An agricultural law expert at Iowa State University says a recent court ruling that struck down Nebraska’s ban on corporate farming should have little impact on a similar law in Iowa. The Eighth Circuit Court in St. Louis ruled the Nebraska law was unconstitutional because it restricted interstate commerce.
But Roger McEowen, the director of ISU’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, says Attorney General Tom Miller has reached agreements with Smithfield Foods and Cargill Incorporated that allows them to contract with Iowa farmers to raise livestock for their meat processing plants.
He says the Iowa statute’s "on pretty good ground," and the attorney general’s entered into "some pretty solid settlement agreements" with those two firms. Though the big meat processors contract with farmers to raise livestock for them, McEowen says they don’t violate the Iowa law against corporate ownership of farming operations.
The Nebraska law’s materially different from the Iowa one, enough that McOewn says the Iowa law is not in peril. Nebraska’s corporate-farming ban was considered the strictest in the nation.