Ag News – Farm Bill, Pig Farms, and Wind Farm Construction

October 11, 2011

As always, farmers and the law are in the news this week.

Lawmakers are debating a Farm Bill. This article in Ag Week discusses one legislator’s views on the direction the country might take with a new Farm Bill.

The Eagle Tribune reports a pig farmer in Massachusetts is fighting a recent decision to disallow his proposed piggery.  Law protecting the right to farm vary across the country.  Here in Minnesota, there have been many attempts to protect animal farmers from nuisance claims, including the Right to Farm Law in Statute 561.19.  In many cases, though, these laws protect existing operations from new neighbors disturbed by oderrific conditions, not new operations.

South Dakota is considering cutting taxes on wind farm development, in order to better compete with neighboring states.  Minnesota is home to many wind farms, and many landowners, farmers, and retired farmers appreciate the opportunity to earn a little extra money each year from their windmills.  These contracts are often long-term, run with the land (that means your heirs will be bound by the terms of the contract), and heavily weighted toward protecting the developer and not the farmer.  A gentle reminder: if you are considering signing a windmill contract, bring the easement and other documentation to your attorney to be sure you understand exactly what you’re signing.  Too many times, clients have brought in already signed and recorded windmill easements and were disappointed to discover the terms were not very favorable to their wishes.

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