Round 2 in Hawkes v. Corps of Engineers Goes to Landowners

The litigation continues for the parties involved in Hawkes v. US Army Corps of Engineers.  This Clean Water Act case made its way to the United States Supreme Court last year, where the Court held that a landowner has the right to challenge an approved jurisdictional determination by the government that his or her property was a “water of the United States,” and therefore, subject to the Clean Water Act.  [Read prior blog post explaining that decision here.] After that decision, the case was sent back to the trial… Read More →

February 17, 2017 Weekly Round Up

It’s been a busy week!  On Wednesday I spoke at the High Plains Irrigation Conference in Amarillo, and today I am in San Marcos to speak at the Texas Wine Grape Growers Association meeting.  (Tough gig, I know!)  To those of you joining from these meetings, welcome! Here are some of the ag law stories in the news.  As you will see, it was a busy week for supreme court water litigation between states. * Special Master Issues Report Recommending Denial of Motion to Dismiss in TX v…. Read More →

Syngenta Corn Class Action Litigation Update

Disclaimer:  Neither the author, nor Texas A&M Agrilife Extension take any position on the likelihood of success of any of the claims asserted against Syngenta or on whether producers should remain in the class action lawsuit opt out.  This blog post is for informational purposes only. We have previously discussed the pending lawsuits filed by corn producers against Syngenta related to Viptera and Duracade corn seed.  There are been numerous developments in the case over the last several months, so I thought an update might be helpful. Background In… Read More →

February 10, 2017 Weekly Round Up

This week I traveled to Plainview for the Hale/Swisher County Crops Conference.  Welcome to those of you joining from that presentation.  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. * New I-9 Form required to be used by employers.  The Department of Labor has updated the I-9 Form.  No major modifications were made, but employers should be aware of and utilize the new form as of January 22, 2017.  For more background on the I-9 requirements, click here to read a fact sheet… Read More →

Iowa Supreme Court Issues Ruling in Des Moines Water Works Case

Last week, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a decision in a case concerning drainage from farmland upstream that allegedly increased nitrates in the Raccoon River beyond the acceptable drinking water level, causing the water supplier to incur costs of treatment.  In answering four state law questions certified to it, the Iowa Supreme Court sided with the drainage districts.  [Read full opinion here.] Background The Board of Water Works Trustees for the City of Des Moines Iowa (aka Des Moines Water Works and “DMWW”) is a municipal waterworks that… Read More →

February 3, 2017 Weekly Round Up

I’m not quite sure how we are already a month into 2017, but here we are.  In the last couple of weeks I have traveled to speak at Extension meetings in Dumas and Lubbock.  Welcome to those of you joining from those meetings! Here are some of the ag law stories in the news. *10 Texas oil and gas cases to watch.  Chris Halgren compiled a list of 10 Texas Supreme Court cases dealing with oil and gas law worth watching in 2017.  His post provides a short… Read More →

Where Do We Stand on WOTUS

For the third year in a row, Shannon Ferrell and I have decided to cover the status of the “waters of the United States” rule in our annual article for the Southwest Farm Press.  Between the Duarte Nursery trial court decision in California, the landowner victory in the United States Supreme Court Hawkes ruling, and the speculation about actions that the Trump administration might take, we had plenty of angles to consider.  To read our article, click here.

TCAAA State Specialist of the Year in Texas Agriculture

Over the summer, I was very honored to be awarded the “State Specialist of the Year in Texas Agriculture” award from the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association. This group is made up of extension agents from across the state.  I so enjoy the chance to work with these folks and really appreciate them giving me this award.

A Look Forward: Ag Law in 2017

It appears that 2017 could be an important year for a number of agricultural law issues.  From the Clean Water Act, to “Ag Gag” legislation, to the Endangered Species Act, there are a number of pending cases that could have major impacts on the agricultural industry in the coming year.  Here is a brief look at four of the biggest cases to watch this year. WOTUS lawsuit and potential Congressional action. Everyone may be tired of talking about the new rule promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency and… Read More →

January 20, 2017 Weekly Round Up

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Right-to-farm Supreme Court arguments heard at Colony High School This week I traveled to Lockney for the Caprock Crops Conference.  As usual, this was a great conference.  Thanks to Caitlin and Cristen for inviting me to present.  To those of you joining from that meeting, welcome!  Here are some at law stories in the news this week. * US Supreme Court will hear WOTUS dispute over jurisdiction, no merits to be considered.  The United States Supreme Court has granted certiorari in a dispute involving where challenges to the… Read More →