LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Genetically Modified Food Can Feed The Planet

By William A. Ruskin The publication of " Diet for a Small Planet " in 1971 by Francis Moore Lappé was a conscious-raising event for many Americans. The book makes the case that grain-fed meat production is wasteful and a contributor to global food scarcity. The author argues that...

Problems in the Mississippi River are Flowing Upstream: Gulf Restoration Network v. EPA

In 2008, various nonprofit environmental groups petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create rules to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the Mississippi River Basin. The environmental groups argued that because of the massive dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico—known...

Modern Agriculture's Big Five Issues (and How the Law is Reacting to Them)

For this next year, I’m serving as the chair of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Agricultural Management Committee . The Committee is part of the wider ABA Section on the Environment, Energy and Resources and focuses on cutting-edge issues involving agriculture and the environment, including...

Why the Chesapeake Bay Matters to Midwestern Farmers

I just returned from the American Bar Association's annual fall environmental conference. This year's conference was in Baltimore, at the north end of the Chesapeake Bay. Needless to say that the environmental condition of the bay and the controversy surrounding it were the talk of the conference...

Is Ethanol Causing Pollution of Our Streams?

While watching CNBC during my usual workout routine, I heard a story about how President Obama's "Green Energy" policies had a dark side. The story specifically referred to the renewable fuels standard (or "RFS") requiring that gasoline sold in the US contain a minimum percentage...

Five Agricultural Legal Issues to Watch in 2014

What will be the hot topics in ag law for 2014? Here are some predictions for the coming year: 1. Clean Air Act Targets Farmers . Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970 to clean up the nation’s air. The low hanging fruit of air pollution—power plants, industrial factories, trucks and automobiles...

The European Union's Common Agricultural Policy

Our Indiana Ag Leadership trip to northern Europe included a visit to the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. The European Commission is the executive branch of the European Union (EU). One of the main topics of discussion was the Common Agricultural Policy, or "CAP," the EU's version...

The Challenges Facing Liberian Agriculture

The last leg of our Indiana Ag Leadership class was to Liberia, West Africa. What we saw was dramatically different than the highly structured and sophisticated agricultural systems of Northern Europe. Liberian agriculture struggles in every area where EU agriculture thrives. The root causes are many...

Indiana Ag Leadership Program Wrap Up

The previous five posts chronicled my journey with the Indiana Agricultural Leadership program to The Netherlands, Belgium, and Liberia. From an agricultural standpoint, the contrast between northern Europe and West Africa could not be more extreme. Northern Europe has highly developed agricultural systems;...

Agricultural Leadership is Hard Work

During our Indiana Ag Leadership class trip to Liberia, West Africa recently, I saw something that has stuck with me since I arrived back in Indiana. At a United Nation's peacekeeping outpost in Ganta, Liberia--manned completely by Bangladeshi troops and engineers--I noticed a large saying hand painted...

Huge Manure Spill Fines: $120,000 Plus Surcharge

Two hog farming businesses and a Director must pay manure spill fines of $120,000, plus $30,000 victim fine surcharges, for discharging pig manure into the Thames River and Sweets Creek. The manure impaired the quality of water, contrary to the Ontario Water Resources Act. The individual Director also...

Top 10 CAFO Violations

David Letterman has his Top 10 list. Now the Indiana Department of Environment Management (IDEM) has its Top 10 list for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). These large livestock producers are primarily regulated through IDEM's confined feeding operation (CFO) regulations. Recently, IDEM...

Indiana Sets Rules for "Satellite" Manure Storage Structures

A few years ago, concerned Indiana residents raised complaints with their elected officials about the storage of manure in remote ponds, or “lagoons” that were not sited next to existing livestock farms. There was also concern that poultry litter was being shipped across state lines from...

Farm Animals, Manure and Environmental Law

Here is the presentation by Meredith James on Farm Animals, Manure and Environmental Law for the Animal Law section of the OBA . The presentation focuses on the manure produced by farm animals. In particular, the presentation looks at how manure is regulated and how violations of the acts governing...

Is Your Business Prepared for a Crisis?

A crisis can destroy a business’s reputation and bottom line. A crisis can come from anywhere: a surprise EPA, OSHA, or other regulatory inspection, a natural disaster, or a man-made catastrophe like the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion last year. Though a business owner can never anticipate...

Farm Bureau Data Privacy Poll Produces Some Interesting Results

The American Farm Bureau Federation (Farm Bureau) recently polled over 2500 farmers about their concerns with data privacy and technology. Over 1000 of those surveyed indicated that they already use “precision technologies” on their farm, including data analysis tools operated by off-farm...

Ag Industry Releases Core Principles for Farm Data Privacy

This past year some of America’s leaders in agricultural technology products worked together with American Farm Bureau Federation and industry trade organizations to come up with a set of core principles for data privacy. The principles identified should help these agriculture technology providers...

Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data

A few people have asked me for a link to the farm data core principles document released by ag technology providers and industry trade organizations. Below is the entire document, which represents a collaboration of American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Beck’s Hybrids,...

A Closer Look at Farm Data Ownership

A number of agriculture technology providers (ATPs) worked together recently to produce a document identifying core industry principles for data privacy and security on the farm. (Read the core principles document here: Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data ). One principle addressed ownership...

Big Data on the Farm: Presentation to Indiana Farm Bureau

My January 20, 2015 presentation to Indiana Farm Bureau's District Meeting can be found by clicking on the following link: Big Data on the Farm Don't forget to also check out American Farm Bureau Federation's Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data . Read more at Janzen...

What You Need to Know about Farm Data Privacy

Here is my presentation to the Indiana Horticultural Congress on January 21, 2015. You can follow along online by clicking below: Farm Data Privacy: What You Need to Know Please check out other articles about the agriculture and technology on this blog. Read more at Janzen Ag Law...

Defining "Big Data" in Agriculture

A recent comment on one of my articles addressing big data concerns in farm leases asked why I used the term "big data" instead of just "data." This got me thinking about the definition of "big data" and what the term really means with respect to agriculture. Before looking...

Talking Big Data and Drones on Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick

I was recently lucky enough to be interviewed by Gerry Dick for his television show Inside Indiana Business. I was joined by Beck's Hybrid's Jim Shertzer who leads FARMserver , a web-based farm data storage and analysis tool. These are exciting times for agriculture! You can watch the video by...

Co-op and Custom Applicators: Are You Addressing Farm Data in Your Contracts?

Farmers will call up their local co-ops this year to help them fertilize and spray their fields. These sprayers-for-hire will be recording what they do, but what happens to that data after that point? Does the co-op have an obligation to provide that data to the farmer? Does the co-op own the data generated...

Does Your Co-Op Own Your Farm Data?

Recently I was asked this question: When a farm cooperative (a “co-op”) does work for a farmer and in the process generates agronomic data, does the co-op own that data or does the farmer? Many in the ag industry like to say “the farmer owns the data,” but the co-op’s generation...