Breaking News: Jury Awards $217 Million to KS Corn Farmers in Syngenta Class Action

Big news came out of Kansas this morning with regards to the class action lawsuit pitting Kansas corn farmers against Syngenta.  A jury has awarded $217 million to a class of Kansas corn farmers.   Background We have discussed the factual background of the case in far more detail on prior blog posts (click here), but the basic facts are set forth below.  In 2010, Syngenta released Viptera and Duracade seed varieties, which were approved to be grown in the United States, but were not approved for export to… Read More →

Ag Law in the Field Podcast – Episodes 1-10

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It seems like yesterday we launched the Ag Law in the Field Podcast, but we’ve already posted 10 episodes!  I am so grateful to all of my guests for being willing to share their expertise on various legal issues affecting agriculture. In case you may have missed them, I wanted to give a rundown of the first ten episodes, along with links to the website and show notes for each one as well.  Remember, you can listen to the podcast on iTunes, your phone’s podcast app, or online… Read More →

Business Entity Selection Series: 2 – Sole Proprietorship

We will kick off this series with the simplest, most widely used business structure, the sole proprietorship. What Is a Sole Proprietorship?  A sole proprietorship is simply a single individual engaged in business activity.  The  2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture reports that nationwide, just over 86% of farms are sole proprietorships.  In Texas, that number is even higher at 90%. Governing Law:  Unlike the other entities we will discuss in this series, the sole proprietorship is not governed by statute.  There is no provision in the Business Organizations Code to govern sole proprietorships…. Read More →

June 16, 2017 Weekly Round Up

How is it already the middle of June?  Time flies when you are having fun, I suppose!  I’ve been on the road as usual and have made stops for programs in Lufkin, Goldthwaite, and Denton over the last couple of weeks.  It was great getting the chance to meet some new folks in person and I’d like to welcome all new readers to the blog. Here are some ag law stories in the news recently. * First Syngenta class action trial begins in Kansas City.  The first class… Read More →

Business Entity Selection Series: 1 – Introduction

Today I am excited to kick off a new blog series that provides an overview of different business entity options for farmers and ranchers.  This was a topic that Amber Miller and I recently discussed on the Ag Law in the Field Podcast #5.  At presentations, people often ask me whether having a general partnership is a good idea or whether an LLC is the best business entity.  I wish it were that simple, but as with most legal questions, there is no magic answer to the question… Read More →

What Is the Dairy Pride Act and What Legal Issues Could It Face?

“Only actual milk should be called milk in order to avoid misleading consumers.”  “It should not be called milk because it is not milk.”  This is the basic premise behind a bill (S. 130) pending before the United States Senate titled the “Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, Milk, and Cheese To Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act” or abbreviated as the “DAIRY PRIDE Act.” This bill was introduced by Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin. [Read full text here.]  Citing findings of the U.S…. Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Rules in Subsurface Trespass Case

Where an oil and gas production company seeks to drill a  horizontal well through the mineral interest of another, in order to produce oil and gas from a lease held by the driller, does trespass occur?  Since 2014, we have been following the Lightning Oil Company v. Anadarko case through various levels of the Texas court system, which involves this very question.  Last week, the Texas Supreme Court issued a decision upholding the lower court opinions in the case and making clear that in this situation, trespass does not… Read More →

May 26, 2017 Weekly Round Up

Hello from lovely Lubbock, Texas!  I’m here for the always fantastic Texas State Bar Agricultural Law CLE for attorneys.  A huge thanks to course directors, Trace Blair and David Waggoner, for all of their hard work to make this such a great conference.  As always, I’ve enjoyed great presentations, visited with old friends, and even drummed up some new topics for the blog and guests for upcoming podcasts.  Stay tuned for that! Here are some ag law stories in the news this week. *  Federal court finds FAA… Read More →

Legal Issues Surrounding Prescribed Burning

I recently wrote an article that was published in Progressive Cattleman discussing liability considerations for landowners when using prescribed burns. The article discusses different legal approaches that states take to potential liability if damage results from a prescribed burn and discusses the need for landowners considering burns to carefully review and understand their states’ statutory provisions related to prescribed burning.  (To view the statutory provision related to prescribed burn liability in Texas, click here.) To read the article, click here.

Texas Supreme Court Holds RRC Does Not Have Exclusive Jurisdiction Over Contamination Claims

The Texas Supreme Court issued an important ruling a couple of weeks ago in Forest Oil Corp. v. El Rucio Land and Cattle Company.  [Read full opinion here.]  This case addresses important issues regarding a landowner’s right to sue an oil and gas company for contamination on his or her property and offers a good reminder that parties agreeing to arbitration need to carefully consider and understand what rights they give up in making that agreement. Background James McAllen owns the McAllen Ranch, consisting of over 27,000 acres.  The… Read More →