January 15, 2021 Weekly Round Up

Happy 2021, friends!  We hope you all had a happy, healthy holiday and we are excited to be back for our first Weekly Round Up of the year.  Here are some of the major agricultural law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks.

* Lawsuit filed seeking to overturn recent dicamba registration.  On December 22, several environmental groups filed suit against the US Environmental Protection Agency challenging the recent approval of the use of over-the-top dicamba products through 2025. Specifically, the lawsuit claims that the EPA violated FIFRA and the Administrative Procedures Act in issuing the registration for Xtendimax, Engenia, and Tavium.  [Read Petition here and article here.]

*Soybean farmers may not file claims as part of Monsanto drift settlement.  Soybean farmers who suffered yield losses as a result of dicamba drift between 2015-2020 may now file a damage claim as part of a $400 million settlement with Monsanto. The deadline to submit claims is May 28, 2021.  You may find the claims form here. Note that this settlement applies only to harm to soybean producers.  Claims for farmers with other types of crop damage are reportedly in the process of settling those claims separately. [Read article here.]

* Details of agricultural provisions in COVID relief package.  At the end of December, Congress passed a COVID-19 stimulus bill, which included an estimated $13 billion allocation for agricultural programs.  Farm Bureau published an article outlining some of the details about how this money will be allocated among various agricultural programs.  [Read article here.]

*Court dismisses challenge to North Carolina Right to Farm Act.   A trial court in North Carolina recently dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the revised North Carolina Right to Farm Act.  [See Order here.]  For more information on the background and details of this North Carolina Right to Farm Act, click here to listen to my podcast interview with Jake Parker.

* Estate planning strategies.  Business Insider recently published an article looking at 5 estate planning strategies to consider.  It provides really useful, practical information for everyone to consider.  [Read article here.]

*2021 estate and gift tax limitations updated.  Each year, the federal estate and gift tax limitations are adjusted for inflation.  For 2021, the federal estate tax limit will be $11.7 million for an individual and $23.4 million for a couple.  The federal gift tax limit will remain at $15,000 for 2021.  For more information on estate and gift taxes, click here to hear a podcast interview I did with Kitt Tovar.

*Survey shows impact of COVID-19 pandemic on farmers/farm workers.  A recent study showed that 66% of farmers and farm workers indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on their mental health.  [Read article here.]  Rural mental health is an issue that is near and dear to my heart.  It’s so important to know that if you are struggling, you are not alone.  To hear a discussion about this issue, the importance of stopping the stigma, and some available resources, click here to listen to a podcast interview I did with Lesley Kelly.

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