New online tool: Farmer Legal and Regulatory Guide


ANKENY, Iowa – The Iowa Soybean Association’s Environmental Programs and Services (ISA EPS) team announces a new, free online tool for farmers wanting to know what rules and regulations impact their operation.

Organized in a question and answer format, the “Iowa Farmer’s Legal and Regulatory Guide to Environmental Issues” is intended to help farmers navigate issues to figure out what are their rights and responsibilities and where to find more information. Topics include: air quality, animal production, fertilizers, fuel storage, leasing, manure management, pesticide use, soil conservation programs, water quality and more. It also includes information about incentive programs provided in the law that farmers can benefit from.

The website can be found at

Funded by the soybean checkoff and Congressional allocations through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the guide was compiled by the Drake Agricultural Law Center, under direction of Neil Hamilton, a leading authority on ag law. It fills a gap by making information available and understandable to nonlawyers, and pointing them in the direction of more information.

Hamilton cautions that the guide does not replace one’s own attorney. “We don’t know the facts of a particular situation, but the information we provide can probably tell enough for a farmer to know if they have an issue and need to contact an attorney.”

The website can be especially helpful for farmers involved in ISA’s CEMSA (Certified Environmental Management Systems for Agriculture).  ISA Technical Assistance Manager Martha Zwonitzer and other trained CEMSA staff currently work with more than 250 participants to develop custom-fit management plans to measure soil, nutrient, pest and energy management, and improve farmers’ efficiency and profitability. One section of completing the CEMSA process requires farmers to address the legal and regulatory issues they face and show they are staying abreast of environmental issues. This website can help them do that.

Whether a farmer is involved in CEMSA or not, the website offers a wealth of useful, easy-to-use information.