Justia Minnesota Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Agriculture Law
Johnson v. Paynesville Farmers Union Coop. Oil Co.
The Johnsons, organic farmers, claimed that while Appellant, a cooperative, was spraying pesticide onto conventionally farmed fields adjacent to the Johnsons' fields, some pesticide contaminated the Johnsons' organic fields. The Johnsons sued Appellant on theories including trespass, nuisance, and negligence per se, seeking damages and injunctive relief. The district court granted summary judgment to Appellant and dismissed all of the Johnsons' claims. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court (1) concluded that the Johnsons' trespass claim and claim for damages based on 7 C.F.R. 205.202(b) failed as a matter of law, and therefore, reversed the court of appeals' reinstatement of those claims; and (2) held that the district court failed to consider whether the Johnsons' non trespass claims that were not based on section 205.202(b) could survive summary judgment, and therefore, affirmed the court of appeals' reinstatement of those claims. Remanded. View "Johnson v. Paynesville Farmers Union Coop. Oil Co." on Justia Law
Frederick Farms, Inc. v. County of Olmsted
In 2008, Olmsted County changed the property tax classification of farmland owned by Frederick Farms from agricultural-homestead to agricultural-nonhomestead property. The tax court denied Frederick Farms' petition to change the classification of the property back to agricultural homestead for taxes payable in 2009 and later. Frederick Farms appealed, arguing that it was operating a joint family farm venture with its sole shareholder, James Frederick, and that the County must classify the property as agricultural homestead because it was used by the joint family farm venture. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the tax court, concluding (1) that a joint family farm venture must own or lease, and not merely use, the property in order for a participant of the joint family farm venture to claim an agricultural-homestead classification; and (2) because the family farm corporation, not the joint family farm venture, owned the land in question, Frederick Farms was not entitled to claim an agricultural-homestead classification as a participant in a joint family farm venture. View "Frederick Farms, Inc. v. County of Olmsted" on Justia Law