Judge: State's Corporate Farm Ban Violates ADA
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 15, 2005
LINCOLN, NEBRASKA--A state law banning corporate farming has been ruled unconstitutional because it discriminates against farmers with disabilities.
U.S. District Court Judge Laurie Smith-Camp said Thursday that Initiative 300, which was added to Nebraska's constitution in 1982, violates both the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.
I-300 bans corporations and some other business entities from owing farmland or engaging in agricultural activity in Nebraska, the Associated Press reported.
Several ranchers filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming the ban's requirement that at least one family member who owned a farm had to be engaged in its daily physical activities unfairly discriminated against farmers with disabilities. The plaintiffs also claimed the law kept them from trying to form family corporations to protect their own operations or to combine their operations with neighbors.
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said he plans to appeal Smith-Camp's decision.
At least eight other states had passed laws restricting corporate farm ownership during the 1970s and 1980s. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a similar decision that found that South Dakota's law against corporate farming was unconstitutional.