Some of the major ag issues in Iowa were not resolved.
Clean Water or WOTUS rule is facing several challenges by farm and industry groups and environmental groups. No stake holder appears to be happy with the EPA's proposed interpretation and rules. Those rules are on hold while the litigation take place. It is likely a dispute that will fall at the feet of the United States Supreme Court before it is all said and done.
Iowa Water Works. Not to be left out of the conversation, the Des Moines Waterworks sued upper Iowa Counties alleging nitrate discharges are damaging the Des Moines Water Works ability to supply clean water. The parties are waiting on a ruling from a Polk County Judge regarding portions of the case.
Dakota Pipeline: The crude oil pipeline that is proposed to cut through the state of Iowa needs court authority to get the last 25% of the land it needs to complete its project. It is asking the court to force the sale of those last parcels through a process called eminent domain. Iowa does not have much case law on the value to the public of a private oil line so this court ruling will not likely be the end of the matter.
Rock Island Clean Line: This is a proposal for a an energy line that cuts through Iowa. Like the oil line above, it needs help from the courts to take the land it needs to complete the project. Infact, last count it would appear greater than 80% of the land required has not be voluntarily purchased or obtained.
Syngenta: Every corn farmer in Iowa has been the subject of mailings or inviations to discuss a possible law suit against Syngenta. Syngenta introduced a non approved corn trait into the t Chinese Market. As a result, this created a market down turn, according to the plaintiffs. While some were skeptical that the suit had merit, it is alive and well. Syngenta is now positioning to bring in the grain blenders and marketers into the litigation to share the financial burden, if any, for the import mix up. Scheduling orders in the cases are being generated and it would appear that sample of six producer plaintiffs from 8 of the 22 states will be selected for "bell weather cases". Bell weathers are smaller cases that the sides can use to see the outcomes of the larger mass of ligation and use them to frame a solution for all parties. Bell weather cases are the little pink plastic spoons at Baskin Robbins. You take some samples before committing to the triple decker fudge brown Sundae after all.
Drones. Ag is predicted to be one of the largest users of unmanned aerial aircraft for commercial purposes. The FAA has recently begun addressing the issue and should have a frame work to use in the near future.
We can all at least try to get along..
Farm Operators under stress in the coming weeks and months with lenders would do well to consider informal mediation to face the elephant in the room. Some operators had a lousy 2015 and are short on their obligation to repay the credit line. Talking about it will help, not talking about it will not. Sometimes, having a third party neutral is important. That neutral is referred to as a mediator.
Those mediators can explain what are the possible outcomes in the current situation (bankruptcy, forced sales, and litigation) and what other steps might be appropriate to avoid those outcomes. Sometimes, face to face conversations make it difficult for either side to give the ground required to achieve a solution.
A mediation is essentially a negotiation between the parties and is governed by the same principles that apply to any negotiation. Knowing the parties and the mediator are critical to have a successful mediation. This knowledge may be critical to achieving your result. Negotiating styles may be identified and grouped according to four basic personality types: directors, influencers, steady types, and compliant types.
Directors want immediate results. They accept challenges, and they make things happen. Directors seek power and authority, prestige and challenge. They need others to weigh the pros and cons of an action and calculate risks. If you know that certain parties or their counsel are directors, selecting a directing mediator is likely to bring the mediation to a quick conclusion. Any settlement would tend to be accomplished quickly, but you might leave objectives unfinished.
Influencers are "people person" types who make favorable impressions on others. Influencers need others to seek out the facts and focus on the task at hand.
An influencing-type mediator may be able to keep a mediation socially lubricated, so that directing parties do not reach an impasse or walk out too soon. For example, settlement between two director types would probably be served with a well-respected, influencing-type mediator.
Steady types focus on getting the job done. They want security and prefer the status quo unless valid reasons indicate change is necessary. A steady-type mediator could be particularly effective when the parties are influencers, providing a patient focus on the facts and the job at hand. Any settlement would be more likely to account for all the facts and needs of the parties.
Details that otherwise might be overlooked by influencing or directing types will more likely be covered.
Compliant types concentrate on key details. They focus on key directives and standards. A compliant type may be most useful in a mediation between director and influencer parties, accepting delegation of various tasks and providing no challenge to the parties' desire for control and expression.
The compliant-type mediator would act more as a messenger between the parties.