The old country song about “that ain’t Country” coupled with a Supreme Court ruling about when something qualifies as hardcore porn that essentially says “I know it when I see it,” doesn’t quite get a handle on what portions of the law of the land impact farm operators. Food and fiber production impacts us all and many layers of the law impact that production.
The American Ag Law Association annual meeting was held 10-11 NOV. Here is sampler of that topics the nation’s premier ag lawyers are currently wrestling with.
Urban Ag and Food Issues, Pipeline Projects, Federal Ag Policy (Farm Bill), Wetlands regulation, Ag Finance, Gene Editing, Ag producer contract agreements, Food traceability and its impact on food production, Anti-trust and Cooperative Law issues, Confined Animal Feeding regulations, Long term care cost impacts on farm operations, Agri Tourism, Farm Bankruptcy, Carbon Capture, Solar Leases, Immigration law impact on Ag operations, Land Use law updates, tax law updates, civil rights cases against the USDA, Artificial Intelligence and autonomous ag equipment, copyright and trademark law in the ag space, and internet sales direct from the farm. That is a wide swath of coverage.
We like to think as farm operators in the remote portion of the country we are exempt from a number of things and issues. Sure, we are outside of the Border Patrol’s 100 mile buffer zone (and the international airport radius for many of us), we are predicted to not be in a direct nuclear fall out zone and our population is low. The laundry list above does impact northeast Iowa and being aware of what laws are being implemented is important.
Here is an example
The latest requirement from the federal government will require all corporations, LLCS, and partnerships (really any business entity filed with the secretary of state) to report all owners who have over 25% or have substantial control of the organization.
The idea is to stop money laundering. Instead of having shown probable cause and get a warrant to dig into a private company’s books, the feds will just be able access the self-populated data base of ownership interest and take a look.
Not overly impressed with skipping the constitutional privacy and probable cause barriers that were removed by requiring the reporting at all. Also, we have seen that no government actors have ever misused or abused access to information for private gain. Oh wait, police officers using criminal background checks for potential tinder hookups was just in the news.
It will cost your organization some money as either a lawyer or tax preparer is likely going to have to file the information for your organization. The law passed in 2021 but true to form the regulations and details are now just starting to jell up. The overlords may give an extra year before implementation but then again, they don’t seem to be getting much done in the Potomac these days.
What’s is the ag law connection? Not only do farm operations use these entities for their own liability and business succession planning, but also they interact with those companies all the time. Those companies are going to pass the cost of this compliance on to the consumer (farm operator) who will not be able to pass that cost in most cases when they sell bulk commodities.