November 17, 2017 Weekly Round Up

We’ve made it to another Friday!  I want to welcome those of you who attended the Five States Beef Conference in Perryton, Texas last week and are joining us from that presentation.

Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.

*Deadline to begin reporting agricultural emissions extended by EPA awaiting court mandate.  You may remember from this prior blog post that in April, a federal court held that federal regulations exempting agricultural operations from reporting emissions of hazardous substances under two federal environmental laws were illegal.  In particular, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from animal waste, the court ruled, is required to be reported as required by the statutes if amounts are above the set threshold.  The deadline for operations with emissions of more than 100 pounds of these substances in a 24 hour period to begin reporting was set for November 15.  On the eve of that deadline, the EPA announced it would not require reporting until the court issued an order or mandate enforcing the April decision.  [Read EPA position here.]  Meanwhile, agriculture has scrambled to determine exactly how to measure and report emissions from animal waste.  The EPA has published a guidance document, and the University of Illinois put out a chart to help producers determine threshold numbers of various livestock species when reporting would likely be required.  Producers should consider whether they could fall within the reporting requirements when they the EPA requires reporting and ensure they are prepared and understand their obligations.

*Great overview of pending tax reform bills by Iowa State University.  Kristine Tidgren with Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation recently published a great summary of what’s currently on the table in both the House and Senate tax reform bills.  She walks through many of the key issues that could impact agriculture and notes the differences in the two bills currently pending in Washington.  [Read post here.]

Photo via Jomar Thomas, Unsplash

*Articles discuss solar farms in agricultural areas.  A couple of articles were circulated on an agricultural law list serve I am a member of recently related to solar leasing on agricultural land.  I thought both highlight some interesting issues related to land use, zoning, best use of high-quality cropland, and property rights.  [Read articles here and here.]

*Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show presentation set for November 28.  Those of you headed to Amarillo for the Farm and Ranch Show in a couple of weeks should come meet up with me!  I’ll be presenting on agricultural lease agreements as part of the Panhandle Farm and Ranch Management Symposium.  It looks like a great agenda with several interesting and important topics for farmers including corn mycotoxins, aphid issues, herbicide technology, and irrigation efficiencies.  [Read press release here.]


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