Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Top 10 Reported CAFO Violations

David Letterman has his Top 10 list.  Now the Indiana Department of Environment Management (IDEM) has its Top 10 list for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).  These large livestock producers are primarily regulated through IDEM's confined feeding operation (CFO) regulations.  Recently, IDEM provided Indiana Pork Producers with a list of most commonly witnessed CFO violations from its inspectors.  The top ten violations are below. My observations follow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Agricultural Drones: Flying Into Trouble?

Hoosier Ag Today interviewed me following my presentation on drone usage in agriculture at the Big Data/UAV forum in Indianapolis. Here is an excerpt:

Last week we reported on how drones held some important applications for agriculture. A recent air show in Illinois that featured drones drew hundreds of farmers. Yet, the lack of regulations by the government and the lack of clear cut legal precedents could spell trouble for those who try to take off. Todd Janzen, an Indiana Attorney, told HAT that the FAA has not released any rules on the use of drones and, for the time being, considers flying them for commercial purposes illegal, “The FAA says flying drones for recreation or hobby use is OK, but if it is being used for a commercial use that that is illegal. A use for a farm would fall somewhere in between.” He added, currently, farmers are most likely using a drone for a hobby but eventually they will want to use it for commercial applications.
Continue reading at Hoosier Ag Today

Monday, August 25, 2014

What Agriculture Can Learn from Medical Data Privacy Laws

Earlier this year, I suffered sudden hearing loss in my left ear. The condition caused me to visit a number of different doctors and medical providers. These visits made me realize, although we live in the digital age, doctors' offices still treat data like they did 100 years ago. Each time I visited a new physician or medical center, I filled out a similar stack of paper forms asking for the same information I had already given other providers--health history, prescriptions used, insurance, date of birth, SSN, symptoms, acknowledgments, etc. There was no data sharing between providers.

I can’t help but compare how the medical industry treats data to the discussion the agricultural industry is having right now about sharing big data and privacy.

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's Time for Real Property Law to Join the 21st Century

A farmer uses GPS to plant this field,
but his deed uses old metes and
bounds to describe it.  
I handle a number real estate transactions each year.  It is not uncommon to find an error in the property description located in a deed.  Often somewhere in the chain of title, someone made a typo which was then passed on from deed to deed to deed.  Attorneys call such mistakes "scrivener's errors."   These errors still occur today because the way property is described in deeds and other real estate documents has not changed much in past two centuries. Witnessing how much technology has improved farming in the past decade has made me wonder--why isn't the same technology being used to improve how we describe property boundaries?