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Legal team wants farmers to serve as ‘watchdog network’

—By Kathleen M. Dutro
Public Relations Team

The Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation is a charitable organization established by Indiana Farm Bureau to promote better understanding of legal issues facing the agricultural community.

It’s mission: “To further the understanding of agricultural legal issues within the agricultural community, the judicial branch of government and the public at large through education, research and litigation; and to provide financial support in the resolution of legal issues of common concern and establish legal precedent favorable to the agricultural community.”

While the Indiana Farm Bureau legal affairs team serves as staff for the foundation, the foundation itself is funded through contributions from individuals, organizations, and companies. Contributions are tax deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

There are, therefore, clear-cut rules as to what the IALF and the IFB legal team can and can’t do. The following Q&A addresses some of the questions most frequently asked of Farm Bureau’s staff attorneys.

Q: Will you represent me in my lawsuit?

A: We can’t give legal advice or represent individuals as either the legal affairs team or the IALF.

But we can send people information we have developed such as brochures on drainage and easements, or point them to other publications explaining legal and regulatory issues such as the fence law or many environmental regulations.

In addition, we are part of a network of attorneys around the state and across the country and can often provide names of attorneys in someone’s area.

Q: I’ve heard about an ag-related legal issue in my area. Are you interested in hearing about it?

A: Yes! We would like people to let us know if there are agricultural legal issues that impact them so we can develop materials or spend effort into addressing issue for all of agriculture.

We would like farmers to serve as a watchdog network and inform us of cases filed in their counties which relate to agriculture so that we can monitor them and consider whether there is a role for the IALF to be involved.

Q: How can I learn more about a legal issues that might affect me, my family and my farm?

A: Subscribe to the IALF’s electronic newsletter by visiting the foundation’s website, www.inaglaw.org. The site is still under construction, but there is a link that will allow you to sign up for the monthly newsletter.

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