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Federal appeals court finds Nebraska corporate farming ban unconstitutional

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that a 1982 ban on corporate farming [I-300 text] in Nebraska is unconstitutional because it violates the dormant commerce clause. The federal appeals court upheld a lower court decision [PDF text; JURIST report], which was appealed by the state attorney general. As described by the appeals court, the ban "prohibits corporations or syndicates (non-family-owned limited partnerships) from acquiring an interest in 'real estate used for farming or ranching in [Nebraska]' or 'engag[ing] in farming or ranching,' with certain exceptions," and the court found that this "discriminates against out-of-state entities both on its face and because of its discriminatory intent."

The lower court also ruled that the corporate farming ban violated the Americans with Disabilities Act [text] because it requires at least one member of the family who owns the farm to be involved with day-to-day physical farming activities, but the appeals court did not address this issue. Nebraska could appeal Wednesday's decision to the US Supreme Court, but in 2004 the high court refused to hear an appeal of a similar ruling from the Eighth Circuit declaring South Dakota's corporate farming law unconstitutional. AP has more.

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