Articles Posted in Agriculture Law

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Plaintiffs are partners in the business of dairy farming. Defendant is an agricultural cooperative in the business of producing and supplying dairy products. In 1980, plaintiffs became members of defendant’s cooperative, paid $15 for shares of defendant’s common stock, and entered into a “Milk Marketing Agreement” with defendant. In 2005, plaintiffs temporarily ceased milk production. Defendant notified plaintiffs that it had terminated their agreement and plaintiffs’ membership in the cooperative and tendered $15 to plaintiffs to redeem the shares of common stock. Plaintiffs rejected the payment and sought shareholder remedies pursuant to the Business Corporation Act (805 ILCS 5/12.56). Based on defendant’s alleged concealment, suppression, or omission of its interpretation of its by-laws, count II alleged a claim under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (815 ILCS 505/1), and count III alleged common-law fraud. Plaintiffs’ counsel withdrew and they obtained multiple extensions. After a voluntary dismissal, plaintiffs refiled. The circuit court dismissed the refiled action on grounds of res judicata and the statute of limitations. The appellate court reversed and remanded and the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. Although nearly five years elapsed between the time plaintiffs were granted leave to file an amended complaint and their voluntary dismissal, defendant did not seek a final order dismissing the matter with prejudice, definitively ending the action. View "Richter v. Prairie Farms Dairy" on Justia Law

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Consolidated Grain maintains a grain elevator in La Salle County, sold Rogowski’s crops, and gave him the proceeds by checks paid directly to him. The bank had lent money to Rogowski for which he signed a note and granted the bank a security interest in his crops and any proceeds of their sale. The bank notified Consolidated of its lien by two written notices, one covering crop years 2004 and 2005 and the other covering years 2005 and 2006. The notices listed as covered agricultural commodities “all grain on hand, all growing crops,” without listing their amount or location. The bank obtained a deficiency judgment against Rogowski in 2008, which remains unsatisfied, then sought payment from Consolidated. The trial court ruled in favor of the bank. The appellate court reversed and the supreme court affirmed. The Federal Food Security Act of 1985 provides how notices of security interests are to be worded and provides that there must be a statement of “each county or parish in which the farm products are produced or located,” The court rejected a “substantial compliance” argument and held that the notices were insufficient for failing to strictly comply with the Act. View "State Bank of Cherry v. CGB Enters., Inc." on Justia Law

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The Rosenwinkels purchased 160 acres in Kendall County in 1991 and began cattle operations in 1992. Across the road was a farm house, at least 100 years old; in 1991, the tenant moved out and the house was vacant. In 1998, the Toftoys demolished the house. They built a new home, completed in 2004. In 2007, they filed a nuisance action complaining about flies. The Rosenwinkels sought protection under the Farm Nuisance Suit Act (740 ILCS 70/1). The circuit court entered judgment in favor of the Toftoys and ordered remedial measures, including removal of moist bedding and manure. The appellate court affirmed, except as to the remedy. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, reasoning that plaintiffs did not acquire property rights until six years after the farm began operating, beyond the Act’s one-year limitation. By “coming to the nuisance,” plaintiffs were barred from suit. The Act is a “right-to-farm” law to limit nuisance actions and preserve use of farmland. It provides that no farm “shall be or become a private or public nuisance because of any changed conditions in the surrounding area” when the farm has been in existence for one year and was not a nuisance when it began operations. View "Toftoy et al., etc., v. Rosenwinkel et al." on Justia Law