Happy Friday! Here are some of the agricultural law stories in the news this week.
* Bird cannons causing trouble for neighbors. One of the more common nuisance claims involving agricultural operations are those involving propane cannons used to keep birds away from fruits like grapes and blueberries. Oftentimes, neighbors complain about the sound from these cannons, which can fire off every few seconds for hours a day. Right to Farm statutes are an important line of defense for farmers facing this type of complaint, if the state’s RTF requirements are met. [To read about a prior case on this issue in Texas, click here.] However, as the article states, the best option for neighbors and farmers is almost always to communicate well and work together to come up with a solution to these issues. [Read article here.]
* Lessons for selling grain from a $27 million ponzi scheme. AgWeb published a great (and terrifying) article this week offering lessons for producers selling grain after more than 100 Missouri farmers found themselves caught up in a ponzi scheme. Among the advice offered–always get grain contracts (all contracts) in writing; review your scale tickets and settlement sheets; know the party you are doing business with; and beware of deals that seem too good to be true. [Read article here.]
* Oklahoma shuts down numerous injection wells after earthquake. After a 5.6 magnitude earthquake centered in north-central Oklahoma last week, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has shut down numerous injection wells in the surrounding area. [Read article here.]
* Department of Justice seeks to block John Deere/Monsanto Precision Planting deal. The Department of Justice has filed suit alleging anti-trust violations over the proposed purchase of Monsanto’s Precision Planting LLC by John Deere. The DOJ claims that the deal would combine the only two significant providers of precision planting systems and drive up costs to farmers. Not surprisingly, John Deere claims that these concerns are misguided and that there is strong competition in precision agriculture. [Read article here.]
* 7 things your estate planner wants you to know before you die. Trust Advisor recently published a great article discussing what your estate planner wants you to know before you die. The seven-item list includes: think about death; dying without a will is never pretty; inventory your belongings; always name an executor; property tax exemptions are complicated; regularly review your beneficiaries; long term care does not mean sacrificing your home. [Read article here.]