-when-the-irs-deems-an-ag-activity-to-be-a-hobby.html

The Spousal Qualified Joint Venture – Implications for Self-Employment Tax and Federal Farm Program Payment Limitations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/the-spousal-qualified-joint-venture-implications-for-self-employment-tax-and-federal-farm-program-payment-limitations.html

Livestock Sold or Destroyed Because of Disease

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/livestock-sold-or-destroyed-because-of-disease.html

Form a C Corporation – The New Vogue in Business Structure?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/form-a-c-corporation-the-new-vogue-in-business-structure.html

Deductible Repairs Versus Capitalization

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/03/deductible-repairs-versus-capitalization.html

The Tax Treatment of Farming Net Operating Losses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/03/the-tax-treatment-of-farming-net-operating-losses.html

Congress Modifies the Qualified Business Income Deduction

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/03/congress-modifies-the-qualified-business-income-deduction.html

IRS Collections – The Basics

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/03/irs-collections-the-basics-.html

Tax Issues Associated with Oil and Gas Production

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/03/tax-issues-associated-with-oil-and-gas-production.html

Refundable Fuel Credits – Following the Rules Matters

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/04/refundable-fuel-credits-following-the-rules-matters.html

Distinguishing Between a Capital Lease and an Operating Lease

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/04/distinguishing-between-a-capital-lease-and-an-operating-lease.html

End of Tax Preparation Season Means Tax Seminar Season is About to Begin

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/04/end-of-tax-preparation-season-means-tax-seminar-season-is-about-to-begin.html

Passive Activities and Grouping

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/04/passive-activities-and-grouping.html

Divorce and the New Tax Law – IRS Grants Some Relief

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/04/divorce-and-the-new-tax-law-irs-grants-some-relief.html

Gifts of Ag Commodities to Children and the New Tax Law

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/04/gifts-of-ag-commodities-to-children-and-the-new-tax-law.html

Post-Death Sale of Crops and Livestock

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/04/post-death-sale-of-crops-and-livestock.html

Is There a Downside Risk to E-Filing Your Taxes?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/is-there-a-downside-risk-to-e-filing-your-taxes.html

Purchase and Sale Allocations to CRP Contracts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/purchase-and-sale-allocations-to-crp-contracts.html

Converting a C Corporation to an S Corporation – The Problem of Passive Income

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/converting-a-c-corporation-to-an-s-corporation-the-problem-of-passive-income.html

The Impact of the TCJA on Estates and Trusts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/the-impact-of-the-tcja-on-estates-and-trusts.html

The TCJA and I.R.C. 529 Plans

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/the-tcja-and-irc-529-plans.html

Farmers, Self-Employment Tax, and Personal Property Leases

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/06/farmers-self-employment-tax-and-personal-property-leases.html

State Taxation of Online Sales

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/06/state-taxation-of-online-sales.html

The Depletion Deduction for Oil and Gas Operations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/the-depletion-deduction-for-oil-and-gas-operations.html

Charitable Giving Post-2017

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/charitable-giving-post-2017.html

When is an Informal Business Arrangement a Partnership?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/when-is-an-informal-business-arrangement-a-partnership.html

Management Activities and the Passive Loss Rules

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/management-activities-and-the-passive-loss-rules.html

Tax Issues on Repossession of Farmland

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/tax-issues-on-repossession-of-farmland.html

Outline of Tax Proposals Released

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/outline-of-tax-proposals-released.html

Life Estate/Remainder Arrangements and Income Tax Basis

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/life-estateremainder-arrangements-and-income-tax-basis-.html

Expense Method Depreciation and Trusts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/expense-method-depreciation-and-trusts.html

Qualified Business Income Deduction – Proposed Regulations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/qualified-business-income-deduction-proposed-regulations.html

The Qualified Business Income Deduction and “W-2 Wages”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/the-qualified-business-income-deduction-and-w-2-wages.html

Tax Consequences on Partition and Sale of Land

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/09/tax-consequences-on-partition-and-sale-of-land.html

Deducting Residual Soil Fertility

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/09/deducting-residual-soil-fertility.html

Social Security Planning for Farmers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/social-security-planning-for-farmers.html

Eliminating Capital Gain Tax – Qualified Opportunity Zones

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/eliminating-capital-gain-tax-qualified-opportunity-zones.html

The TCJA, Charitable Giving and a Donor-Advised Fund

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/the-tcja-charitable-giving-and-a-donor-advised-fund.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

What is Depreciable Farm Real Property?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/what-is-depreciable-farm-real-property.html

What is “Like-Kind” Real Estate?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/what-is-like-kind-real-estate.html

Developments in Ag Law and Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/developments-in-ag-law-and-tax.html

Trusts and Like-Kind Exchanges

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/trusts-and-like-kind-exchanges.html

Unpaid Tax at Death – How Long Does IRS Have to Collect?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/unpaid-tax-at-death-how-long-does-irs-have-to-collect.html

Non-Depreciable Items on the Farm or Ranch

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/non-depreciable-items-on-the-farm-or-ranch.html

What are the Tax Consequences on Sale or Exchange of a Partnership Interest?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/what-are-the-tax-consequences-on-sale-or-exchange-of-a-partnership-interest.html

Expense Method Depreciation and Structures on the Farm

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/expense-method-depreciation-and-structures-on-the-farm.html

Deduction Costs Associated with Items Purchased for Resale

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/sale-of-items-purchased-for-resale.html

Claiming Business Deductions? – Maintain Good Records, and… Hire a Tax Preparer

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/income-tax/page/7/

Depletion – What is it and When is it Available?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/depletion-what-is-it-and-when-is-it-available.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html

INSURANCE

Beneficiary Designations, Changed Circumstances and the Contracts Clause

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/beneficiary-designations-changed-circumstances-and-the-contracts-clause.html

Recent Developments Involving Crop Insurance

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/recent-developments-involving-crop-insurance.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

Farm Liability Policies – Are All Activities on the Farm Covered?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/farm-liability-policies-are-all-activities-on-the-farm-covered.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html

REAL PROPERTY

In-Kind Partition and Adverse Possession – Two Important Concepts in Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/in-kind-partition-and-adverse-possession-two-important-concepts-in-agriculture.html

Some Thoughts on the Importance of Leasing Farmland

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/some-thoughts-on-the-importance-of-leasing-farmland.html

Prescriptive Easements and Adverse Possession – Obtaining Title to Land Without Paying for It

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/03/prescriptive-easements-and-adverse-possession-obtaining-title-to-land-without-paying-for-it.html

Purchase and Sale Allocations to CRP Contracts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/05/purchase-and-sale-allocations-to-crp-contracts.html

Tax Issues on Repossession of Farmland

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/tax-issues-on-repossession-of-farmland.html

The Accommodation Doctrine – Working Out Uses Between Surfaces and Subsurface Owners

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/09/the-accommodation-doctrine-working-out-uses-between-surface-and-subsurface-owners.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

What is “Like-Kind” Real Estate?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/what-is-like-kind-real-estate.html

Negative Easements – Is There a Right to Unobstructed Light, Air, or View?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/negative-easements-is-their-a-right-to-unobstructed-light-air-or-view.html

 The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html

REGULATORY LAW

The “Almost Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2017

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/the-almost-top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2017.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2017 (Ten through Six)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2017-ten-through-six.html

Is There a Constitutional Way to Protect Animal Ag Facilities?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/is-there-a-constitutional-way-to-protect-animal-ag-facilities.html

Trade Issues and Tariffs – Are Agriculture’s Concerns Legitimate?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/03/trade-issues-and-tariffs-are-agricultures-concerns-legitimate.html

Federal Crop Insurance – Some Recent Case Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/04/federal-crop-insurance-some-recent-case-developments.html

Non-Tax Ag Provisions in the Omnibus Bill

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/04/non-tax-ag-provisions-in-the-omnibus-bill.html

Are Mandatory Assessments for Generic Advertising of Ag Commodities Constitutional?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/06/are-mandatory-assessments-for-generic-advertising-of-ag-commodities-constitutional.html

Wind Farm Nuisance Matter Resolved – Buy the Homeowners Out!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/06/wind-farm-nuisance-matter-resolved-buy-the-homeowners-out.html

Regulation of Wetlands and “Ipse Dixit” Determinations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/regulation-of-wetlands-and-ipse-dixit-determinations.html

Ag Employment – Verifying the Legal Status of Employees

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/ag-employment-verifying-the-legal-status-of-employees.html

Roadkill – It’s What’s for Dinner

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/09/roadkill-its-whats-for-dinner.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

“Waters of the United States” Means “Frozen Soil”?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/waters-of-the-united-states-means-frozen-soil.html

How Long Can a Train Block a Crossing?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/11/how-long-can-a-train-block-a-crossing.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html  

SECURED TRANSACTIONS

Ag Finance – Getting the Debtor’s Name Correct on the Financing Statements

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/ag-finance-getting-the-debtors-name-correct-on-the-financing-statement.html

What Are “Proceeds” of Crops and Livestock?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/09/what-are-proceeds-of-crops-and-livestock.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html

SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES

Agricultural Law and Economics Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/07/agricultural-law-and-economics-conference.html

Summer Farm Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/02/summer-farm-income-taxestate-and-business-planning-conference.html

Upcoming Seminars

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/08/upcoming-seminars.html

Fall Tax Seminars

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/09/fall-tax-seminars.html

Year-End Ag Tax Seminar/Webinar

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/year-end-ag-tax-seminarwebinar.html

WATER LAW

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2017 (Ten through Six)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2017-ten-through-six.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2017 (Five through One)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2017-five-through-one.html

The Accommodation Doctrine – Working on Uses Between Surface and Subsurface Owners

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/09/the-accommodation-doctrine-working-out-uses-between-surface-and-subsurface-owners.html

Agricultural Law Online!

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/10/agricultural-law-online.html

Drainage Issues – Rules for Handling Excess Surface Water

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/drainage-issues-rules-for-handling-excess-surface-water.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2018

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2018/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018.html  

March 21, 2021 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Ag Law and Taxation - 2019 Bibliography

Overview

Today's post is a bibliography of my ag law and tax blog articles of 2019.  Many of you have requested that I provide something like this to make it easier to find the articles, and last month I posted the bibliography of the 2020 articles.  Soon I will post the bibliography of the 2018 articles and then 2017 and 2016. 

The library of content is piling up.

Cataloging the 2019 ag law and tax blog articles - it's the topic of today's post.

BANKRUPTCY

Non-Dischargeable Debts in Bankruptcy

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/02/non-dischargeable-debts-in-bankruptcy.html

Developments in Agricultural Law and Taxation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/developments-in-agricultural-law-and-taxation.html

More Recent Developments in Agricultural Law

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/more-recent-developments-in-agricultural-law.html

More Ag Law and Tax Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/more-ag-law-and-tax-developments.html

Farmers, Bankruptcy and the “Absolute Priority” Rule

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/farmers-bankruptcy-and-the-absolute-priority-rule.html

Ag in the Courtroom

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/ag-in-the-courtroom.html

Key Farm Bankruptcy Modification on the Horizon?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/key-farm-bankruptcy-modification-on-the-horizon.html

Ag Legal Issues in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/08/ag-legal-issues-in-the-courts.html

Are Taxes Dischargeable in Bankruptcy?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/are-taxes-dischargeable-in-bankruptcy.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2019

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2019.html 

BUSINESS PLANNING

Can a State Tax a Trust with No Contact with the State?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/02/can-a-state-tax-a-trust-with-no-contact-with-the-state.html

Real Estate Professionals and Aggregation – The Passive Loss Rules

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/real-estate-professionals-and-aggregation-the-passive-loss-rules.html  

More Recent Developments in Agricultural Law

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/more-recent-developments-in-agricultural-law.html

Self-Rentals and the Passive Loss Rules

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/04/self-rentals-and-the-passive-loss-rules.html    

What’s the Best Entity Structure for the Farm or Ranch Business?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/whats-the-best-entity-structure-for-the-farm-or-ranch-business.html

Where Does Life Insurance Fit in an Estate Plan for a Farmer or Rancher?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/where-does-life-insurance-fit-in-an-estate-plan-for-a-farmer-or-rancher.html

Recent Developments in Farm and Ranch Business Planning

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/recent-developments-in-farm-and-ranch-business-planning.html

ESOPs and Ag Businesses – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/esops-and-ag-businesses-part-one.html

ESOPs and Ag Businesses – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/esops-and-ag-businesses-part-two.html

Is a Discount for The BIG Tax Available?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/08/is-a-discount-for-the-big-tax-available.html

Tax Consequences of Forgiving Installment Payment Debt

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/tax-consequences-of-forgiving-installment-payment-debt.html

Ag Law and Tax in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/ag-law-and-tax-in-the-courts.html

Shareholder Loans and S Corporation Stock Basis

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/shareholder-loans-and-s-corporation-stock-basis.html

The Family Limited Partnership – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/the-family-limited-partnership-part-one.html

The Family Limited Partnership – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/the-family-limited-partnership-part-two.html

Does the Sale of Farmland Trigger Net Investment Income Tax?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/does-the-sale-of-farmland-trigger-net-investment-income-tax.html

Some Thoughts on Ag Estate/Business/Succession Planning

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/11/some-thoughts-on-ag-estatebusinesssuccession-planning.html

S Corporation Considerations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/11/s-corporation-considerations.html

CIVIL LIABILITIES

When is an Employer Liable for the Conduct of Workers?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/when-is-an-employer-liable-for-the-conduct-of-workers.html

Selected Recent Cases Involving Agricultural Law

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/selected-recent-cases-involving-agricultural-law.html

Ag Nuisances – Basic Principles

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/02/ag-nuisances-basic-principles.html

Do the Roundup Jury Verdicts Have Meaning For My Farming Operation?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/04/do-the-roundup-jury-verdicts-have-meaning-for-my-farming-operation.html

What Does a “Reasonable Farmer” Know?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/04/what-does-a-reasonable-farmer-know.html

Product Liability Down on the Farm - Modifications

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/product-liability-down-on-the-farm-modifications.html

Coming-To-The-Nuisance By Staying Put – Or, When 200 Equals 8,000

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/coming-to-the-nuisance-by-staying-put-or-when-200-equals-8000.html

More Ag Law and Tax Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/more-ag-law-and-tax-developments.html

Public Trust vs. Private Rights – Where’s the Line?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/public-trust-vs-private-rights-wheres-the-line.html

Ag Law in the Courts

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/11/ag-law-in-the-courts.html

Fence Law Basics

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/11/fence-law-basics.html

CONTRACTS

Negotiating Cell/Wireless Tower Agreements

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/negotiating-cellwireless-tower-agreements.html

Developments in Agricultural Law and Taxation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/developments-in-agricultural-law-and-taxation.html

Ag Contracts – What if Goods Don’t Conform to the Contract?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/ag-contracts-what-if-goods-dont-conform-to-the-contract.html

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

Top 10 Developments in Ag Law and Tax for 2018 – Numbers 10 and 9

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/top-10-developments-in-ag-law-and-tax-for-2018-numbers-10-and-9.html

Top 10 Developments in Ag Law and Tax for 2018 – Numbers 8 and 7

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/top-10-developments-in-ag-law-and-tax-for-2018-numbers-8-and-7.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2018 – Numbers 6, 5, and 4

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018-numbers-6-5-and-4.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2018 – Numbers 3, 2, and 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018-numbers-3-2-and-1.html

Big EPA Developments – WOTUS and Advisory Committees

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/02/big-epa-developments-wotus-and-advisory-committees.html

Does Soil Erosion Pose a Constitutional Issue?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/04/does-soil-erosion-pose-a-constitutional-issue.html

Public Trust vs. Private Rights – Where’s the Line?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/public-trust-vs-private-rights-wheres-the-line.html

More Ag Law and Tax Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/more-ag-law-and-tax-developments.html

Eminent Domain and Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/eminent-domain-and-agriculture.html

Court Decisions Illustrates USDA’s Swampbuster “Incompetence”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/08/court-decision-illustrates-usdas-swampbuster-incompetence.html

Regulatory Changes to the Endangered Species Act

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/regulatory-changes-to-the-endangered-species-act.html

Irrigation Return Flows and the Clean Water Act

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/irrigation-return-flows-and-the-clean-water-act.html

Ag Law in the Courts

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/ag-law-in-the-courts.html

Regulatory Takings – Pursuing a Remedy

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/regulatory-takings-pursuing-a-remedy.html

Does a Pollutant Discharge From Groundwater into a WOTUS Require a Federal Permit?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/11/does-a-pollutant-discharge-from-groundwater-into-a-wotus-require-a-federal-permit.html

Groundwater Discharges of Pollutants and the Supreme Court

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/11/groundwater-discharges-of-pollutants-and-the-supreme-court.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2019

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2019.html

ESTATE PLANNING

Tax Filing Season Update and Summer Seminar!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/tax-filing-season-update-and-summer-seminar.html

Time to Review Estate Planning Documents?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/02/time-to-review-of-estate-planning-documents.html

Can a State Tax a Trust with No Contact with the State?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/02/can-a-state-tax-a-trust-with-no-contact-with-the-state.html

Estate Planning in Second Marriage Situations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/02/estate-planning-in-second-marriage-situations.html

Valuing Non-Cash Charitable Gifts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/valuing-non-cash-charitable-gifts.html

Real Estate Professionals and Aggregation – The Passive Loss Rules

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/real-estate-professionals-and-aggregation-the-passive-loss-rules.html

Can the IRS Collect Unpaid Estate Tax From the Beneficiaries?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/can-the-irs-collect-unpaid-estate-tax-from-the-beneficiaries.html

Sale of the Personal Residence After Death

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/sale-of-the-personal-residence-after-death.html

More Recent Developments in Agricultural Law

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/more-recent-developments-in-agricultural-law.html

Thrills with Wills – When is a Will “Unduly Influenced”?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/04/thrills-with-wills-when-is-a-will-unduly-influenced.html

Heirs Liable for Unpaid Federal Estate Tax 28 Years After Death

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/heirs-liable-for-unpaid-federal-estate-tax-28-years-after-death.html

What’s the Best Entity Structure for the Farm or Ranch Business?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/whats-the-best-entity-structure-for-the-farm-or-ranch-business.html

Where Does Life Insurance Fit in an Estate Plan for a Farmer or Rancher?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/where-does-life-insurance-fit-in-an-estate-plan-for-a-farmer-or-rancher.html

Recent Developments in Farm and Ranch Business Planning

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/recent-developments-in-farm-and-ranch-business-planning.html

Wayfair Does Not Mean That a State Can Always Tax a Trust Beneficiary

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/wayfair-does-not-mean-that-a-state-can-always-tax-a-trust-beneficiary.html

ESOPs and Ag Businesses – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/esops-and-ag-businesses-part-one.html

Issues in Estate Planning – Agents, Promises, and Trustees

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/issues-in-estate-planning-agents-promises-and-trustees.html

The Importance of Income Tax Basis “Step-Up” at Death

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/the-importance-of-income-tax-basis-step-up-at-death.html

Ag Law in the Courts

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/11/ag-law-in-the-courts.html

Co-Tenancy or Joint Tenancy – Does it Really Matter?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/11/co-tenancy-or-joint-tenancy-does-it-really-matter.html

Year-End Legislation Contains Tax Extenders, Repealers, and Modifications to Retirement Provisions

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/12/year-end-legislation-contains-tax-extenders-repealers-and-modification-to-retirement-provisions.html

INCOME TAX

Top 10 Developments in Ag Law and Tax for 2018 – Numbers 10 and 9

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/top-10-developments-in-ag-law-and-tax-for-2018-numbers-10-and-9.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2018 – Numbers 6, 5, and 4

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018-numbers-6-5-and-4.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2018 – Numbers 3, 2, and 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018-numbers-3-2-and-1.html

Tax Filing Season Update and Summer Seminar!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/tax-filing-season-update-and-summer-seminar.html

QBID Final Regulations on Aggregation and Rents – The Meaning for Farm and Ranch Businesses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/qbid-final-regulations-on-aggregation-and-rents-the-meaning-for-farm-and-ranch-businesses.html

The QBID Final Regulations – The “Rest of the Story”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/the-qbid-final-regulations-the-rest-of-the-story.html

Can a State Tax a Trust with No Contact with the State?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/02/can-a-state-tax-a-trust-with-no-contact-with-the-state.html

Tax Matters – Where Are We Now?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/02/tax-matters-where-are-we-now.html

New Developments on Exclusion of Employer-Provided Meals

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/02/new-development-on-exclusion-of-employer-provided-meals.html

Valuing Non-Cash Charitable Gifts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/valuing-non-cash-charitable-gifts.html

Passive Losses and Material Participation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/passive-losses-and-material-participation.html

Passive Losses and Real Estate Professionals

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/passive-losses-and-real-estate-professionals.html

Developments in Agricultural Law and Taxation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/developments-in-agricultural-law-and-taxation.html

Real Estate Professionals and Aggregation – The Passive Loss Rules

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/real-estate-professionals-and-aggregation-the-passive-loss-rules.html

Sale of the Personal Residence After Death

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/sale-of-the-personal-residence-after-death.html

Cost Segregation Study – Do You Need One for Your Farm?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/cost-segregation-study-do-you-need-one-for-your-farm.html

Cost Segregation – Risk and Benefits

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/04/cost-segregation-risks-and-benefits.html

Permanent Conservation Easement Donation Transactions Find Their Way to the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/04/permanent-conservation-easement-donation-transactions-find-their-way-to-the-irs-dirty-dozen-list.html

Self-Rentals and the Passive Loss Rules

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/04/self-rentals-and-the-passive-loss-rules.html

More on Self-Rentals

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/04/more-on-self-rentals.html

Of Black-Holes, Tax Refunds, and Statutory Construction

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/04/of-black-holes-tax-refunds-and-statutory-construction.html

What Happened in Tax During Tax Season?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/04/what-happened-in-tax-during-tax-season.html

Cost Segregation and the Recapture Issue

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/cost-segregation-and-the-recapture-issue.html

S.E. Tax and Contract Production Income

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/se-tax-and-contract-production-income.html

Recent Developments in Farm and Ranch Business Planning

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/recent-developments-in-farm-and-ranch-business-planning.html

Ag Cooperatives and the QBID – Initial Guidance

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/ag-cooperatives-and-the-qbid-initial-guidance.html

Wayfair Does Not Mean That a State Can Always Tax a Trust Beneficiary

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/wayfair-does-not-mean-that-a-state-can-always-tax-a-trust-beneficiary.html

Start Me Up! – Tax Treatment of Start-Up Expenses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/start-me-up-tax-treatment-of-start-up-expenses.html

More on Real Estate Exchanges

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/more-on-real-estate-exchanges.html

2019 Tax Planning for Midwest/Great Plains Farmers and Ranchers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/2019-tax-planning-for-midwestgreat-plains-farmers-and-ranchers.html

Tax Treatment of Settlements and Court Judgments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/tax-treatment-of-settlements-and-court-judgments.html

ESOPs and Ag Businesses – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/esops-and-ag-businesses-part-one.html 

Tax “Math” on Jury Verdicts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/tax-math-on-jury-verdicts.html

Kansas Revenue Department Takes Aggressive Position Against Remote Sellers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/08/kansas-revenue-department-take-aggressive-position-against-remote-sellers.html

Tax-Deferred Exchanges and Conservation Easements

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/08/tax-deferred-exchanges-and-conservation-easements.html

Proper Handling of Breeding Fees

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/08/proper-handling-of-breeding-fees.html

Proper Tax Reporting of Commodity Wages

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/08/proper-tax-reporting-of-commodity-wages.html

Tax Consequences of Forgiving Installment Payment Debt

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/tax-consequences-of-forgiving-installment-payment-debt.html

Are Taxes Dischargeable in Bankruptcy?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/are-taxes-dischargeable-in-bankruptcy.html

Ag Law and Tax in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/ag-law-and-tax-in-the-courts.html

Refund Claim Relief Due to Financial Disability

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/refund-claim-relief-due-to-financial-disability.html

Shareholder Loans and S Corporation Stock Basis

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/shareholder-loans-and-s-corporation-stock-basis.html

The Family Limited Partnership – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/the-family-limited-partnership-part-two.html

Hobby Losses Post-2017 and Pre-2026 – The Importance of Establishing a Profit Motive

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/hobby-losses-post-2017-and-pre-2026-the-importance-of-establishing-a-profit-motive.html

The Importance of Income Tax Basis “Step-Up” at Death

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/the-importance-of-income-tax-basis-step-up-at-death.html

Bad Debt Deduction

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/bad-debt-deduction.html

More on Cost Depletion – Bonus Payments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/more-on-cost-depletion-bonus-payments.html

Recapture – A Dirty Word in the Tax Code Lingo

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/recapture-a-dirty-word-in-tax-code-lingo.html

Does the Sale of Farmland Trigger Net Investment Income Tax?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/does-the-sale-of-farmland-trigger-net-investment-income-tax.html

Are Director Fees Subject to Self-Employment Tax?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/are-director-fees-subject-to-self-employment-tax.html

Are Windbreaks Depreciable?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/11/are-windbreaks-depreciable.html

Tax Issues Associated with Restructuring Credit Lines

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/12/tax-issues-associated-with-restructuring-credit-lines.html

Is a Tenancy-in-Common Interest Eligible for Like-Kind Exchange Treatment?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/12/is-a-tenancy-in-common-interest-eligible-for-like-kind-exchange-treatment.html

Year-End Legislation Contains Tax Extenders, Repealers, and Modifications to Retirement Provisions

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/12/year-end-legislation-contains-tax-extenders-repealers-and-modification-to-retirement-provisions.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2019

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2019.html

INSURANCE

Prevented Planting Payments – Potential Legal Issues?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/prevented-planting-payments-potential-legal-issues.html

Ag Law in the Courts

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/11/ag-law-in-the-courts.html

REAL PROPERTY

 Negotiating Cell/Wireless Tower Agreements

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/negotiating-cellwireless-tower-agreements.html

Selected Recent Cases Involving Agricultural Law

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/selected-recent-cases-involving-agricultural-law.html

The Accommodation Doctrine – More Court Action

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/the-accommodation-doctrine-more-court-action.html

Defects in Real Estate Deeds – Will Time Cure All?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/02/defects-in-real-estate-deeds-will-time-cure-all.html

Is there a Common-Law Right to Hunt (and Fish) Your Own Land?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/02/is-there-a-common-law-right-to-hunt-and-fish-your-own-land.html

Legal Issues Associated with Abandoned Railways

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/legal-issues-associated-with-abandoned-railways.html

Public Trust vs. Private Rights – Where’s the Line?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/public-trust-vs-private-rights-wheres-the-line.html

Ag in the Courtroom

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/ag-in-the-courtroom.html

More on Real Estate Exchanges

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/more-on-real-estate-exchanges.html

How Does the Rule Against Perpetuities Apply in the Oil and Gas Context?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/08/how-does-the-rule-against-perpetuities-apply-in-the-oil-and-gas-context.html

Ag Law in the Courts

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/ag-law-in-the-courts.html

Cost Depletion of Minerals

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/cost-depletion-of-minerals.html

Co-Tenancy or Joint Tenancy – Does it Really Matter?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/11/co-tenancy-or-joint-tenancy-does-it-really-matter.html

“Slip Slidin’ Away” – The Right of Lateral and Subjacent Support

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/12/slip-slidin-away-the-right-of-lateral-and-subjacent-support.html

Is a Tenancy-in-Common Interest Eligible for Like-Kind Exchange Treatment?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/12/is-a-tenancy-in-common-interest-eligible-for-like-kind-exchange-treatment.html

REGULATORY LAW

Top 10 Developments in Ag Law and Tax for 2018 – Numbers 10 and 9

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/top-10-developments-in-ag-law-and-tax-for-2018-numbers-10-and-9.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2018 – Numbers 6, 5, and 4

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018-numbers-6-5-and-4.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2018 – Numbers 3, 2, and 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2018-numbers-3-2-and-1.html

Is There a Common-Law Right to Hunt (and Fish) Your Own Land?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/02/is-there-a-common-law-right-to-hunt-and-fish-your-own-land.html

Packers and Stockyards Act – Basic Provisions

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/packers-and-stockyards-act-basic-provisions.html

Packers and Stockyards Act Provisions for Unpaid Cash Sellers of Livestock

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/packers-and-stockyards-act-provisions-for-unpaid-cash-sellers-of-livestock.html

More Recent Developments in Agricultural Law

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/03/more-recent-developments-in-agricultural-law.html

Ag Antitrust – Is There a Crack in the Wall of the “Mighty-Mighty” (Illinois) Brick House?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/ag-antitrust-is-there-a-crack-in-the-wall-of-the-mighty-mighty-illinois-brick-house.html

Can Foreign Persons/Entities Own U.S. Agricultural Land?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/can-foreign-personsentities-own-us-agricultural-land.html

Prevented Planting Payments – Potential Legal Issues?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/prevented-planting-payments-potential-legal-issues.html

Eminent Domain and Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/eminent-domain-and-agriculture.html

Classification of Seasonal Ag Workers – Why It Matters

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/classification-of-seasonal-ag-workers-why-it-matters.html

Administrative Agency Deference – Little Help for Ag From the Supreme Court

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/06/administrative-agency-deference-little-help-for-ag-from-the-supreme-court.html

Regulation of Food Products

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/regulation-of-food-products.html

Ag Legal Issues in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/08/ag-legal-issues-in-the-courts.html

Kansas Revenue Department Takes Aggressive Position Against Remote Sellers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/08/kansas-revenue-department-take-aggressive-position-against-remote-sellers.html

Court Decision Illustrates USDA’s Swampbuster “Incompetence”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/08/court-decision-illustrates-usdas-swampbuster-incompetence.html

Ag Law and Tax in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/09/ag-law-and-tax-in-the-courts.html

Regulatory Takings – Pursuing a Remedy

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/regulatory-takings-pursuing-a-remedy.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2019

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/12/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2019.html

SECURED TRANSACTIONS

Market Facilitation Program Pledged as Collateral – What are the Rights of a Lender?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/market-facilitation-program-payments-pledged-as-collateral-what-are-the-rights-of-a-lender.html

SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES

Summer 2019 Farm and Ranch Tax and Estate/Business Planning Seminar

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/04/summer-2019-farm-and-ranch-tax-and-estatebusiness-planning-seminar.html

2019 National Ag Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conference in Steamboat Springs!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/05/2019-national-ag-taxestate-and-business-planning-conference-in-steamboat-springs.html

Summer Tax and Estate Planning Seminar!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/07/summer-tax-and-estate-planning-seminar.html

2020 National Summer Ag Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Seminar

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/12/2020-national-summer-ag-income-taxestate-and-business-planning-seminar.html

Fall Seminars

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/08/fall-seminars.html

WATER LAW

The Accommodation Doctrine – More Court Action

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/01/the-accommodation-doctrine-more-court-action.html

Ag Legal Issues in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/08/ag-legal-issues-in-the-courts.html

Ag Law in the Courts

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/ag-law-in-the-courts.html

Regulating Existing Water Rights – How Far Can State Government Go?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/10/regulating-existing-water-rights-how-far-can-state-government-go.html

The Politics of Prior Appropriation – Is a Senior Right Really Senior?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/12/the-politics-of-prior-appropriation-is-a-senior-right-really-senior.html

Changing Water Right Usage

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2019/12/changing-water-right-usage.html

February 28, 2021 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Packers and Stockyards Act Amended - Additional Protection for Unpaid Cash Sellers of Livestock

Overview

The Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) of 1921 provides protection for cash sellers of livestock to parties that the PSA covers.  However, many times a livestock seller may sell to a buyer that the PSA does not apply to.  A new law enacted in late 2020 as part of a massive spending bill addresses the issue by amending the PSA to provide a statutory trust for unpaid cash sellers of livestock to a livestock “dealer.”

The recent creation of a livestock dealer trust – it’s the topic of today’s post.

The PSA

The PSA was enacted with the purpose of ensuring fair competition in and trade practices involving livestock marketing, meat and poultry.  7 U.S.C. §§181-229.  See also Armour & Company v. United States, 402 F.2d 712 (7th Cir. 1968).  The scope of the PSA is quite broad, vesting in the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) wide discretion to investigate and regulate all activities connected with livestock marketing.  See, e.g., Rice v. Wilcox, 630 F.2d 586 (8th Cir. 1980)

What happens when a livestock packer, market agency or a livestock dealer fails to pay for livestock that it buys from a livestock seller?  Under the PSA, two provisions come into play - the “prompt payment rule and the creation of a statutory trust.

PSA Rules Governing Payment For Livestock – Longstanding Rules

Prompt payment rule.  The PSA provides for failure to make prompt and full payment for “livestock.”  Livestock is defined to include “cattle, sheep, swine, horses, mules, or goats—whether live or dead.” 7 U.S.C. § 182(4).  Generally, to not be deemed to be engaged in an “unfair practice” under the PSA, a packer must make full payment of the livestock’s purchase price “before the close of the next business day following the purchase of livestock and transfer of possession thereof.”  7 U.S.C. §§228b(a) and (c).  A packer subject to the prompt payment rule is defined as “any person engaged in the business (a) of buying livestock in commerce for purposes of slaughter, or (b) of manufacturing or preparing meats or meat food products for sale or shipment in commerce, or (c) of marketing meats, meat food products, or livestock products in an unmanufactured form acting as a wholesale broker, dealer, or distributor in commerce.”  7 U.S.C. §191.  When livestock is purchased for slaughter, payment must be made to the seller or the seller’s representative at the point of transfer or the funds must be wired to the seller’s account by the close of the next business day.  Id.  If the sale is based on carcass weight, or is a grade/yield sale, the same rule applies once the purchase amount has been determined.  Id.  If the seller (or the seller’s agent) is not present to receive payment at the point of sale, the packer is to either wire the funds to the seller and put a check in the mail for the full amount by the close of the next business day.  Id. 

The prompt payment requirement can be waived by written agreement that is entered into before the purchase or sale of livestock.  7 U.S.C. §228(b)(b).  The regulations provide a format for the waiver.  9 C.F.R. §201.200(a).  The agreement must be disclosed in the business records of the buyer and the seller, and on the accounts or other documents that the buyer issues relating to the transaction.  7 U.S.C. §228b(b).  But, if the prompt payment requirement is waived, the seller will lose any interest the seller has in the statutory trust (discussed below).  7 U.S.C. §196(c)

The prompt payment rule also applies to “market agencies” and “dealers” in addition to packers (as defined above).  A “market agency” is any person “engaged in the business of (1) buying or selling in commerce livestock on a commission basis or (2) furnishing stockyard services.” 7 U.S.C. §201(c).  Simply denoting “commission” on an invoice does not, by itself, indicate that the sale was on a commission basis.  It’s the nature of the business relationship of the parties and the surrounding facts and circumstances that are determinative.  See, e.g., Ferguson v. United States Department of Agriculture, 911 F.2d 1273 (8th Cir. 1990).  A “dealer” is “any person, not a market agency, engaged in the business of buying or selling in commerce livestock, either on his own account or as the employee or agent of the vendor or purchaser.”  7 U.S.C. §201(d).  In Kelly v. United States, 202 F.2d 838 (10th Cir. 1953)the court said that a person can be a “dealer” even if the buying and selling of livestock is not the person’s only business. 

A violation of the prompt payment rule constitutes an “unfair practice” under the PSA.  7 U.S.C. §228b(c).  The same is true for the issuance of an insufficient funds check and the failure to pay when due.  7 U.S.C. §213(a)7 U.S.C. §228(b). 

The inability to make prompt payment is sometimes tied to the financial condition of the buyer. Consequently, all market agencies are prohibited from operating while insolvent – when current liabilities exceed current assets.  7 U.S.C. §204.  See also United States v. Ocala Livestock Market, Inc., 861 F. Supp. 2d 1328 (M.D. Fla. 2012). 

Statutory packer trust.  For packers with average annual purchases of livestock exceeding $500,000, the PSA establishes a statutory trust for the benefit of unpaid cash sellers.  A “cash sale” is any sale where the seller does not expressly extend credit to the packer.  7 U.S.C. §196(a)Kunkel v. Sprague National Bank, 128 F.3d 636 (8th Cir. 1997).  The provision extends to “all inventories of, or receivables or proceeds from meat, meat food products, or livestock products derived therefrom….”  7 U.S.C. §196(b).  The funds must be held in the trust for the benefit of al unpaid cash sellers of livestock until full payment has been received by the unpaid seller.  Id. 

If a packer files bankruptcy, assets contained in the statutory trust are not part of the bankruptcy estate.  11 U.S.C. §541(d).  This means that the unpaid cash sellers of livestock do not have to compete with the bankrupt debtor’s secured creditors for the assets contained in the trust.  See, e.g., Rogers and King, Collier Farm Bankruptcy Guide §105[1].  Claims for payment from the statutory trust will defeat a properly perfected Uniform Commercial Code lien.  See, e.g., In re Gotham Provision Company, 669 F.2d 1000 (5th Cir. 1982).  Likewise, a bank creditor of a packer is not able to setoff funds held in the statutory trust.  See, e.g., In re Jack-Rich, Inc., 176 B.R. 476 (Bankr. C.D. Ill. 1994).  Also, payment from a statutory trust to livestock sellers are not recoverable as a preference item in bankruptcy.  But, what constitutes cash collateral can present issues. 

An unpaid cash seller can make a claim against trust assets by providing notice to the Secretary within 30 days of the final date for making prompt payment under 7 U.S.C. §228(b) or within 15 business days of being notified that the seller’s check has been dishonored, whichever is later.  7 U.S.C. §196(b); see also 9 C.F.R. §203.15.

The statutory trust requirement does not apply to livestock purchases by market agencies and dealers.  However, payments that a livestock buyer makes to a market agency for sales on commission are considered to be trust funds that must be deposited into a custodial account.  9 C.F.R.§201.42(a), (b).  In other words, a market agency or a dealer must maintain a custodial account for trust funds.    By close of the next business day after an auction, market agencies must deposit into the custodial account:  (1) all proceeds collected from the auction, and (2) an amount equal to the proceeds receivable from the livestock sale that are due from the market agency; any owner, employee, or officer of the market agency; and any buyer to whom the market agency has extended credit. 7 U.S.C. §201.42(c)-(d); 9 C.F.R. §201.42(c).  In addition, a market agency must deposit an amount equal to all of the remaining proceeds receivable into the custodial account within seven days of the auction, even if some of the proceeds remain uncollected.  Id.  Funds in the custodial account can only be withdrawn to remit the net proceeds due a seller, to pay lawful charges which the market agency is required to pay, and to obtain sums due the market agency as compensation for its services.  9 C.F.R. §201.42(d).  A market agency must transmit or deliver the net proceeds received from the sale to the seller by the close of business on the day after the sale.  7 U.S.C. §228b(a)9 C.F.R. §201.43(a). 

To make a statutory trust claim, written notice must be given to the buyer and the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).    The livestock not paid for must be identified along with the date of delivery.  The applicable “look-back” period is 30 days before receipt by the buyer and the Secretary. 

Note:  Effective November 29, 2018, GIPSA is no longer a standalone agency within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), but is contained within the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).  The USDA final rule detailing the reorganization is found at 83 FR 61309 (Nov. 29, 2018).   

Amended PSA - Statutory Dealer Trust

Origin.  H.R. 133, The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, was signed into law in late 2020.  Title VII, Subtitle B, Chapter 2, §763 of the legislation amends the PSA by creating a statutory trust for the benefit of unpaid cash sellers of livestock to a dealer.   Examples of “unpaid cash sellers” that may receive protection from the statutory trust include livestock producersauction markets, and livestock dealers selling to another livestock dealer.  The PSA says a dealer is “any person, not a market agency, engaged in the business of buying or selling in commerce livestock, either on his own account or as the employee or agent of the vendor or purchaser.” 7 U.S.C. § 201(d). Thus, a “dealer” that buys or sells livestock with their own funds, or the funds of their employer, or is acting as an agent in such a transaction is covered.

Covered transactions.  Under the new provision, all cash purchases (any sale where the seller doesn’t extend credit to the buyer) of livestock by a dealer with average annual purchases of $100,000 or more, and all inventories of, or receivables or proceeds from the livestock purchased in a cash sale transaction must be held by the dealer in trust until the unpaid cash sellers have been paid in full.  “Payment in full” does not include an unpaid cash seller that receives a payment instrument that is dishonored.  Indeed, payment is not considered to have been made if a payment instrument that is given in exchange for the livestock is dishonored.  Thus, if the dealer does not pay for livestock at the time of delivery, the dealer must maintain a trust with certain assets until they satisfy the unpaid purchase of livestock. 

What’s in the trust?  Generally, the trust assets include the livestock that the dealer purchases as well as any earnings from the resale of the livestock.  But a dealer need not segregate trust assets for each seller.  Instead, the trust consists of commingled livestock-related assets, and all of the trust assets are subject to claims of an unpaid cash seller to the extent of the seller’s claim. 

Priority rule.  Unpaid cash sellers have first priority as to trust assets.  If the dealer files bankruptcy, the trust assets are not included in the dealer’s bankruptcy estate.  A buyer of livestock subject to the dealer trust receives good title to the livestock if the livestock are received in exchange for the payment of new value, and the livestock are received in good faith without notice that the transfer is a breach of trust. Also, a transfer of livestock that is subject to a dealer trust is not “for value” if the transfer is in satisfaction of an antecedent debt or to a secured party in accordance with a security agreement.  Presumably, payment from a dealer trust to livestock sellers is also not recoverable as a preference item in bankruptcy.  But what constitutes cash collateral can present issues. 

Securing the trust’s benefit.  An unpaid cash seller can lose the benefit of the trust by not giving notice to the dealer in writing of the seller’s claim on the trust and properly filing the notice with the USDA Secretary within 30 days after payment was due if a payment instrument has not been received, or within 15 business days after the date on which the seller receives the notice that the payment instrument promptly presented for payment has been dishonored.  Generally, a dealer’s payment is due before the close of the next business day after the purchase and transfer of possession of livestock.  7 U.S.C. §228b.  When a dealer receives the notice of the seller’s intent to preserve the trust’s benefits, the dealer has 15 business days to give notice to all persons who have a recorded security interest in or lien on the livestock held in the trust. 

Enforcement.  Enforcement of a dealer trust lies with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.    Whenever the Secretary believes that a dealer has failed to comply with the dealer trust provisions or that action would otherwise be in the best interest of an unpaid cash seller, the Secretary is to either appoint an independent trustee to preserve the trust assets and enforce the trust or file suit in the federal district court in the jurisdiction of the dealer’s location.  In the alternative, an unpaid cash seller can sue to enforce the trust. 

Conclusion

The PSA is a major piece of legislation significantly regulating livestock sales involving covered entities.  It provides a level of protection for livestock sellers in terms of ensuring payment.  In addition, it is a good practice for lenders that finance PSA-covered entities to ensure that these entities promptly pay for all livestock purchased. Now, the PSA statutory trust rules cover “dealers” in livestock and provide additional protection for unpaid cash sellers of livestock.  The dealer statutory trust provision is applicable to covered transactions occurring on and after date of enactment. Lenders should take note.   

February 21, 2021 in Regulatory Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 15, 2021

Prescribed Burning Legal Issues

Overview

The calendar indicates that the time for conducting open burns of agricultural land is approaching.  In the Great Plains (and also some areas of eastern Washington and Oregon), prescribed burning of pasture grass is a critical component of rangeland management.  It is an effective and affordable means of reversing and controlling the negative impacts of woody plant growth and its expansion that damages native grasslands.  It can also play a role in limiting wildfire risk.  But some landowners are reluctant to engage in prescribed (controlled) burns out of a concern for liability and casualty risks associated with escaped fire and smoke.  While some states in the Great Plains have “burn bans,” agricultural-related burns are typically not prohibited during such bans. 

The legal rules, regulations and liability risks associated with prescribed burning of agricultural lands – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Regulations – The Kansas Approach

The states that comprise the Great Plains have regulations governing the conduct of prescribed burns. The regulations among the states have commonalities, but there are distinctions from state-to-state.  In addition, in some states, open burning bans can be imposed in the interest of public safety but exempt agricultural-related burns.  For purposes of this article, I will look at the Kansas regulations. 

Kansas administrative regulations set forth the rules for conducting prescribed burns.  K.A.R. §28-19-645 et seq. In general, open burning is prohibited unless an exception applies.  K.A.R. §645. One of those exceptions is for open burning of agricultural lands that is done in accordance with the regulations.  K.A.R. §28-19-647(a)(3). Under that exception, open burning of vegetation such as grass, woody species, crop residue, and other dry plant growth for the purpose of crop, range, pasture, wildlife or watershed management is exempt from the general prohibition on open burning.  K.A.R. §28-19-648(a).  However, a prescribed burn of agricultural land must be conducted within certain guidelines.  For instance, before a burn is started the local fire control authority with jurisdiction in the area must be notified unless local government has specified that notification is not required.  K.A.R. §28-19-648(a)(1).  Also, the burn cannot create a traffic hazard.  If wind conditions might result in smoke blowing toward a public roadway, notice must be given to the highway patrol, county sheriff or local traffic officials before the burn is started. K.A.R. §28-19-648(a)(2).  Likewise, a burn cannot create a visibility safety hazard for airplanes that utilize a nearby airport. K.A.R. §28-19-648(a)(3).  If such a problem could potentially result, notice must be given to the airport officials before the burn begins.  Id.  In all situations, the burn must be supervised until the fire is extinguished. K.A.R. §28-19-648(a)(4).  Also, the Kansas burn regulations allow local jurisdictions to adopt more restrictive ordinance or resolutions governing prescribed burns of agricultural land.  K.A.R. §28-19-648(b). 

Kansas regulations also specify that the open burning of vegetation and wood waste, structures, or any other materials on any premises during the month of April is prohibited in the counties of  Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Cowley, Elk, Geary, Greenwood, Johnson, Lyon, Marion, Morris, Pottawatomie, Riley, Sedgwick, Wabaunsee, and Wyandotte counties.  K.A.R. §28-19-645a(a). This is the Flint Hills region of Kansas – some of the most abundant pasture ground in the United States.  However, certain activities are allowed in these counties during April.  For instance, the prescribed burning of agricultural land for the purposes of range or pasture management is allowed, as is the burning of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land that is conducted in accordance with the requirements for a prescribed burn of agricultural land.  K.A.R. §28-19-645a(b)(1).  Open burning during April is also allowed in these counties if it is carried out on a residential premise containing five or less dwelling units and incidental to the normal habitation of the dwelling units, unless prohibited by any local authority with jurisdiction over the premises.  K.A.R. §28-19-645a(b)(2).    Also, open burning is allowed for cooking or ceremonial purposes, on public or private lands regularly used for recreational purposes. Id. 

Non-agricultural open burning activities must meet certain other requirements including a showing that the open burning is necessary, in the public interest and not otherwise prohibit by any local government or fire authority.  K.A.R. §28-19-647(b).   These types of open burning activities must also be conducted pursuant to an approved written request to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment that details how the burn will be conducted, the parameters of the activity, and the location of public roadways within 1,000 feet as well as occupied dwelling within that same distance. K.A.R. §§28-19-647(d)(2)(E-F).  The open burning of heavy oils, tires and tarpaper and other heavy smoke-producing material is not permitted.  K.A.R. §28-19-647(e)(2).  A burn is not to be started at night (two hours before sunset until one hour after sunrise) and material is not to be added to a fire after two hours before sunset.  A burn is not to be conducted during foggy conditions or when wind speed is less than five miles-per-hour or greater than 15 miles-per-hour. K.A.R. §§28-19-647(e)(3-5).   

Legal Liability Principles

As noted above, Kansas regulations require that an agricultural prescribed burn is to be supervised until the fire is extinguished. But sometimes a fire will get out of control even after it is believed to be extinguished and burn an adjacent property resulting in property damage.  How does the law sort out liability in such a situation? 

Negligence.  In general, as applied to agricultural burning activities, the law applies one of three possible principles.  One principle is that of negligence and the other is that of strict liability.  The negligence system is a fault system.  For a person to be deemed legally negligent, certain conditions must exist. These conditions can be thought of as links in a chain. Each condition must be present before a finding of negligence can be obtained.  The first condition is that of a legal duty giving rise to a standard of care.  How is duty measured?  To be liable for a negligent tort, the defendant's conduct must have fallen below that of a “reasonable and prudent person” under the circumstances.  A reasonable and prudent person is what a jury has in mind when they measure an individual's conduct in retrospect - after the fact, when the case is in court. The conduct of a particular tortfeasor (the one causing the tort) who is not held out as a professional is compared with the mythical standard of conduct of the reasonable and prudent person in terms of judgment, knowledge, perception, experience, skill, physical, mental and emotional characteristics as well as age and sanity. For those held out as having the knowledge, skill, experience or education of a professional, the standard of care reflects those factors. For example, the standard applicable to a professional veterinarian in diagnosing or treating animals is what a reasonable and prudent veterinarian would have done under the circumstances, not what a reasonable and prudent person would do.

If a legal duty exists, it is necessary to determine whether the defendant's conduct fell short of the conduct of a “reasonable and prudent person (or professional) under the circumstances.”  This is called a breach, and is the second element of a negligent tort case.

Once a legal duty and breach of that duty are shown to exist, a causal connection (the third element) must be established between the defendant's act and (the fourth element) the plaintiff's injuries (whether to person or property). In other words, the resulting harm to the plaintiff must have been a reasonably foreseeable result of the defendant's conduct at the time the conduct occurred. Reasonable foreseeability is the essence of causality (also known as proximate cause). For example, assume that a Kansas rancher has followed all of the rules to prepare for and conduct a prescribed pasture burn. After conducting the burn, the rancher banks the fire up and leaves it in what he thinks is a fairly safe condition before heading to the house for lunch.  Over lunch, the wind picks up and spreads the fire to an adjoining tract of real estate.  If the burning of the neighbor's property was not reasonably foreseeable, an action for negligence will likely not be successful.  However, if the wind was at a high velocity before lunch and all adjoining property was extremely dry, it probably was foreseeable that the fire would escape and burn a neighboring landowner's tract.

Note:  For a plaintiff to prevail in a negligence-type tort case, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof to all of the elements by a preponderance of the evidence (just over 50 percent). 

Intentional interference with real property.  Another legal principle that can apply in to open burning activities, is intentional interference with real property.  This principle is closely related to trespass.  Trespass is the unlawful or unauthorized entry upon another person's land that interferes with that person's exclusive possession or ownership of the land.   At its most basic level, an intentional trespass is the intrusion on to another person's land without the owner's consent.  However, many other types of physical invasions that cause injury to an owner's possessory rights abound in agriculture.  These types of trespass include dynamite blasting, flooding with water or residue from oil and gas drilling operations, erection of an encroaching fence, unauthorized grazing of cattle, raising of crops and cutting timber on another's land without authorization, and prescribed agricultural burning activities, among other things. 

In general, the privilege of an owner or possessor of land to utilize the land and exploit its potential natural resources is only a qualified privilege.  The owner or possessor must exercise reasonable care in conducting operations on the land so as to avoid injury to the possessory rights of neighboring landowners.  The owner or possessor must exercise reasonable care in conducting operations on the land so as to avoid injury to the possessory rights of neighboring landowners.  For example, if a prescribed burn of a pasture results in heavy smoke passing onto an adjoining property accompanied with a long-term residual smoke odor, the party conducting the burn could be held legally responsible for damages under the theory of intentional interference with real property even if the burn was conducted in accordance with applicable state regulations.  See, e.g., Ream v. Keen, 112 Ore. App. 197, 828 P.2d 1038 (1992), aff’d, 314 Ore. 370, 838 P.2d 1073 (Ore. 1992).

Strict liability.  Some activities are deemed to be so dangerous that a showing of negligence is not required to obtain a recovery.  Under a strict liability approach, the defendant is liable for injuries caused by the defendant's actions, even if the defendant was not negligent in any way or did not intend to injure the plaintiff. In general, those situations reserved for resolution under a strict liability approach involve those activities that are highly dangerous.  When these activities are engaged in, the defendant must be prepared to pay for all resulting consequences, regardless of the legal fault.

Kansas liability rule for prescribed burning.  A strict liability rule could apply to a prescribed burn of agricultural land if the activity were to be construed as an inherently (e.g., extremely) dangerous activity.    In Kansas, however, farmers and ranchers have a right to set controlled fires on their property for agricultural purposes and will not be liable for damages resulting if the fire is set and managed with ordinary care and prudence, depending on the conditions present.  See, e.g., Koger v. Ferrin, 23 Kan. App. 2d 47, 926 P.2d 680 (Kan. Ct. App. 1996).  In Kansas, at least at the present time, the courts have determined that there is no compelling argument for imposing strict liability on a property owner for damages resulting from a prescribed burn of agricultural land.  Id. 

Note:  The liability rule applied in Texas and Oklahoma is also negligence and not strict liability.  In these states, carefully following applicable prescribed burning regulations goes along way to defeating a lawsuit claiming that damages from a prescribed burn were the result of negligence. 

Certainly, for prescribed burns of agricultural land in Kansas, the regulations applicable to non-agricultural burns establish a good roadmap for establishing that a burn was conducted in a non-negligent manner.  Following those requirements could prove valuable in protecting against a damage liability claim if the fire gets out of control and damages adjacent property.

Conclusion

Prescribed burning of agricultural land in Kansas and elsewhere in the Great Plains is an excellent range management tool.  Practiced properly the ecological and economic benefits to the landowner can be substantial.  But a burn must be conducted within the framework of existing regulations with an eye toward the legal rule governing any potential liability. 

February 15, 2021 in Civil Liabilities, Real Property, Regulatory Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Recent Happenings in Ag Law and Ag Tax

Overview

The world of agricultural law and taxation is certainly pertinent in the daily lives of farmers and ranchers.  In recent days and weeks, the courts have addressed more issues that can make a difference for ag producers.  In today’s post, I examine a few of those.  Those discussed today involve individual and entity taxation as well as environmental and regulatory issues.

More recent developments in ag law and tax - it’s the topic of today’s post.

Flow-Through Entities Can Deduct State and Local Taxes

IRS Notice 2020-75, applicable to specified income tax payments made on or after November 9, 2020

In a Notice, the IRS has said that taxes that are imposed on and paid by a partnership (or an S corporation) on its income are allowed as a deduction by the partnership (or S corporation) in computing its non-separately stated taxable income or loss for the tax year of payment. They are not passed through to the partners or shareholders, where they would be subject to the $10,000 limitation on state and local tax deductions imposed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act effective for tax years beginning after 2017.

The IRS did not set a timetable for the issuance of proposed regulations. The IRS issued the Notice in response to some states enacting laws to allow this type of treatment for partnerships and S corporations. Thus, for a flow-through entity to be able to do this for a partnership or S corporation, state law must provide for pass-through entity level taxation. The Notice won't apply unless state law allows this. Merely allowing a pass-through entity to make withholding tax payments on behalf of the owners will not qualify because those withholding tax payments are treated as payments made by the owners and not as payments in satisfaction of the pass -through entity's tax liability. In addition, entities taking advantage of the Notice will reduce allocable taxable income which will, in turn reduce allocable qualified business income for purposes of I.R.C. §199A and, therefore, the qualified business income deduction. 

IRA Distributions Included in Income and Subject to Early Withdrawal Penalty 

Ball v. Comr., T.C. Memo. 2020-152

During 2012 and 2013 the petitioner participated in a SEP-IRA. Chase Bank (Chase) was the custodian. In 2012, he took two distributions from the account totaling over $200,000.  He had the bank deposit the distributions into a Chase business checking account that he had opened in the name of The Ball Investment Account LLC (Ball LLC), of which he was the sole owner and only member. Importantly, Ball LLC was not a retirement account. The petitioner informed Chase that the distributions were early distributions that were not exempt from tax.  The petitioner made real estate loans with the distributed funds. The first loan was repaid in April 2013 with a check payable to "the Ball SEP Account."  The funds were deposited into the SEP-IRA account. He paid off the second loan in installments in 2012 and 2013.  The payments were made with checks made payable to "the Ball SEP Account.”  Chase, as custodian, had no knowledge of or control over the use that Ball LLC made of the distributions that were deposited in the Ball LLC business checking account.  Chase also didn’t hold or control any documents related to the loans Ball LLC made. Chase issued the petitioner a Form 1099-R for the 2012 tax year reporting that the petitioner had received taxable distributions from the SEP-IRA of $209,600. While the petitioner reported the distributions on his Form 1040, he did not include them in gross income and reported no tax and no tax liability.  The IRS issued a CP2000 Notice stating that the petitioner had failed to report the distributions from Chase Bank and that he therefore owed $67,031 in tax and a substantial-understatement penalty of $13,406. The petitioner did not respond to the Notice, and the IRS then sent him a notice of deficiency that determined the deficiency, additional tax, and penalty due. The Tax Court determined that the petitioner had unfettered control over the distributions, rejecting the petitioner’s “conduit agency arrangement” argument. The Tax Court determined that Ball LLC was not acting as an agent or conduit on behalf of Chase when Ball LLC received and made use of the distributions. The Tax Court noted that Chase had no knowledge of how the distributed funds were used after they were deposited in the Ball LLC account at the petitioner’s direction and that nothing in the record showed that petitioner, who controlled Ball LLC, did not have unfettered control over the distributions. The Tax Court determined that the facts of his case were analogous to those in Vandenbosch v. Comr., T.C. Memo. 2016-29 and, as a result, Ball LLC was not a conduit for Chase. As a result, the IRS position that the distributions should be included in the petitioner’s income was upheld. In addition, the petitioner had not yet reached age 59.5 which meant that he was liable for the 10 percent early distribution penalty. The Tax Court also upheld the accuracy-related penalty. 

New ESA Definition of “Habitat” 

85 Fed. Reg. 81411 (Dec. 16, 2020), effective, Jan. 15, 2021

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 139 S. Ct. 361 (2018), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has modified the definition of “habitat” for listed species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The modification is the first change in the definition since the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) enactment in 1973. Under Weyerhaeuser, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an area being designated as habitat is a prerequisite for a designation as “critical habitat.”  The regulation defines “habitat” as “the abiotic and biotic setting that currently or periodically contains the resources and conditions necessary to support one or more life processes of a species.” Thus, to be “habitat” an area must already contain the conditions necessary to support the species it is intended to be habitat for. Thus, only those areas which include the environmental conditions that can provide benefits to the species at issue (one seeking either a listed or endangered species) will be eligible for critical habitat designation. 

Federal Government Must Pay Farmers Millions For Army Corps of Engineers' Mismanagement of Missouri River. 

Ideker Farms, Inc. v. United States, No. 14-183L, 2020 U.S. Claims LEXIS 2548 (Fed. Cl. Dec. 14, 2020)

In 2014, 400 farmers along the Missouri River from Kansas to North Dakota sued the federal government claiming that the actions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) led to and caused repeated flooding of their farmland along the Missouri River. The farmers alleged that flooding in 2007-2008, 2010-2011, and 2013-2014 constituted a taking requiring that “just compensation” be paid to them under the Fifth Amendment. The litigation was divided into two phases – liability and just compensation. The liability phase was decided in early 2018 when the court determined that some of the 44 landowners selected as bellwether plaintiffs had established the COE’s liability. In that decision, the court held that the COE, in its attempt to balance flood control and its responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act, had released water from reservoirs “during periods of high river flows with the knowledge that flooding was taking place or likely to soon occur.” The court, in that case, noted that the COE had made other changes after 2004 to reengineer the Missouri River and reestablish more natural environments to facilitate species recovery that caused riverbank destabilization which led to flooding. Ultimately, the court, in the earlier litigation, determined that 28 of the 44 landowners had proven the elements of a takings claim – causation, foreseeability and severity. The claims of the other 16 landowners were dismissed for failure to prove causation. The court also determined that flooding in 2011 could not be tied to the COE’s actions and dismissed the claims for that year.

The present case involved a determination of the plaintiffs’ losses and whether the federal government had a viable defense against the plaintiffs’ claims. The court found that the “increased frequency, severity, and duration of flooding post MRRP [Missouri River Recovery Program] changed the character of the representative tracts of land.” The court also stated that, “ [i]t cannot be the case that land that experiences a new and ongoing pattern of increased flooding does not undergo a change in character.” The court determined that three representative plaintiffs, farming operations in northwest Missouri, southwest Iowa and northeast Kansas, were collectively owed more than $7 million for the devaluation of their land due to the establishment of a “permanent flowage easement” that the COE created which constituted a compensable taking under the Fifth Amendment.

The impact of the court’s ruling means that hundreds of landowners affected by flooding in six states are likely entitled to just compensation for the loss of property value due to the new flood patterns that the COE created as part of its MRRP. 

Conclusion

As 2021 unwinds, more issues will occur, many of which will likely involve estate and business entity planning along with income tax planning.

January 24, 2021 in Business Planning, Environmental Law, Income Tax, Regulatory Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Ag Law and Taxation 2020 Bibliography

Overview

Today's post is a bibliography of my ag law and tax blog articles of 2020.  Many of you have requested that I provide something like this to make it easier to find the articles.  If possible, I will do the same for articles from prior years.  The library of content is piling up - I have written more than 500 detailed articles for the blog over the last four and one-half years.

Cataloging the 2020 ag law and tax blog articles - it's the topic of today's post.

BANKRUPTCY

Ag Law and Tax in the Courts – Bankruptcy Debt Discharge; Aerial Application of Chemicals; Start-Up Expenses and Lying as Protected Speech

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/ag-law-and-tax-in-the-courts-bankruptcy-debt-discharge-aerial-application-of-chemicals-start-up-expe.html

Unique, But Important Tax Issues – “Claim of Right;” Passive Loss Grouping; and Bankruptcy Taxation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/unique-but-important-tax-issues-claim-of-right-passive-loss-grouping-and-bankruptcy-taxation.html

Disaster/Emergency Legislation – Summary of Provisions Related to Loan Relief; Small Business and Bankruptcy

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/04/disasteremergency-legislation-summary-of-provisions-related-to-loan-relief-small-business-and-bankruptcy.html

Retirement-Related Provisions of the CARES Act

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/04/retirement-related-provisions-of-the-cares-act.html

Farm Bankruptcy – “Stripping, “Claw-Black,” and the Tax Collecting Authorities

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/05/farm-bankruptcy-stripping-claw-back-and-the-tax-collecting-authorities.html

SBA Says Farmers in Chapter 12 Ineligible for PPP Loans

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/06/sba-says-farmers-in-chapter-12-ineligible-for-ppp-loans.html

The “Cramdown” Interest Rate in Chapter 12 Bankruptcy

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/07/the-cramdown-interest-rate-in-chapter-12-bankruptcy.html

Bankruptcy and the Preferential Payment Rule

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/12/bankruptcy-and-the-preferential-payment-rule.html

BUSINESS PLANNING

Partnership Tax Ponderings – Flow-Through and Basis

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/02/partnership-tax-ponderings-flow-through-and-basis.html

Farm and Ranch Estate and Business Planning in 2020 (Through 2025)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/03/farm-and-ranch-estate-and-business-planning-in-2020-through-2025.html

Transitioning the Farm or Ranch – Stock Redemption

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/07/transitioning-the-farm-or-ranch-stock-redemption.html

Estate and Business Planning for the Farm and Ranch Family – Use of the LLC (Part 1)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/07/estate-and-business-planning-for-the-farm-and-ranch-family-use-of-the-llc-part-1.html

Estate and Business Planning for the Farm and Ranch Family – Use of the LLC (Part 2)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/07/estate-and-business-planning-for-the-farm-and-ranch-family-use-of-the-llc-part-two.html

The Use of the LLC for the Farm or Ranch Business – Practical Application

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/08/the-use-of-the-llc-for-the-farm-or-ranch-business-practical-application.html

CIVIL LIABILITIES

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments from 2019 (Numbers 10 and 9)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-from-2019-numbers-10-and-9.html

Ag Law in the Courts – Feedlots; Dicamba Drift; and Inadvertent Disinheritance

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/ag-law-in-the-courts-feedlots-dicamba-drift-and-inadvertent-disinheritance.html

Ag Law and Tax in the Courts – Bankruptcy Debt Discharge; Aerial Application of Chemicals; Start-Up Expenses and Lying as Protected Speech

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/ag-law-and-tax-in-the-courts-bankruptcy-debt-discharge-aerial-application-of-chemicals-start-up-expe.html

Dicamba, Peaches and a Defective Ferrari; What’s the Connection?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/05/dicamba-peaches-and-a-defective-ferrari-whats-the-connection.html

Liability for Injuries Associated with Horses (and Other Farm Animals)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/06/liability-for-injuries-associated-with-horses-and-other-farm-animals.html

Issues with Noxious (and Other) Weeds and Seeds

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/09/issues-with-noxious-and-other-weeds-and-seeds.html

Of Nuisance, Overtime and Firearms – Potpourri of Ag Law Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/of-nuisance-overtime-and-firearms-potpourri-of-ag-law-developments.html

CONTRACTS

The Statute of Frauds and Sales of Goods

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/the-statute-of-frauds-and-sales-of-goods.html

Disrupted Economic Activity and Force Majeure – Avoiding Contractual Obligations in Time of Pandemic

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/04/disrupted-economic-activity-and-force-majeure-avoiding-contractual-obligations-in-time-of-pandemic.html

Is it a Farm Lease or Not? – And Why it Might Matter

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/is-it-a-farm-lease-or-not-and-why-it-might-matter.html

COOPERATIVES

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2019 (Numbers 2 and 1)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2019-numbers-2-and-1.html

Concentrated Ag Markets – Possible Producer Response?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/05/concentrated-ag-markets-possible-producer-response.html

CRIMINAL LIABILITIES

Is an Abandoned Farmhouse a “Dwelling”?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/02/is-an-abandoned-farmhouse-a-dwelling.html

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2019 (Numbers 8 and 7)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2019-numbers-8-and-7.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2019 (Numbers 6 and 5)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2019-numbers-six-and-five.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2019 (Numbers 4 and 3)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2019-numbers-4-and-3.html

Clean Water Act – Compliance Orders and “Normal Farming Activities”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/03/clean-water-act-compliance-orders-and-normal-farming-activities.html

Groundwater Discharges of “Pollutants” and “Functional Equivalency”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/04/groundwater-discharges-of-pollutants-and-functional-equivalency.html

NRCS Highly Erodible Land and Wetlands Conservation Final Rule – Clearer Guidance for Farmers or Erosion of Property Rights? – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/09/nrcs-highly-erodible-land-and-wetlands-conservation-final-rule-clearer-guidance-for-farmers-or-erosi.html

NRCS Highly Erodible Land and Wetlands Conservation Final Rule – Clearer Guidance for Farmers or Erosion of Property Rights? – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/09/nrcs-highly-erodible-land-and-wetlands-conservation-final-rule-clearer-guidance-for-farmers-or-loss-of-property-rights.html

NRCS Highly Erodible Land and Wetlands Conservation Final Rule – Clearer Guidance for Farmers or Erosion of Property Rights? – Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/09/nrcs-highly-erodible-land-and-wetlands-conservation-final-rule-clearer-guidance-for-farmers-or-loss-of-property-rights-1.html

The Prior Converted Cropland Exception – More Troubles Ahead?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/09/the-prior-converted-cropland-exception-more-troubles-ahead.html

TMDL Requirements – The EPA’s Federalization of Agriculture

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/10/tmdl-requirements-.html

Eminent Domain and “Seriously Misleading” Financing Statements

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/10/eminent-domain-and-seriously-misleading-financing-statements.html

 

ESTATE PLANNING

Ag Law in the Courts – Feedlots; Dicamba Drift; and Inadvertent Disinheritance

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/ag-law-in-the-courts-feedlots-dicamba-drift-and-inadvertent-disinheritance.html

Recent Developments Involving Estates and Trusts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/02/recent-developments-involving-decedents-estates-and-trusts.html

What is a “Trade or Business” For Purposes of Installment Payment of Federal Estate Tax?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/03/what-is-a-trade-or-business-for-purposes-of-installment-payment-of-federal-estate-tax.html

Alternate Valuation – Useful Estate Tax Valuation Provision

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/03/alternate-valuation-useful-estate-tax-valuation-provision.html

Farm and Ranch Estate and Business Planning in 2020 (Through 2025)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/03/farm-and-ranch-estate-and-business-planning-in-2020-through-2025.html

Retirement-Related Provisions of the CARES Act

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/04/retirement-related-provisions-of-the-cares-act.html

Are Advances to Children Loans or Gifts?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/06/are-advances-to-children-loans-or-gifts.html

Tax Issues Associated with Options in Wills and Trusts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/06/tax-issues-associated-with-options-in-wills-and-trusts.html

Valuing Farm Chattels and Marketing Rights of Farmers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/06/valuing-farm-chattels-and-marketing-rights-of-farmers.html

Is it a Gift or Not a Gift? That is the Question

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/06/is-it-a-gift-or-not-a-gift-that-is-the-question.html

Does a Discretionary Trust Remove Fiduciary Duties a Trustee Owes Beneficiaries?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/10/does-a-discretionary-trust-remove-fiduciary-duties-a-trustee-owes-beneficiaries.html

Can I Write my Own Will? Should I?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/10/can-i-write-my-own-will-should-i.html

Income Taxation of Trusts – New Regulations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/10/income-taxation-of-trusts.html

Merging a Revocable Trust at Death with an Estate – Tax Consequences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/merging-a-revocable-trust-at-death-with-an-estate-tax-consequences.html

When is Transferred Property Pulled Back into the Estate at Death?  Be on Your Bongard!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/when-is-transferred-property-pulled-back-into-the-estate-at-death-be-on-your-bongard.html

‘Tis the Season for Giving, But When is a Transfer a Gift?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/12/tis-the-season-for-giving-but-when-is-a-transfer-a-gift.html

 

INCOME TAX

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2019 (Numbers 2 and 1)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2019-numbers-2-and-1.html

Does the Penalty Relief for a “Small Partnership” Still Apply?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/does-the-penalty-relief-for-a-small-partnership-still-apply.html

Substantiation – The Key to Tax Deductions

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/substantiation-the-key-to-tax-deductions.html

Ag Law and Tax in the Courts – Bankruptcy Debt Discharge; Aerial Application of Chemicals; Start-Up Expenses and Lying as Protected Speech

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/ag-law-and-tax-in-the-courts-bankruptcy-debt-discharge-aerial-application-of-chemicals-start-up-expe.html

Unique, But Important Tax Issues – “Claim of Right;” Passive Loss Grouping; and Bankruptcy Taxation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/unique-but-important-tax-issues-claim-of-right-passive-loss-grouping-and-bankruptcy-taxation.html

Conservation Easements and the Perpetuity Requirement

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/02/conservation-easements-and-the-perpetuity-requirement.html

Tax Treatment Upon Death of Livestock

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/02/tax-treatment-upon-death-of-livestock.html

What is a “Trade or Business” For Purposes of I.R.C. §199A?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/02/what-is-a-trade-or-business-for-purposes-of-irc-199a.html

Tax Treatment of Meals and Entertainment

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/03/tax-treatment-of-meals-and-entertainment.html

Farm NOLs Post-2017

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/03/farm-nols-post-2017.html

Disaster/Emergency Legislation – Summary of Provisions Related to Loan Relief; Small Business and Bankruptcy

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/04/disasteremergency-legislation-summary-of-provisions-related-to-loan-relief-small-business-and-bankruptcy.html

Retirement-Related Provisions of the CARES Act

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/04/retirement-related-provisions-of-the-cares-act.html

Income Tax-Related Provisions of Emergency Relief Legislation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/04/income-tax-related-provisions-of-emergency-relief-legislation.html

The Paycheck Protection Program – Still in Need of Clarity

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/05/the-paycheck-protection-program-still-in-need-of-clarity.html

Solar “Farms” and The Associated Tax Credit

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/05/solar-farms-and-the-associated-tax-credit.html

Obtaining Deferral for Non-Deferred Aspects of an I.R.C. §1031 Exchange

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/05/obtaining-deferral-for-non-deferred-aspects-of-an-irc-1031-exchange-.html

Conservation Easements – The Perpetuity Requirement and Extinguishment

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/05/conservation-easements-the-perpetuity-requirement-and-extinguishment.html

PPP and PATC Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/06/ppp-and-patc-developments.html

How Many Audit “Bites” of the Same Apple Does IRS Get?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/07/how-many-audit-bites-of-the-same-apple-does-irs-get.html

More Developments Concerning Conservation Easements

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/07/more-developments-concerning-conservation-easements.html

Imputation – When Can an Agent’s Activity Count?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/07/imputation-when-can-an-agents-activity-count.html

Exotic Game Activities and the Tax Code

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/08/exotic-game-activities-and-the-tax-code.html

Demolishing Farm Buildings and Structures – Any Tax Benefit?

         https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/08/demolishing-farm-buildings-and-structures-any-tax-benefit.html

Tax Incentives for Exported Ag Products

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/08/tax-incentives-for-exported-ag-products.html

Deducting Business Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/09/deducting-business-interest.html

Recent Tax Court Opinions Make Key Point on S Corporations and Meals/Entertainment Deductions

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/09/recent-tax-court-opinions-make-key-points-on-s-corporations-and-mealsentertainment-deductions.html

Income Taxation of Trusts – New Regulations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/10/income-taxation-of-trusts.html

Accrual Accounting – When Can a Deduction Be Claimed?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/accrual-accounting-when-can-a-deduction-be-claimed.html

Farmland Lease Income – Proper Tax Reporting

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/farmland-lease-income-proper-tax-reporting.html

Merging a Revocable Trust at Death with an Estate – Tax Consequences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/merging-a-revocable-trust-at-death-with-an-estate-tax-consequences.html

The Use of Deferred Payment Contracts – Specifics Matter

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/the-use-of-deferred-payment-contracts-specific-matters.html

Is Real Estate Held in Trust Eligible for I.R.C. §1031 Exchange Treatment?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/is-real-estate-held-in-trust-eligible-for-irc-1031-exchange-treatment.html

 

INSURANCE

Recent Court Developments of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/07/recent-court-developments-of-interest.html

PUBLICATIONS

Principles of Agricultural Law

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/principles-of-agricultural-law.html

 

REAL PROPERTY

Signing and Delivery

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/02/deed-effectiveness-signing-and-delivery.html

Abandoned Railways and Issues for Adjacent Landowners

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/04/abandoned-railways-and-issues-for-adjacent-landowners.html

Obtaining Deferral for Non-Deferred Aspects of an I.R.C. §1031 Exchange

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/05/obtaining-deferral-for-non-deferred-aspects-of-an-irc-1031-exchange-.html

Are Dinosaur Fossils Minerals?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/06/are-dinosaur-fossils-minerals.html

Real Estate Concepts Involved in Recent Cases

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/10/real-estate-concepts-involved-in-recent-cases.html

Is it a Farm Lease or Not? – And Why it Might Matter

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/is-it-a-farm-lease-or-not-and-why-it-might-matter.html

 

REGULATORY LAW

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments from 2019 (Numbers 10 and 9)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-from-2019-numbers-10-and-9.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments from 2019 (Number 8 and 7)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2019-numbers-8-and-7.html

Ag Law and Tax in the Courts – Bankruptcy Debt Discharge; Aerial Application of Chemicals; Start-Up Expenses and Lying as Protected Speech

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/ag-law-and-tax-in-the-courts-bankruptcy-debt-discharge-aerial-application-of-chemicals-start-up-expe.html

Hemp Production – Regulation and Economics

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/04/hemp-production-regulation-and-economics.html

DOJ to Investigate Meatpackers – What’s it All About?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/05/doj-to-investigate-meatpackers-whats-it-all-about.html

Dicamba Registrations Cancelled – Or Are They?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/06/dicamba-registrations-cancelled-or-are-they.html

What Does a County Commissioner (Supervisor) Need to Know?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/06/what-does-a-county-commissioner-supervisor-need-to-know.html

The Supreme Court’s DACA Opinion and the Impact on Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/07/the-supreme-courts-daca-opinion-and-the-impact-on-agriculture.html

Right-to-Farm Law Headed to the SCOTUS?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/08/right-to-farm-law-headed-to-the-scotus.html

The Public Trust Doctrine – A Camel’s Nose Under Agriculture’s Tent?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/10/the-public-trust-doctrine-a-camels-nose-under-agricultures-tent.html

Roadkill – It’s What’s for Dinner (Reprise)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/10/roadkill-its-whats-for-dinner-reprise.html

Beef May be for Dinner, but Where’s It From?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/beef-may-be-for-dinner-but-wheres-it-from.html

Of Nuisance, Overtime and Firearms – Potpourri of Ag Law Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/of-nuisance-overtime-and-firearms-potpourri-of-ag-law-developments.html

What Farm Records and Information Are Protected from a FOIA Request?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/12/what-farm-records-and-information-are-protected-from-a-foia-request.html

Can One State Dictate Agricultural Practices in Other States?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/12/can-one-state-dictate-agricultural-practices-in-other-states.html

SECURED TRANSACTIONS

Family Farming Arrangements and Liens; And, What’s a Name Worth?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/02/family-farming-arrangements-and-liens-and-whats-a-name-worth.html

Conflicting Interests in Stored Grain

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/03/conflicting-interests-in-stored-grain.html

Eminent Domain and “Seriously Misleading” Financing Statement

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/10/eminent-domain-and-seriously-misleading-financing-statements.html

 

SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES

Summer 2020 Farm Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/02/summer-2020-farm-income-taxestate-and-business-planning-conference.html

Registration Open for Summer Ag Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Seminar

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/03/registration-open-for-summer-ag-income-taxestate-and-business-planning-seminar.html

 

Summer 2020 – National Farm Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/04/summer-2020-national-farm-income-taxestate-and-business-planning-conference.html

Year-End CPE/CLE – Six More to Go

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/12/year-end-cpecle-six-more-to-go.html

2021 Summer National Farm and Ranch Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/12/2021-summer-national-farm-income-taxestate-business-planning-conference.html

WATER LAW

Principles of Agricultural Law

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/01/principles-of-agricultural-law.html

MISCELLANEOUS

More “Happenings” in Ag Law and Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/02/more-happenings-in-ag-law-and-tax.html

Recent Cases of Interest

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/03/recent-cases-of-interest.html

More Selected Caselaw Developments of Relevance to Ag Producers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/03/more-selected-caselaw-developments-of-relevance-to-ag-producers.html

Court Developments of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/04/court-developments-of-interest.html

Ag Law and Tax Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/05/ag-law-and-tax-developments.html

Recent Court Developments of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/07/recent-court-developments-of-interest.html

Court Developments in Agricultural Law and Taxation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/08/court-developments-in-agricultural-law-and-taxation.html

Ag Law and Tax in the Courtroom

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/09/ag-law-and-tax-in-the-courtroom.html

Recent Tax Cases of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/09/recent-tax-cases-of-interest.html

Ag and Tax in the Courts

 https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/ag-and-tax-in-the-courts.html

Of Nuisance, Overtime and Firearms – Potpourri of Ag Law Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/11/of-nuisance-overtime-and-firearms-potpourri-of-ag-law-developments.html

Bankruptcy Happenings

            https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/12/bankruptcy-happenings.html

January 20, 2021 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Agricultural Law Online!

Overview

For the Spring 2021 academic semester, Kansas State University will be offering my Agricultural Law and Economics course online. No matter where you are located, you can enroll in the course and participate in it as if you were present with the students in the on-campus classroom.

Details of this spring semester’s online Ag Law course – that’s the topic of today’s post.

Course Coverage

The course provides a broad overview of many of the issues that a farmer, rancher, rural landowner, ag lender or other agribusiness will encounter on a daily basis. As a result, the course looks at contract issues for the purchase and sale of agricultural goods; the peril of oral contracts; the distinction between a lease and a contract (and why the distinction matters); and the key components of a farm lease, hunting lease, wind energy lease, oil and gas lease, and other types of common agricultural contractual matters. What are the rules surrounding ag goods purchased at auction?

Ag financing situations are also covered – what it takes to provide security to a lender when financing the purchase of personal property to be used in the farming business. In addition, the unique rules surrounding farm bankruptcy is covered, including the unique tax treatment provided to a farmer in Chapter 12 bankruptcy.

Of course, farm income tax is an important part of the course. Tax planning is perhaps the most important aspect of the farming business that every-day decisions have an impact on and are influenced by. As readers of this blog know well, farm tax issues are numerous and special rules apply in many instances. The new tax law impacts many areas of farm income tax.

Real property legal issues are also prevalent and are addressed in the course. The key elements of an installment land contract are covered, as well as legal issues associated with farm leases. Various types of interests in real estate are explained – easements; licenses; profits, fee simples, remainders, etc. Like-kind exchange rules are also covered as are the special tax rules (at the state level) that apply to farm real estate.

A big issue for some farmers and ranchers concerns abandoned railways, and those issues are covered in the course. What if an existing fence is not on the property line?

Farm estate and business planning is also a significant emphasis of the course. What’s the appropriate estate plan for a farm and ranch family? How should the farming business be structured? Should multiple entities be used? Why does it matter? These questions, and more, are addressed.

Agricultural cooperatives are important for the marketing of agricultural commodities. How a cooperative is structured and works and the special rules that apply are also discussed.

Because much agricultural property is out in the open, that means that personal liability rules come into play with respect to people that come onto the property or use farm property in the scope of their employment. What are the rules that apply in those situations? What about liability rules associated with genetically modified products? Ag chemicals also pose potential liability issues, as do improperly maintained fences? What about defective ag seed or purchased livestock that turns out to not live up to representations? These issues, and more, are covered in the scope of discussing civil liabilities.

Sometimes farmers and ranchers find themselves in violation of criminal laws. What are those common situations? What are the rules that apply? We will get into those issue too.

Water law is a very big issue, especially in the western two-thirds of the United States. We will survey the rules surrounding the allocation of surface water and ground water to agricultural operations.

Ag seems to always be in the midst of many environmental laws – the “Clean Water Rule” is just one of those that has been high-profile in recent years. We will talk about the environmental rules governing air, land, and water quality as they apply to farmers, ranchers and rural landowners.

Finally, we will address the federal (and state) administrative state and its rules that apply to farming operations. Not only will federal farm programs be addressed, but we will also look at other major federal regulations that apply to farmers and ranchers.

Further Information and How to Register

Information about the course and how to register is available here:  https://www.enrole.com/ksu/jsp/session.jsp?sessionId=442107&courseId=AGLAW&categoryId=ROOT

You can also find information about the text for the course at the following link:  https://washburnlaw.edu/practicalexperience/agriculturallaw/waltr/principlesofagriculturallaw/index.html

If you are an undergraduate student at an institution other than Kansas State, you should be able to enroll in this course and have it count as credit towards your degree at your institution.  Consult with your academic advisor to see how Ag Law and Economics will transfer and align with your degree completion goals.

If you have questions, you can contact me directly, or submit your questions to the KSU Global Campus staff at the link provided above.

I hope to see you in class beginning on January 26!

January 17, 2021 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The “Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Four

Overview

The biggest three developments of 2020 in ag law and tax are up for discussion today.  2020 was a year of many important developments of relevance to the agricultural industry, but the top three stand out in particular. 

The three most important developments of 2020 – it’s the topic of today’s post.

No. 3 – SCOTUS DACA Opinion

Background.  In mid-2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Department of Homeland Security, et al. v. Regents of the University of California, et al., 140 S. Ct. 1891 (2020) where the Court denied the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) revocation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  The Court’s decision is of prime importance to agriculture because the case involved the ability of a federal government agency to create rules that are applied with the force of law without following the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.  Agricultural activities are often subjected to the rules developed by federal government agencies, making it critical that agency rules are subjected to public input before being finalized.

The DHS started the DACA program by issuing an internal agency memorandum in 2012.  The DHS took this action after numerous bills in the Congress addressing the issue failed to pass over a number of years.  The DACA program illegal aliens that were minors at the time they illegally entered the United States to apply for a renewable, two-year reprieve from deportation.  The DACA program also gave these illegal immigrants work authorizations and access to taxpayer-funded benefits such as Social Security and Medicare.  Current estimates are that between one million and two million DACA-protected illegal immigrants are eligible for benefits  In 2014, the DHS attempted to expand DACA to provide amnesty and taxpayer benefits for over four million illegal aliens, but the expansion was foreclosed by a federal courts in 2015 for providing benefits to illegal aliens without following the procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act as a substantive rule and for violating the Immigration and Naturalization Act.  Texas v. United States, 809 F.3d 134 (5th Cir. 2015), aff’g., 86 F. Supp. 3d 591 (S.D. Tex. 2015)In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the lower court decisions.  United States v. Texas, 136 S. Ct. 2271 (2016).  Based on these court holdings and because DACA was structured similarly, the U.S. Attorney General issued an opinion that the DACA was also legally defective.  Accordingly, in June of 2017, the DHS announced via an internal agency memorandum that it would end the illegal program by no longer accepting new applications or approving renewals other than for those whose benefits would expire in the next six months.  Activist groups sued and the Supreme Court ultimately determined that the action of the DHS was improper for failing to provide sufficient policy reasons for ending DACA.  In other words, what was created with the stroke of a pen couldn’t be eliminated with a stroke of a pen. 

Administrative Procedure Act (APA).  The APA was enacted in 1946.  Pub. L. No. 79-404, 60 Stat. 237 (Jun. 11, 1946).  The APA sets forth the rules governing how federal administrative agencies are to go about developing regulations.  It also gives the federal courts oversight authority over all agency actions.  The APA has been referred to as the “Constitution” for administrative law in the United States.  A key aspect of the APA is that any substantive agency rule that will be applied against an individual or business with the force of law (e.g., affecting rights of the regulated) must be submitted for public notice and comment.  5 U.S.C. §553.  The lack of DACA being subjected to public notice and comment when it was created and the Court’s requirement that it couldn’t be removed in like fashion struck a chord with the most senior member of the Court.  Justice Thomas authored a biting dissent that directly addressed this issue.  He wrote, “Without grounding its position in either the APA or precedent, the majority declares that DHS was required to overlook DACA’s obvious legal deficiencies and provide additional policy reasons and justifications before restoring the rule of law. This holding is incorrect, and it will hamstring all future agency attempts to undo actions that exceed statutory authority.”

Farmers and ranchers often deal with the rules developed by federal (and state) administrative agencies.  Those agency rules often involve substantive rights and, as such, are subject to the notice and comment requirements of the APA.  Failure to follow the APA often results in the restriction (or outright elimination) of property rights without the necessary procedural protections the APA affords. It’s also important that when administrative agencies overstep their bounds, a change in agency leadership has the ability to swiftly rescind prior illegal actions – a point Justice Thomas made clear in his dissent.

No. 2 - Public Trust Doctrine

Background.  Centuries ago, the seas were viewed as the common property of everyone - they weren’t subject to private use and ownership.  Instead, they were held in what was known as the “public trust.”  This concept was later adopted in English law, the Magna Carta, and became part of the common (non-statutory) law of individual states in the United States after the Revolution.  Over the years, this “public trust doctrine” has been primarily applied to access to the seashore and intertidal waters, although recently some courts have expanded its reach beyond its historical application.

But, any judicial expansion of the public trust doctrine results in curtailing vested property rights.  That’s a very important concern for agriculture because of agriculture’s necessary use of natural resources such as land, air, water, minerals and the like.  Restricting or eliminating property rights materially impacts agricultural operations in a negative manner.  It also creates an economic disincentive to use property in an economically (and socially) efficient manner.

How could an expanded public trust doctrine apply?  For farmers and ranchers, it could make a material detrimental impact on the farming operation.  For instance, many endangered species have habitat on privately owned land.  If wildlife and their habitat are deemed to be covered by the doctrine, farming and ranching practices could be effectively curtailed.  What about vested water rights?  A farming or ranching operation that has a vested water right to use water from a watercourse for crop irrigation or livestock watering purposes could find itself having those rights limited or eliminated if, under the public trust doctrine, a certain amount of water needed to be retained in the stream for a species of fish. 

One might argue that the government already has the ability to place those restrictions on farming operations, and that argument would be correct.  But, such restrictions exist via the legislative and regulatory process and are subject to constitutional due process, equal protection and just compensation protections.  Conversely, land-use restrictions via the public trust doctrine bypass those constitutional protections.  No compensation would need to be paid, because there was no governmental taking – a water right, for example, could be deemed to be subject to the “public trust” and enforced without the government paying for taking the right.  

Nevada Case.  Mineral County v. Lyon County, No. 75917, 2020 Nev. LEXIS 56 (Nev. Sup. Ct. Sept. 17, 2020)involved the state of Nevada’s water law system for allocating water rights and an attempt to take those rights without compensation via an expansion of the public use doctrine.  The state of Nevada appropriates water to users via the prior appropriation system – a “first-in-time, first-in-right” system.  Over 100 years ago, litigation over the Walker River Basin began between competing water users in the Walker River Basin.  The Basin covers approximately 4,000 square miles, beginning in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and ending in a lake in Nevada.  In 1936, a federal court issued a decree adjudicating water rights of various claimants to water in the basin via the prior appropriation doctrine. 

In 1987, an Indian Tribe intervened in the ongoing litigation to establish procedures to change the allocations of water rights subject to the decree.  Since that time, the state reviews all changes to applications under the decree.  In 1994, the plaintiff sought to modify the decree to ensure minimum stream flows into the lake under the “doctrine of maintenance of the public trust.”  The federal district (trial) court granted the plaintiff’s motion to intervene in 2013.  In 2015, the trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s amended complaint in intervention on the basis that the plaintiff lacked standing; that the public trust doctrine could only apply prospectively to bar granting appropriative rights; any retroactive application of the doctrine could constitute a taking requiring compensation; that the court lacked the authority to effectuate a taking; and that the lake was not part of the basin. 

On appeal, the federal appellate court determined that the plaintiff had standing, and that the lake was part of the basin.  The appellate court also held that whether the plaintiff could seek minimum flows depended on whether the public trust doctrine allowed the reallocation of rights that had been previously settled under the prior appropriation doctrine.  Thus, the appellate court certified two questions to the Nevada Supreme Court:  1) whether the public trust doctrine allowed such reallocation of rights; and 2) if so, whether doing so amounted to a “taking” of private property requiring “just compensation” under the Constitution. 

The state Supreme Court held that that public trust doctrine had already been implemented via the state’s prior appropriation system for allocating water rights and that the state’s statutory water laws is consistent with the public trust doctrine by requiring the state to consider the public interest when making allocating and administering water rights.  The state Supreme Court also determined that the legislature had expressly prohibited the reallocation of water rights that have not otherwise been abandoned or forfeited in accordance with state water law. 

The state Supreme Court limited the scope of its ruling to private water use of surface streams, lakes and groundwater such as uses for crops and livestock. The plaintiff has indicated that it will ask the federal appellate court for a determination of whether the public trust doctrine could be used to mandate water management methods.  If the court would rule that it does, the result would be an unfortunate disincentive to use water resources in an economically efficient manner (an application of the “tragedy of the commons”).  It would also provide a current example (in a negative way) of the application of the Coase Theorem (well-defined property rights overcome the problem of externalities).  See Coase, “The Problem of Social Cost,” Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 3, October 1960. 

Oregon CaseIn Chernaik v. Brown, 367 Or. 143 (2020), the plaintiffs claimed that the public trust doctrine required the State of Oregon to protect various natural resources in the state from harm due to greenhouse gas emissions, “climate change,” and ocean acidification. The public trust doctrine has historically only applied to submerged and submersible lands underlying navigable waters as well as the navigable waters. The trial court rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments. On appeal the state Supreme Court affirmed, rejecting the test for expanding the doctrine the plaintiffs proposed. Under that test, the doctrine would extend to any resource that is not easily held or improved and is of great value to the public. The state Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs’ test was too broad to be adopted and remanded the case to the lower court. 

No. 1 – CARES Act, CFAP Programs and Disaster Legislations and CAA, 2021

Quite clearly, the biggest development of 2020 involved the numerous tax and loan provisions enacted in an attempt to offset the loss of income and closure of business resulting from the actions of various state governors as a result of the virus.  Also, the various pieces of legislation made some of the most significant changes to the retirement planning rules in about 15 years.  In addition, tax provisions were contained in disaster legislation that took effect in 2020.  In late December of 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA, 2021) was signed into law.  This law made significant changes to the existing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and provided another round of payments to farmers and ranchers under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).  The CAA, 2021 also extended numerous tax provisions that were set to expire at the end of 2020.

Conclusion

2020 was another big year in the ag law and tax world.  There’s never a dull moment. 

January 13, 2021 in Environmental Law, Income Tax, Regulatory Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 9, 2021

The “Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Two

Overview

There were many major legal and tax developments during 2020 that impacted agriculture and will continue to do so into the future.  Today, I continue my journey through the biggest developments of 2020.

The seventh and six most impactful developments of 2020 – it’s the topic of today’s post.

No. 7 – NRCS Final Rule on Conservation Provisions of the 1985 Farm Bill

85 Fed. Reg. 53137 (Aug. 28, 2020)

The federal government’s regulation of farm and ranch land is critical to all agricultural producers.  As a result, a significant regulatory development in 2020 involving farming practices on land makes the list as No. 7. 

Background

In late 2018, the USDA published a new interim rule concerning the conservation provisions that originated with the 1985 Farm Bill.  On August 28, 2020, a Final Rule was published.  The Final Rule adds definitions for “wetland hydrology,” “normal climatic conditions,” and “best drained condition.”  The Final Rule also modifies the manner in which the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is to delineate the various types of wetland and states that wetland determinations made between 1990 and 1996 are to be “certified” such that USDA benefits will not be denied if a farmer conducts farming activities on land that is covered by such a certification.  7 C.F.R. §12.5(b)(6)(i).   

Specifics

Delineations.  The NRCS claims that the Final Rule was prepared to clarify how the USDA “delineates, determines” and certifies wetlands located on subject land in a manner sufficient for making determinations of ineligibility for certain USDA program benefits.  However, the Final Rule does not clarify as much as it alters how the NRCS makes these determinations so as to make the process more convenient for the NRCS, and making appeals from that convenient, simplified process more difficult.  The Final Rule also represents a step away from the possible (but often inconvenient) scientific determination of wetland hydrology in regularly cropped farmed wetland across the prairie pothole region (a significant portion of the northern Great Plains and north-central Iowa and south-western Minnesota).

“Best drained condition.”  The NRCS claims that allowing the “best drained condition” of a tract is intended…” to provide clarity regarding a long-standing and practiced statutory concept that is fundamental to the identification of…” hydrologically altered farmed wetlands.  Calling this assertion a “stretch” is an understatement of substantial degree.  The phrase “best drained condition” is derived from Barthel v. United States Department of Agriculture, 181 F.3d 984 (8th Cir. 1999).   In that case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that the plaintiff landowners were entitled to the historic “wetland and farming regime” of a 450-acre hay meadow irrespective of the degree of manipulation of a ditch drainage device.  After more than 15 years and multiple contempt actions brought against the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in the Barthel litigation, the NRCS finally recognized that the Barthel decision meant that it had to apply a historic drainage (i.e., “best drained condition”) test to wetland determinations, and that the focus of the analysis was not to be on the manipulation of the drainage device, but rather on the effect of the manipulation of the drainage device on the subject property.    

Under the Final Rule, the NRCS explains how “best drained condition” is to be identified.  The NRCS asserts that the decision is to be made based upon the best available evidence.  That could include remote resources such as historical aerial imagery or other historical evidence. Indeed,  this is what the NRCS does in practice.  NRCS personnel make a decide whether or not the drainage outlet (device) is in good condition by examining the available historic aerial photographs and identifying one as providing the best historic drainage.  If the existing drainage matches that historic drainage, then aerial imagery may be used.  That’s what constitutes “best available evidence.”  One of a handful of aerial photographs taken between 1935 and 1985 is picked as the best by the agency expert.  Then it is set aside never to be used again.  The agency expert then judges if the outlet is compromised.

Since 1990, many landowners have been told that their wetland determinations made before 1996 were invalid and they requested new ones.  The new determinations resulted in more acres being determined as wetland than were designated in the original determinations.  This resulted in the loss of land use rights and the payment of penalties.  In one instance, an Iowa farmer was forced through a myriad of appeals as a result of wetland conversions done by his drainage district in the 1990s.  Following administrative appeals and court challenges (see Gunn v. United States, 118 F.3d 1233 (8th Cir. 1997), cert. den., 522 U.S. 1111 (1998)),  and after the farmer and the drainage district were forced to mitigate, an old determination surfaced showing that there actually was no wetland on his farm.  The initial determination of no wetland should have been considered certified. Will compensation be paid for the farmer’s loss of property rights?  Hardly. 

The NRCS responded to a comment about changing determinations based on new technology by stating that the limited circumstances where certified wetland determinations are subject to revision are:  “if the land in question has been removed from agricultural use, upon request of the USDA program participant, or when a violation of the wetland conservation provisions has occurred.”  In actual practice, this statement is incorrect.  NRCS states in its policy manual, The Food Security Act Manual, 5th Edition, that it will not make a review upon request unless it determines that there was an error.  Will the policy manual be amended to account for this statement in the Final Rule?  That’s a significantly important question for agricultural producers

There are numerous other aspects to the Final Rule.  In general, the Final Rule is troubling for farmers in many respects.  Perhaps the biggest is the NRCS position concerning wetland hydrology indicators for hydrologically altered wetland.  Millions of acres of these types of wetland are present in the prairie pothole states.  Also, of primary concern is the NRCS’ intent to triple the tile set-back requirements from the edge of farmed wetlands if the adjoining soil has groundwater discharge potential. 

It is difficult to believe that NRCS hydrologists, botanists and soil scientists were meaningfully involved in the writing of the Final Rule.

No. 6 – Dormant Commerce Clause

National Animal Meat Institute v. Becerra, 825 Fed. Appx. 518 (9th Cir. 2020). 

Background

Article I, section 8, clause 3 of the United States Constitution (the “Commerce Clause”) grants Congress the power to “regulate commerce” among the states.  Although the Constitution does not specifically limit a state’s power to regulate commerce, the United States Supreme Court has long interpreted the clause as an “implicit restraint on state authority, even in the absence of a conflicting federal statute.”  Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. 1 (1824) The basic precept was that when the Constitution was ratified the country was a single economic union, and the states surrendered their sovereign power to impose tariffs and restrain interstate trade.  See, e.g., THE FEDERALIST No. 7, 39–41 (Hamilton).  Instead, it is the Congress that can impose economic regulation (consistent with constitutional limits) on interstate commerce.  Thus, under the “Dormant Commerce Clause” a state cannot enact any rules or regulations that affirmatively discriminate against the economic production of goods in another state without a legitimate local justification for doing so. 

Clearly, a law that expressly mandates different treatment of in-state and out-of-state competing economic interests is unconstitutional on its face if that treatment favors in-state interests and burdens out-of-state interests. But, when a law is facially neutral, courts determine whether a Dormant Commerce Clause violation exists on the basis of whether the law imposes burdens on interstate commerce that are "clearly excessive in relation to the putative local benefits.”  See, e.g., Minnesota v. Barber, 136 U.S. 313 (1890)Gratiot Sanitary Landfill v. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 504 U.S. 353 (1992). 

State Regulation of Out-of-State Ag Production Activities

Eggs.  In 2014, a California federal court dismissed for lack of standing a challenge brought by major egg producing states to a California law (AB1437) dictating methods of production for all eggs sold in California.  Missouri, et al. v. Harris, 58 F. Supp. 3d 1059 (E.D. Cal. 2014).  The legislation bans the sale of shell eggs within California by producers or handlers if the eggs are the product of an egg-laying hen that was confined in an enclosure that fails to comply with certain animal care standards. 

The lawsuit claimed that the law (which amended the state’s Health and Safety Code) and its implementing regulations, violated the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution and was preempted by the Federal Egg Products Inspection Act.  21 U.S.C. §1031 et seq.  Effective January 1, 2015, the law criminalized the sale of eggs for human consumption in California if the eggs were the product of egg-laying hens confined in a manner not in compliance with the law no matter where they were produced. A violation of the law constitutes a misdemeanor and is punishable with a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 180 days or both.  Cal. Health & Safety Code §25997. 

The implementing regulations require enclosures containing nine or more egg-laying hens to provide a minimum of 116 square inches of floor space per bird. 3 C.C.R. 1350.   Enclosures containing eight or fewer birds are also regulated. Id.  Purportedly, the law was enacted to “protect California consumers from the deleterious, health, safety, and welfare effects of the sale and consumption of eggs derived from egg-laying hens that are exposed to significant stress and may result in increased exposure to disease pathogens including salmonella.” The plaintiffs, however, alleged that the California legislature’s real intent was to “level the playing field” for California producers faced with a costly California regulatory regime.  It was not enacted, the plaintiffs claimed, with the primary concern of protecting the health of California citizens.

The trial court dismissed the case for lack of standing.  The court asserted that the plaintiffs were claiming injury-in-fact to all of the citizens in their respective states, and reasoned that the increased cost of egg production in the non-California states challenging the law did not affect the general citizenry of those states.  Instead, the court determined that the California legislation would only impact egg producers that failed to conform their farming procedures to comply with the California rules.  Thus, according to the court, the plaintiffs did not bring the case on behalf of “a substantial segment of their populations.”  While the court accepted as true the claim that the California legislation would impose a substantial cost on the plaintiff-states, that cost wouldn’t be borne on the citizenry of the states as a whole, but rather just the subset of egg farmers that wished to continue selling eggs in California. 

The court also dismissed as without merit and speculative the plaintiffs’ argument that any resulting increase in the cost of eggs would injure all egg consumers.  The plaintiffs also alleged that they were disadvantaged compared to other states that were not impacted by the California legislation.  The court also dismissed this allegation as a basis for standing because the plaintiff states would not have to completely withdraw from egg production but would only incur “price fluctuations.” 

The court also determined that the threat of prosecution by California was merely speculative and was not imminent.  The court noted that the plaintiffs didn’t “articulate any concrete plan by their egg farmers to violate California’s shell egg laws.”  Merely preferring to continue to market eggs to California, the court said, was not a specific harm.  Unfortunately, the trial court failed to cite any cases to support its position on the standing issue where a state threatened to impose or did impose criminal penalties on conduct occurring in other states.  

The trial court’s opinion was affirmed on appeal.  Missouri v. Harris, 842 F.3d 658 (9th Cir. 2016).  The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.  Missouri v. Becerra, 198 L. Ed. 2d 255 (2017).    

Calves, pigs and hens.  In the fall 2018 election, California voters passed Proposition 12 (“The Farm Animal Confinement Initiative”) that establishes minimum requirements on farmers to provide more space for egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and caves raised for veal.  Specifically, the law requires that covered animals be housed in confinement systems that comply with specific standards for freedom of movement, cage-free design and minimum floor space.  The law identifies covered animals to include veal calves, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens.  The implementing regulations prohibit a farm owner or operator from knowingly causing any covered animal to be confined in a cruel manner, as specified, and prohibits a business owner or operator from knowingly engaging in the sale within the state of shell eggs, liquid eggs, whole pork meat or whole veal meat, as defined, from animals housed in a cruel manner.

In addition to general requirements that prohibit animals from being confined in a manner that prevents lying down, standing up, fully extending limbs or turning around freely, the measure added detailed confinement space standards for farms subject to the law.

Under Proposition 12, effective January 1, 2022, all pork producers selling in the California market must raise sows in conditions where the sow has 24 square feet per sow. The law also applies to meat processors – whole cuts of veal and pork must be from animals that were housed in accordance with the space requirements of Proposition 12. 

The National Animal Meat Institute (NAMI) challenged Proposition 12 as an unconstitutional violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause by imposing substantial burdens on interstate commerce “that clearly outweigh any valid state interest.”  The trial court rejected the challenge, finding that the plaintiff failed to establish that the law discriminated against out-of-state commerce for the purpose of economic protectionism.  National Animal Meat Institute v. Becerra, 420 F. Supp. 3d 1014 (C.D. Cal. 2019).  On appeal, the appellate court affirmed.  National Animal Meat Institute v. Becerra, 825 Fed. Appx. 518 (9th Cir. 2020).  The appellate court determined that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the plaintiff was not likely to succeed on the merits of its Dormant Commerce Clause claim.  The appellate court also stated that the plaintiff acknowledged that Proposition 12 was not facially discriminatory, and had failed to produce sufficient evidence that California had a protectionist intent in enacting the law.  The appellate court noted the trial court’s finding that the law was not a price control or price affirmation statute.  Similarly, the appellate court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in holding that Proposition 12 did not substantially burden interstate commerce because it did not impact an industry that is inherently national or requires a uniform system of regulation.  The appellate court noted that the law merely precluded the sale of meat products produced by a specific method rather than burdening producers based on their geographic location. 

A separate legal action has been filed in a different California court against Proposition 12 and it continues. 

Conclusion

The regulation of activities on agricultural land, and the regulation of ag productions activities - two big developments in 2020.  Next time I start to examine the five most important ag law and tax developments of 2020.

January 9, 2021 in Regulatory Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 8, 2021

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

Overview

There are a couple of online continuing education events that I will be conducting soon, and the dates are set for two summer national conferences in 2021. 

Upcoming continuing education events – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Top Developments in Agricultural Law and Tax

On Monday, January 11, beginning at 11:00 a.m. (cst), I will be hosting a two-hour CLE/CPE webinar on the top developments in agricultural law and agricultural taxation of 2020.  I will not only discuss the developments, but project how the developments will impact producers and others in the agricultural sector and what steps need to be taken as a result of the developments in the law and tax realm.  This is an event that is not only for practitioners, but producers also.  It’s an opportunity to hear the developments and provide input and discussion.  A special lower rate is provided for those not claiming continuing education credit.

You may learn more about the January 11 event and register here:  https://washburnlaw.edu/employers/cle/taxseasonupdate.html

Tax Update Webinar – CAA of 2021

On January 21, I will be hosting a two-hour webinar on the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.  This event will begin at 10:00 a.m. (cst) and run until noon.  The new law makes significant changes to the existing PPP and other SBA loan programs, CFAP, and contains many other provisions that apply to businesses and individuals.  Also, included in the new law are provisions that extend numerous provisions that were set to expire at the end of 2020.  The PPP discussion is of critical importance to many taxpayers at the present moment, especially the impact of PPP loans not being included in income and simultaneously being deductible if used to pay for qualified business expenses.  Associated income tax basis issues loom large and vary by entity type.

You may learn more about the January 21 event and register here:  https://agmanager.info/events/kansas-income-tax-institute

Summer National Conferences

Mark your calendars now for the law school’s two summer 2021 events that I conduct on farm income tax and farm estate and business planning.  Yes, there are two locations for 2021 – one east and one west.  Each event will be simulcast live over the web if you aren’t able to attend in-person.  The eastern conference is first and is set for June 7-8 at Shawnee Lodge and Conference Center near West Portsmouth, Ohio.  The location is about two hours east of Cincinnati, 90 minutes south of Columbus, Ohio, and just over two hours from Lexington, KY.  I am presently in the process of putting the agenda together.  A room block will be established for those interested in staying at the Lodge.  For more information about Shawnee Lodge and Conference Center, you made click here:  https://www.shawneeparklodge.com/

The second summer event will be held on August 2-3 in Missoula, Montana at the Hilton Garden Inn.  Missoula is beautifully situated on three rivers and in the midst of five mountain ranges.  It is also within three driving hours of Glacier National Park, and many other scenic and historic places.  The agenda will soon be available, and a room block will also be established at the hotel.  You may learn more about the location here:  https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/msogigi-hilton-garden-inn-missoula/

Conclusion

Take advantage of the upcoming webinars and mark you calendars for the summer national events.  I look for to seeing you at one or more of the events.

January 8, 2021 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 7, 2021

The “Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2020 – Part One

Overview

After working through the “Almost Top Ten” agricultural law and tax developments of 2020, I have now reached what I consider to be the ten biggest developments of 2020 in terms of their significance to the agricultural sector as a whole.  Agricultural law and agricultural tax intersects with everyday life of farmers and ranchers in many ways.  Some of those areas of intersection of good, but some are quite troubling.  In any event, it points the need for being educated and having good legal and tax counsel that is well-trained in the special rules that apply agriculture.

Developments 10 through 8 of the “Top Ten” agricultural law and tax developments of 2020 – it’s the topic of today’s post.

No. 10 – Department of Justice Announces Investigation of Meatpackers

In May of 2020, President Trump asked the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the pricing practices of the major meatpackers.  In addition, 11 state Attorneys General have asked the DOJ to do the same.  They pointed out in the DOJ request that the four largest beef processors control 80 percent of U.S. beef processing.  According to USDA data, boxed beef prices have recently more than doubled while live cattle prices dropped approximately 20 percent over the same timeframe.  The concern is that the meatpackers are engaged in price manipulation and other practices deemed unfair under federal law.

Questions about the practices of the meatpacking industry are not new – they have been raised for well over a century.  Indeed, a very significant federal law was enacted a century ago primarily because of the practices of the major meatpackers.  So, why is there still talk about investigations?  Is existing law ineffective?

Much of the matter is grounded in concerns about price manipulation by meatpackers.  Section 2020 of the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA), 7 U.S.C. §§192(a) and (e) makes it unlawful for any packer who inspects livestock, meat products or livestock products to engage in or use any unfair, unjustly discriminatory or deceptive practice or device, or engage in any course of business or do any act for the purpose or with the effect of manipulating or controlling prices or creating a monopoly in the buying, selling or dealing any article in restraint of commerce. This is a distinct concern in the livestock industry.

In June of 2010, the USDA issued proposed regulations providing guidance on the handling of antitrust-related issues under the PSA.  75 Fed. Reg. No. 119, 75 FR 35338 (Jun. 22, 2010).  Under the proposed regulations, "likelihood of competitive injury" was defined as "a reasonable basis to believe that a competitive injury is likely to occur in the market channel or marketplace.”  It includes, but is not limited to, situations in which a packer swine contractor, or live poultry dealer raises rivals' costs, improperly forecloses competition in a large share of the market through exclusive dealing, restrains competition, or represents a misuse of market power to distort competition among other packers, swine contractors, or live poultry dealers.  It also includes situations “in which a packer, swine contractor, or live poultry dealer wrongfully depresses prices paid to a producer or grower below market value, or impairs a producer's or grower's ability to compete with other producers or growers or to impair a producer's or grower's ability to receive the reasonably expected full economic value from a transaction in the market channel or marketplace."  According to the proposed regulations, a “competitive injury” under the PSA occurs when conduct distorts competition in the market channel or marketplace.  The scope of PSA §202(a) and (b) is stated to depend on the nature and circumstances of the challenged conduct. The regulations specifically note that a finding that a challenged act or practice adversely affects or is likely to affect competition is not necessary in all cases.  The proposed regulations note that a PSA violation can occur without a finding of harm or likely harm to competition, but as noted above, that is contrary to numerous court opinions that have decided the issue.  The regulations eventually made it into the form of an Interim Final Rule but were later withdrawn.  82 FR 48594 (Oct. 18, 2017).

If the investigation is actually conducted, results could occur that would be very positive to livestock producers (and consumers) throughout the nation.

No. 9 – Conservation Easements

During 2020, the U.S. Tax Court and the appellate courts continued to issue numerous opinions involving the donation of permanent conservation easements to qualified organizations and the donor claiming an associated charitable deduction.  Presently, the U.S. Tax Court has over 100 cases on its docket involving donated conservation easements.  A donated conservation easement involves a legal agreement between a landowner and either a government agency or a land trust specifying that the donated land must be used in ways that preserve specified conservation/preservation goals. 

Very specific requirements contained in the Internal Revenue Code must be satisfied to secure a charitable deduction for the donor.  Those rules include a requirement that the donated easement be perpetual in nature and that any proceeds received upon judicial extinguishment of the easement be split between the donor and the donee in a prescribed manner.  The easement must also be valued very carefully and meet IRS guidelines.  In addition, syndicated easement transactions receive heightened scrutiny by the IRS.   A syndicated conservation easement transaction is one where the tax benefit is split among various investors.  It is a transaction that the IRS has identified as “abusive” when an appraisal is used to value the donated land that overvalues the land at issue and, thus, inflates the donor’s charitable deduction.

During 2020, the IRS offered a settlement program for persons and entities engaging in transactions that the IRS viewed as improper by allowed such taxpayers to avoid litigation by paying penalties and surrendering any tax benefits already received.  Relatedly, in 2020, the U.S. Senate started investigations into potential abuses involving conservation easements.  In August, the Senate published its findings, concluding the promoters of syndicated conservation easements and those participating in the transactions had avoided paying billions in taxes improperly.  The Senate report termed syndicated conservation easement transactions as an “abusive tax shelter,” and that allowing such deals to continue “could undermine the U.S. Tax system.”

The heightened IRS scrutiny of conservation easement transactions, coupled with the very high rate of success in court challenging the claimed charitable deductions makes it critical that attorneys, other tax advisors and appraisers follow every rule.  Deeds conveying the easement must be very carefully drafted.     The IRS has indicated that it will examine every transaction and litigate all cases where it deems an inappropriate charitable deduction has been claimed.

 No. 8 – Farm Records and FOIA

Telematch, Inc. v. United States Department of Agriculture., No. 19-2372, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 223112 (D.D.C. Nov. 27, 2020)

Farmers disclose a great deal of information and data to the USDA (federal government) to be able to participate in federal farm programs.  The information/data is often tied to the particular farmer and farm location, thus raising privacy concerns over what persons and/or entities have access to it.  Indeed, in recent years some animal activists opposed to large-scale confinement livestock production have committed acts of vandalism (and worse) against targeted facilities. 

Because the information about farmers, their operations, and the locations of fields and facilities is in the hands of the USDA it is generally subject to disclosure to the public.  In 1967, the Congress enacted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  5 U.S.C. §552.  The FOIA requires the disclosure of federal government documents upon request.   The idea behind the law is to make federal agencies more transparent.  But can a FOIA request reach private information of farmers that is in the USDA’s hands?  Isn’t this personal information private?  It’s an important concern for farmers.  In 2020, a federal court issued an opinion that could prove to be very helpful toward easing the concerns of agricultural producers wanting to ensure that their private information is protected from public exposure. 

In Telematch, the plaintiff was in the business of collecting and analyzing agricultural data from various sources, including the federal government. The plaintiff submitted seven FOIA requests to the USDA for specific records. The records sought included farm, tract, and customer numbers created by the USDA. The USDA created these numbers to assign them to land enrolled in USDA programs and to identify program participants. The USDA denied the plaintiff’s FOIA requests either in part or fully on the basis that the records at issue were geospatial information exempt from disclosure as relating to specific farm locations and specific farmers, and on the basis that the information sought would result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

The plaintiff administratively appealed the FOIA requests, and then sued in federal court three months later after being unsatisfied with the USDA’s failure to adjudicate the appeal. The plaintiff alleged that the USDA violated the FOIA by withholding the customer, farm, and tract numbers. Additionally, the plaintiff alleged the USDA violated the FOIA by following an unlawful practice of systematically failing to adhere to FOIA deadlines. The plaintiff claimed that no substantial privacy interest was at stake, and the public interest in obtaining the requested information outweighed any privacy concerns.

As a starting point, the trial court noted that the FOIA mandates that an agency disclose records on request, unless the records fall within an exclusion. As to the farm and tract numbers, the trial court held that the USDA properly withheld the information as geospatial information. The trial court held that the farm and tract numbers are geospatial information, as they refer to specific physical locations.  Thus, USDA had properly not disclosed them to the plaintiff. 

The trial court also held that the USDA also properly withheld the customer numbers from disclosure.  Disclosing them, the trial court determined, would have been an invasion of personal privacy.  The court noted that while the customer numbers alone did not reveal information about landowners, they could be combined with other public data to identify individual farmers and reveal information about their farms and financial status. The plaintiff claimed that disclosing the customer, farm, and tract numbers would allow the public to monitor how the USDA was administering its farm programs.  Likewise, the plaintiff argued that the disclosure of the information would let the public determine whether the USDA was overpaying program participants and allow the public to determine whether farmers are complying with the USDA program.  However, the trial court concluded that neither of the plaintiff’s arguments warranted the disclosure of the numbered information because the plaintiff showed no evidence to support its claim of fraud and because the FOIA’s purpose is to shed light on what the government is doing rather than the conduct of USDA program participants. As a result, the court held that the USDA also properly withheld the customer numbers.

As for the plaintiff’s claim that the USDA systematically failed to adhere to FOIA deadlines, the court held that the plaintiff lacked standing for failing to establish the existence of an unlawful policy or practice. The court noted that the USDA responded to the FOIA requests according to then-existing USDA regulations. The regulations stated that FOIA requests served on USDA required prepayments for the request to commence. The plaintiff failed to prepay on some of the requests, and the USDA completed the remainder of the requests within FOIA deadlines. Finally, the court held that the USDA’s failure to adhere to statutory deadlines to process the plaintiff’s administrative appeals did not rise to the level of systematically ignoring FOIA requests.

An appeal was filed in the case on December 21, 2020.

Conclusion

The DOJ investigating meatpackers; tax issues with donated conservation easements; and the privacy of farm data – developments ten through eight.  Next time, I continue working my way toward the most significant ag law and ag tax development of 2020.

January 7, 2021 in Income Tax, Regulatory Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 3, 2021

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Two

Overview

I continue today with my perusal of the biggest developments in agricultural law and taxation from 2020 with the second installment of the “almost top 10” of 2020.  In part one, I covered deprioritization (or the lack thereof) of withheld taxes in a Chapter 12 bankruptcy; the preferential payment rule in bankruptcy involving the Dean Foods matter; the significant ag nuisance jury verdict in North Carolina involving Murphy Brown; and a recent federal court opinion holding that filing a tax return with false information on

Part two of the “almost top ten of 2020” (in no particular order) – that’s the topic of today’s post.

“Renewable” Energy Cash Grants

Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act (ARRTA) was a green energy subsidy program created by the Congress and signed into law as a part of the 2009 economic “stimulus” package.  The program created a system of cash grants in lieu of investment tax credits for entities that installed various types of alternative energy property such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower.  The purpose of payments (which were made after a qualified energy system was installed) was to reimburse grant recipients for a portion of the cost they incurred to install the energy systems at business locations.  The program started in 2009 and ended in 2012.

The program is not without criticism and IRS scrutiny.  The IRS rigorously audits companies utilizing the grants and, in some instances, the courts have ruled for the companies when the IRS partially denied the grants.  Those cases primarily involved indemnity agreements that allowed the financiers of the projects to recover their funds elsewhere if the grant was improperly disallowed.  In such “tax equity” deals it is common for the developer that finances a project to indemnify the tax equity investors if the tax benefits are less than expected. See, e.g., Alta Wind I Owner Lessor C v. United States, No. 13-402, 2020 U.S. Claims LEXIS 2071 (Fed. Cl. Oct. 21, 2020).  In Alta, the wind energy company plaintiff claimed that the government underpaid on the Sec. 1603 grant.  The court ruled that the company had alleged sufficient facts and injury to satisfy the constitutional standing requirement for the court to hear the case because the company had purchased the energy facilities at issue via a negotiated business transaction and alleged it had not been paid in full under Sec. 1603.

The IRS also won a significant case in 2020.  In early 2012, the plaintiff placed a qualified wind facility into service at a cost of $433,077,031. The plaintiff applied for a Section 1603 grant (in lieu of tax credits) of $129,923,109. As part of the grant application, the plaintiff submitted a development agreement that claimed to show a “proof of payment” in support of a $60 million development fee. The plaintiff, a “project company,” paid the development fee to its parent company, Invenergy, LLC. The U.S. Treasury awarded the plaintiff a grant of $117,216,098. The Treasury explained that the reason for the $12.7 million shortfall was based on the plaintiff’s excessive cost basis in the facility based on the inclusion of the development fee in the cost basis calculation. The Treasury asserted that the development fee transaction was a sham lacking economic substance shaped solely by tax avoidance motives.

The court agreed. Bank records showed that money passed through the bank accounts of several entities related to the plaintiff by wire transfer and then back into the original account. The court determined that the plaintiff could not establish any business purpose or economic substance to the banking transactions. A CPA from a national firm, as the result of an audit, testified that the development agreement contained no quantifiable services. Invenergy, LLC, was not able to produce any accounting journal entries showing a business purpose for the banking transactions. Thus, the court determined that the evidence showed a development fee with no quantifiable services, circular wire transfers that started and ended in the same bank account on the same day, none of which were corroborated by independent testimony. The court denied the plaintiff reimbursement of the $12,707,011 cash grant, and the U.S. Treasury was entitled to recover an overpayment of $4,380,039. Bishop Hill Energy, LLC, et al. v. United States, 143 Fed. Cl. 540 (2019). The court also reached the same conclusion in California Ridge Wind Energy, LLC v. United States, 143 Fed. Cl. 757 (2019).

The appellate court affirmed, upholding the trial court’s finding that amounts stated by the plaintiff in development agreements pertaining to the wind farms did not reliably indicate the development costs. The appellate court, on a consolidated appeal of the two cases, noted the “round-trip” nature of the payments; the absence in the agreements of any meaningful description of the development services to be provided, and the fact that all, or nearly all, of the development services had been completed by the time the agreements were executed. The appellate court also determined that the services were not quantifiable. As a result, the government could recover $10 million in cash grants from the two companies. California Ridge Wind Energy, LLC v. United States, 959 F.3d 145 (Fed. Cir. 2020).

The case is significant because it could impact the computation of tax credits for future projects. 

Trust Income Tax Regulations

On May 7, 2020, the IRS issued proposed regulations providing guidance on the deductibility of expenses that estates and non-grantor trusts incur.  REG-113295-18. The reason for the proposed regulations is that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), effective for tax years beginning after 2017 and before 2026, bars individual taxpayers from claiming miscellaneous itemized deductions.  I.R.C. §67(g).  This TCJA suspension of miscellaneous itemized deductions for individuals raised questions as to whether and/or how estates and non-grantor trusts are impacted.  In late September, the IRS finalized the regulations.  TD 9918 (Sept. 21, 2020).

The Final Regulations affirm that deductions for costs which are paid or incurred in connection with the administration of an estate or trust and which would not have been incurred if the property were not held in such trust or estate remain deductible in computing AGI.  In other words, I.R.C. §67(e) overrides I.R.C. §67(g).  However, the Final Regulations do not provide any guidance on whether these deductions (including those under I.R.C. §§642(b), 651 and 661) are deductible in computing alternative minimum tax for an estate or trust.  That point was deemed to be outside the scope of the Final Regulations. 

As for excess deductions, the Final Regulations confirm the position of the Proposed Regulations that excess deductions retain their nature in the hands of the beneficiary.  Treas. Reg. §1.642(h)-2(a)(2).   Excess deductions passing from a trust or an estate have their nature pegged by Treas. Reg. §1.652(b)-3. The nature of excess deductions of a trust or an estate is determined by a three-step process:  1) direct expenses are allocated first (e.g., real estate taxes offset real estate rental income); 2) the trustee can exercise discretion when allocating remaining deductions – in essence, offsetting less favored deductions for individuals by using them against remaining trust/estate income (also, if direct expenses exceed the associated income, the excess can be offset at this step); 3) once all of the trust/estate income has been offset any remaining deductions constitute excess deductions when the trust/estate is terminated that are allocated to the beneficiaries in accordance with Treas. Reg. §1.642(h)-4.  Treas. Reg. 1.642(h)-2(b)(2).   

Lying With Purpose of Harming Livestock Facility is Protected Speech

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Schmidt, 434 F. Supp. 3d 974 (D. Kan. 2020)

Beginning with Kansas in 1990, several states have enacted legislation designed to protect confined animal production facilities from sabotage activity from groups and individuals opposed to animal agriculture.  The laws generally forbid undercover filming or photography of activity on farms without the owner's consent.  They have been challenged as unconstitutional on numerous occasions. 

In this federal case involving Kansas law, the plaintiffs are a consortium of activist groups regularly conduct undercover investigations of livestock production facilities. Some of the plaintiffs gain access to farms through employment without disclosing the real purpose for which they seek employment (and lie about their ill motives if asked) and wear body cameras while working. For those hired into managerial and/or supervisory positions, they gain the ability to close off parts of the facility to avoid detection when filming and videoing. The film and photos obtained are circulated through the media and with the intent of encouraging public officials, including law enforcement, to take action against the facilities. The employee making the clandestine video or taking pictures, is on notice that the facility owner forbids such conduct via posted notices at the facility. The other plaintiffs utilize the data collected to cast the facilities in a negative public light but do no “investigation.”

In 1990, Kansas enacted the Kansas Farm Animal and Field Crop and Research Facilities Protect Act (Act). K.S.A. §§ 47-1825 et seq.  The Act makes it a crime to commit certain acts without the facility owner’s consent where the plaintiff commits the act with the intent to damage an animal facility. Included among the prohibited acts are damaging or destroying an animal facility or an animal or other property at an animal facility; exercising control over an animal facility, an animal from an animal facility or animal facility property with the intent to deprive the owner of it; entering an animal facility that is not open to the public to take photographs or recordings; and remaining at an animal facility against the owner's wishes. K.S.A. § 47-1827(a)-(d). In addition, K.S.A. § 47-1828 provides a private right of action for "[a]ny person who has been damaged by reason of a violation of K.S.A. § 47-1827 against the person who caused the damage." For purposes of the Act, a facility owner’s consent is not effective if it is induced by force, fraud, deception duress or threat. K.S.A. § 47-1826(e). The plaintiff challenged the constitutionality of the Act, and filed a motion for summary judgment. The defendant also motioned for summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiffs lacked standing or, in the alternative, the Act barred trespass rather than speech.

On the standing issue, the trial court held that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the portions of the Act governing physical damage to an animal facility (for lack of expressed intent to cause harm) and the private right of action provision, However, the trial court determined that the plaintiffs did have standing to challenge the exercise of control provision, entering a facility to take photographs, etc., and remaining at a facility against the owner’s wishes to take pictures, etc. The plaintiffs that did no investigations but received the information from the investigations also were deemed to have standing on the same grounds. On the merits, the trial court determined that the Act regulates speech by limiting what the plaintiffs could say and by barring pictures/videos. The trial court determined that the provisions of the Act at issue were content-based and restricted speech based on viewpoint – barring only that speech that would harm an animal facility. The trial court determined that barring lying is only constitutionally protected when it is associated with a legally recognizable harm, and the Act is unconstitutional to the extent it bars false speech intended to damage livestock facilities. Because the provisions of the Act at issue restrict content-based speech, its constitutionality is measured under a strict scrutiny standard. As such, a compelling state interest in protecting legally recognizable rights must exist. The trial court concluded that even if privacy and property rights involved a compelling state interest, the Act must be narrowly tailored to protect those rights. By focusing only on those intending to harm owners of a livestock facility, the Act did not bar all violations of property and privacy rights. The trial court also determined that the Governor was a proper defendant. 

In a later action, the court entered a permanent injunction against enforcement of Kan. Stat. Ann. §§47-1827(b)-(d).  Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Kelly, No. 18-2657-KHV, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58909 (D. Kan. Apr. 3, 2020).  A notice of appeal of the court’s decision was filed on May 1, 2020.  In July, the court trimmed-down the plaintiff’s request of attorney fees and costs from almost $250,000 to slightly over $176,000.  Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Kelly, No. 18-2657-KHV, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124,480 (D. Kan. Jul. 15, 2020). 

Conclusion

In the next post, I will continue the look at the “almost Top 10” of 2020 with Part 3.

January 3, 2021 in Estate Planning, Income Tax, Regulatory Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Can One State Dictate Agricultural Practices in Other States?

Overview

For several years now, some states (particularly California) have been testing the boundaries of the constitutional limits on economic regulation. The issue could have troubling implications for agriculture.  These states have enacted laws setting requirements that out-of-state producers of agricultural goods must meet before those goods can be sold in the state establishing the requirements. 

Clearly, a state can regulate economic activity within its borders, and can also establish the rules for goods that are sold and services that are provided within its jurisdiction.  However, when do those rules and regulations cross the constitutional line from being within a state’s authority to impermissibly regulating another state’s economic activity and national interests?

A state’s ability to regulate the economic activity of another state – it’s the topic of today’s post.

What Is the “Dormant Commerce Clause”?

Article I, section 8, clause 3 of the United States Constitution (the “Commerce Clause”) grants Congress the power to “regulate commerce” among the states.  Although the Constitution does not specifically limit a state’s power to regulate commerce, the United States Supreme Court has long interpreted the clause as an “implicit restraint on state authority, even in the absence of a conflicting federal statute.”  Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. 1 (1824) The basic precept was that when the Constitution was ratified the country was a single economic union, and the states surrendered their sovereign power to impose tariffs and restrain interstate trade.  See, e.g., THE FEDERALIST No. 7, 39–41 (Hamilton).  Instead, it is the Congress that can impose economic regulation (consistent with constitutional limits) on interstate commerce.  Thus, under the “Dormant Commerce Clause” a state cannot enact any rules or regulations that affirmatively discriminate against the economic production of goods in another state without a legitimate local justification for doing so. 

Clearly, a law that expressly mandates different treatment of in-state and out-of-state competing economic interests is unconstitutional on its face if that treatment favors in-state interests and burdens out-of-state interests. But, when a law is facially neutral, courts determine whether a Dormant Commerce Clause violation exists on the basis of whether the law imposes burdens on in terstate commerce that are "clearly excessive in relation to the putative local benefits.”  See, e.g., Minnesota v. Barber, 136 U.S. 313 (1890); Gratiot Sanitary Landfill v. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 504 U.S. 353 (1992). 

Recent Cases Involving Agriculture

Eggs.  In 2014, a California federal court dismissed for lack of standing a challenge brought by major egg producing states to a California law (AB1437) dictating methods of production for all eggs sold in California.  Missouri, et al. v. Harris, 58 F. Supp. 3d 1059 (E.D. Cal. 2014).  The legislation bans the sale of shell eggs within California by producers or handlers if the eggs are the product of an egg-laying hen that was confined in an enclosure that fails to comply with certain animal care standards. 

The lawsuit claimed that the law (which amended the state’s Health and Safety Code) and its implementing regulations, violated the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution and was preempted by the Federal Egg Products Inspection Act.  21 U.S.C. §1031 et seq.  Effective January 1, 2015, the law criminalized the sale of eggs for human consumption in California if the eggs were the product of egg-laying hens confined in a manner not in compliance with the law no matter where they were produced. A violation of the law constitutes a misdemeanor and is punishable with a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 180 days or both.  Cal. Health & Safety Code §25997. 

The implementing regulations require enclosures containing nine or more egg-laying hens to provide a minimum of 116 square inches of floor space per bird. 3 C.C.R. 1350 Enclosures containing eight or fewer birds are also regulated. Id.  Purportedly, the law was enacted to “protect California consumers from the deleterious, health, safety, and welfare effects of the sale and consumption of eggs derived from egg-laying hens that are exposed to significant stress and may result in increased exposure to disease pathogens including salmonella.” The plaintiffs, however, alleged that the California legislature’s real intent was to “level the playing field” for California producers faced with a costly California regulatory regime.  It was not enacted, the plaintiffs claimed, with the primary concern of protecting the health of California citizens.

The trial court dismissed the case for lack of standing.  The court asserted that the plaintiffs were claiming injury-in-fact to all of the citizens in their respective states, and reasoned that the increased cost of egg production in the non-California states challenging the law did not affect the general citizenry of those states.  Instead, the court determined that the California legislation would only impact egg producers that failed to conform their farming procedures to comply with the California rules.  Thus, according to the court, the plaintiffs did not bring the case on behalf of “a substantial segment of their populations.”  While the court accepted as true the claim that the California legislation would impose a substantial cost on the plaintiff-states, that cost wouldn’t be borne on the citizenry of the states as a whole, but rather just the subset of egg farmers that wished to continue selling eggs in California. 

The court also dismissed as without merit and speculative the plaintiffs’ argument that any resulting increase in the cost of eggs would injure all egg consumers.  The plaintiffs also alleged that they were disadvantaged compared to other states that were not impacted by the California legislation.  The court also dismissed this allegation as a basis for standing because the plaintiff states would not have to completely withdraw from egg production but would only incur “price fluctuations.” 

The court also determined that the threat of prosecution by California was merely speculative and was not imminent.  The court noted that the plaintiffs didn’t “articulate any concrete plan by their egg farmers to violate California’s shell egg laws.”  Merely preferring to continue to market eggs to California, the court said, was not a specific harm.  Unfortunately, the trial court failed to cite any cases to support its position on the standing issue where a state threatened to impose or did impose criminal penalties on conduct occurring in other states.  

The trial court’s opinion was affirmed on appeal.  Missouri v. Harris, 842 F.3d 658 (9th Cir. 2016).  The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.  Missouri v. Becerra, 198 L. Ed. 2d 255 (2017).    

Beyond eggs.  In the fall 2018 election, California voters passed Proposition 12 (“The Farm Animal Confinement Initiative”) that establishes minimum requirements on farmers to provide more space for egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and caves raised for veal.  Specifically, the law requires that covered animals be housed in confinement systems that comply with specific standards for freedom of movement, cage-free design and minimum floor space.  The law identifies covered animals to include veal calves, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens.  The implementing regulations prohibit a farm owner or operator from knowingly causing any covered animal to be confined in a cruel manner, as specified, and prohibits a business owner or operator from knowingly engaging in the sale within the state of shell eggs, liquid eggs, whole pork meat or whole veal meat, as defined, from animals housed in a cruel manner.

In addition to general requirements that prohibit animals from being confined in a manner that prevents lying down, standing up, fully extending limbs or turning around freely, the measure added detailed confinement space standards for farms subject to the law.

Under Proposition 12, effective January 1, 2022, all pork producers selling in the California market must raise sows in conditions where the sow has 24 square feet per sow. The law also applies to meat processors – whole cuts of veal and pork must be from animals that were housed in accordance with the space requirements of Proposition 12. 

The National Animal Meat Institute (NAMI) challenged Proposition 12 as an unconstitutional violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause by imposing substantial burdens on interstate commerce “that clearly outweigh any valid state interest.”  The trial court rejected the challenge, finding that the plaintiff failed to establish that the law discriminated against out-of-state commerce for the purpose of economic protectionism.  National Animal Meat Institute v. Becerra, 420 F. Supp. 3d 1014 (C.D. Cal. 2019)On appeal, the appellate court affirmed.  National Animal Meat Institute v. Becerra, 825 Fed. Appx. 518 (9th Cir. 2020).  The appellate court determined that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the plaintiff was not likely to succeed on the merits of its Dormant Commerce Clause claim.  The appellate court also stated that the plaintiff acknowledged that Proposition 12 was not facially discriminatory, and had failed to produce sufficient evidence that California had a protectionist intent in enacting the law.  The appellate court noted the trial court’s finding that the law was not a price control or price affirmation statute.  Similarly, the appellate court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in holding that Proposition 12 did not substantially burden interstate commerce because it did not impact an industry that is inherently national or requires a uniform system of regulation.  The appellate court noted that the law merely precluded the sale of meat products produced by a specific method rather than burdening producers based on their geographic location. 

A separate legal action has been filed in a different California court against Proposition 12 and it continues. 

Conclusion

Frankly, it’s difficult to not see the protectionist intent behind the California laws. Even assuming explicit protectionist intent is not present, in the litigation challenging the California laws, substantial data was produced showing the economic harm to out-of-state egg and pork producers wishing to sell their products in the California market. 

Of course, if the California requirements applied only to California egg and pork producers, out-of-state producers would be at an economic advantage.  If the point of the laws is health-based, it would seem that requiring egg and pork products to meet federal quality standards should be sufficient for eggs and pork to be sold in California.  Allowing one state to regulate certain sectors of another state’s agricultural production is the reason economic regulation among the states was reserved for the Congress in the first place.  If the courts don’t get this issue correct, problems abound for agriculture – regulating out-of-state agricultural activities won’t stop with eggs and pork.

December 22, 2020 in Regulatory Law | Permalink | Comments (0)