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Agricultural Biotechnology

Genetically Engineered Rice: A Summary of the LL Rice 601 Incident (December 2006)
A. Bryan Endres and Justin G. Gardner

Reports that genetically engineered rice entered the food supply chain surfaced this summer. The unapproved for export varieties, not surprisingly, engendered significant controversy, resulting in the filing of several lawsuits and disruption of the international rice trade. This article summarizes the history of the commingling, compares this incident with the previous StarLink litigation, and analyzes the impact on the rice futures market. PDF

Focus on Biotechnology—Farmer Liability for Commingled
Biotech Crop Shipments
(March 2005)
A. Bryan Endres

Emerging regulations for overseas grain shipments ultimately may result in farmer liability for the commingling of even trace amounts of genetically engineered crops. The European Union now requires labeling of all products (including bulk grain shipments) that contain more than 0.9% of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Moreover, there is zero tolerance for unapproved biotech products in the European Union, such as StarLink corn. PDFHTML

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Genetically Modified Food
Pew Charitable Trust Initiative

Selling Agricultural Products

Illinois Grain Insurance Fund: Protecting Farmers if an Elevator Fails (July, 2008)
ALTB_08-05 Donald L. Uchtmann and A. Bryan Endres

This article describes the protections provided to farmers and lenders by the Illinois Grain Code in the event an Illinois-licensed grain elevator fails. PDF

Grain Contracts, High Prices, Floods and Failure to Deliver (July, 2008)
ALTB_08-04 Donald L. Uchtmann, A. Bryan Endres and Stephanie B. Johnson

This article addresses important contract law questions that arise when a farmer’s crop is lost to floodwaters or when market prices rise much higher than the forward contract prices established months earlier. PDF

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Selling Livestock

Acquiring Agricultural Land

Illinois Farm Leases: One Variable Cash Rent Option (July, 2008; Revised August, 2008)
ALTB_08-03 Donald. L. Uchtmann and A. Bryan Endres
This article describes a Variable Cash Rent Lease in which the farmland owner and operator negotiate a Base Cash Rent based on expected corn yields and the current price for new-crop corn futures contracts. The Actual Cash Rent will be the Base Cash Rent adjusted for changes in corn futures prices between the time the lease is negotiated and about March 1. PDF

Farm Owner's Death: Can Tenant Continue Farming Under the Lease? (June, 2007)
ALTB_07-04 Donald. L. Uchtmann
This article describes the effect on a farm tenant’s lease when the Illinois farmland owner dies, becomes mentally incompetent, or sells the farm. PDF

Protecting a Farm Tenant's Right to Compensation for Improvements Made to the Leased Farm in Illinois (April, 2007)
ALTB_07-03 Donald. L. Uchtmann
This article encourages Illinois farm tenants to be very cautious about making and paying for improvements to rented land and to seek legal counsel before doing so.  If a farm tenant decides to pay for such improvements, the article suggests ways to assure fair compensation to the tenant for the un-depreciated value of improvements made by the tenant at tenant's expense (e.g., grain storage or drainage improvements, or lime applied on the rented farm) if the tenant later loses the farm . Thanks to the Illinois Bar Foundation and to the Agricultural Law Section Council of the Ill. State Bar Association for supporting the development of this article. PDF


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Lease Forms
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Water, Resources and Environment

The Illinois Drainage Code – Accessing and Using the Statute (November 2006)
Donald L. Uchtmann

The Illinois Drainage Code is the principal Illinois statute addressing drainage rights and responsibilities in Illinois. It is available from the Website of the Illinois General Assembly. The citation to the Illinois Drainage Code is 70 ILCS 605. PDF

Using Groundwater (September, 2000)
Donald L. Uchtmann
Illinois follows the doctrine of reasonable use for groundwater withdrawals. This brief article describes that doctrine. It also describes the impact of the Water Use Act of 1983 and the Water Authorities Act on one's rights to withdraw groundwater, and the role of the courts in resolving disputes. Links to the Water Use Act and Water Authorities Act are provided. PDFHTML


Labor Law

Minimum Wage Increasing in Illinois but Ag Exemption is Unchanged (July, 2007)
Donald L. Uchtmann

The Illinois minimum wage rate increased to $7.50 per hour on July 1, 2007 and increases annually through 2010.  The federal minimum wage is also increasing.  However, the exemptions for "agricultural labor" were not changed by these recent amendments.


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Child Labor Law
Minimum Wage & Employment



Some Farm Families are Underpaying Their Self-Employment Tax (January, 2008)
ALTB_08-01 Gary J. Hoff

If both husband and wife are receiving USDA farm program payments they may be underpaying their self-employment tax. Except for crop share landlords, a participant must actively participate in the farming operation to qualify for payments. This means each person also is liable for self-employment tax on the profits created by the farming operation. PDF

Self Employment Tax Treatment of CRP Payments (November, 2007)
ALTB_07-08 Gary J. Hoff

The Internal Revenue Service has taken the position that all conservation reserve program (CRP) payments are subject to self employment (SE) tax. This is a reversal of prior opinions. This proposed rule may affect the reporting of CRP income received in 2007areas for tax saving. PDF

Yearend Farm Tax Planning Considerations (November, 2007)
ALTB_07-07 Gary J. Hoff

As the end of 2007 nears, farmers may be able to save thousands of dollars of federal income tax or self employment tax with adequate planning. In this article Gary Hoff describes some of the possible areas for tax saving. PDF

Conservation Easements: Act Quickly to Take Advantage of 2006 Tax Law (August, 2007)
ALTB_07-06 Paul Queck and Gary J. Hoff

Farmers and ranchers can protect their land from urban sprawl and qualify for an enhanced federal tax deduction. However, they must act quickly as the federal law granting the enhanced deduction is set to expire December 31, 2007.


Other Issues

A Move Towards a More Fair Division: Envisioning a New Illinois Fence Act (December 2012)
ALTB_12-01 A. Bryan Endres and Lisa R. Schlessinger
Largely unchanged since its initial passage in 1819, the Illinois Fence Act provides that adjoining landowners “. . . shall make and maintain a just proportion of the division fence between them[.]” When the legislature drafted the statute in the early 1800s, land use patterns in Illinois looked quite different than today. Specifically, more landowners had cattle and sheep roaming their land. Starting in 1950, the number of farms in Illinois with livestock grazing has declined, with dramatic reductions in the 1960s and 1970s. As show in the chart below, this trend continues. PDF

How to Find an Attorney (June, 2008; Revised July, 2008)
ALTB_08_02 A. Bryan Endres, Stephanie B. Johnson & Donald L. Uchtmann
This article discusses how to find an attorney in Illinois and a new project, the “Illinois Family Farm Law Project”, which provides free legal assistance to qualified low-income family farmers. The article also describes how to verify that an Illinois attorney is in good standing. PDF




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