We begin 2011 with our annual look at the most significant agricultural law developments of the previous year. Legal issues continue to be at the forefront of developments that are shaping the present and future of American agriculture, and it is very likely that the involvement of the legal system in agriculture will continue to grow. The following is my list of what I view as the top ten agricultural law developments of 2011 based on their impact (or potential impact) on U.S. agricultural producers and the sector as a whole.
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The "Top Ten"
1. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Act) at the Supreme Court.
2. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Vacates Tax Court opinion on spousal reimbursement plan.
3. Pesticide drift may constitute a trespass.
4. Aerogenerator ban upheld against takings claim.
5. Multi-million dollar judgment award in GMO rice case.
6. Charitable lid estate planning technique validates use of defined value clauses for gift tax purposes.
7. EPA issues draft guidance on wetland jurisdiction.
8. Courts more clearly define the limits of the antitrust exemption for cooperatives.
9. U.S. Department of Labor proposed rules applicable to young farm workers.
10. Case illustrates importance of details in administrative appeals.