Toxicologist Responds to Atrazine's Critics

By Todd J. Janzen, Partner, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP I recently attended a seminar with Tim Pastoor, a toxicologist from Syngenta and a leading expert on atrazine (also simazine and propazine), a popular farm herbicide used to control weeds in corn and sorghum. This was particularly interesting...

State Net Capitol Journal Legislative Updates: Transfer of Yellowstone National Park Bison Halted

ENVIRONMENT A MONTANA judge blocks any further relocation of Yellowstone National Park bison to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. Judge John McKeon blocked any transfers until a lawsuit filed by ranchers and property rights groups opposed to the relocations is resolved (GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE). ...

The Struggle Over the Mississippi River Basin

By Todd J. Janzen, Partner, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP While most farmers go quietly about their spring planting this year, a storm is brewing over the Mississippi River Basin of which few are probably aware. I am referring to the legal struggle over establishing "numeric nutrient...

Silage vs. Curtilage: More on the EPA's Flyover Controversy

By Todd J. Janzen, Partner, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP The web has been abuzz the last few weeks with articles and editorials about the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) use of aerial flyovers to look for violations of the Clean Water Act on Nebraska and Iowa feedlots. The issue...

Atrazine Settlement Provides Millions to Water Utilities

By Todd J. Janzen, Partner, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP A class action lawsuit alleging that the herbicide Atrazine contaminated various Midwestern water supplies has been settled. As part of the settlement , Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. (Syngenta), the maker of Atrazine, has agreed...

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...

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...