Category Archives: Federal Regulations

The UAS (“Drone”) Rules Are Here

The long-awaited Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) rules for the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS” or “drones”) are here and in effect.  The rules are codified at 14 CFR part 107. History You may recall that back in February 2015, the FAA released its proposed rules, which apply to all UAS weighing between .55 pounds and 55 pounds used for commercial purposes.  [Read prior blog post here.]  After collecting and considering public comment, the FAA issued its final rules on June 21, 2016, which became effective August 29, 2016.  Prior… Read More →

September 2, 2016 Weekly Round Up

How is it already September?  Not that I’m complaining about the cool, rainy weather we’ve been seeing this week here in the Panhandle!  Here are a few of the ag law stories in the news this week. * Texas Railroad Commission Failed to Track Oilfield Waste Injections Into Groundwater Zones.  In the first of several clips involving the Texas RRC we will see today, the Texas Tribune published an article claiming that even though the RRC agreed to track injections into zones that could hold drinking water sources… Read More →

July 15, 2016 Weekly Round Up

We’ve hit the halfway point for July and I hope everyone is staying cool in this heat!  It’s been a busy week for me.  On Monday, I gave an online presentation on agricultural leases to the 2016 Generation Next participants.  Thursday found me in Sherman, again talking ag leases.  On Friday, I wrapped things up in Greenville talking key laws for Texas landowner to beware of.  Welcome to those of you joining from these events! Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week…. Read More →

Trial Court Ruling in Duarte Nursery v. Army Corps of Engineers Concerning for Landowners

Today’s blog is long….I’m warning you now. In the last few years, we have seen an increased focus on the regulatory reach of federal jurisdiction over agricultural lands, with the new WOTUS rule and other court decisions.  A recent trial court decision from the Eastern District of California should be extremely concerning to landowners across the country.  At issue, the federal Clean Water Act and agricultural operations. Background In 2012, Duarte Nursery purchased 450 acres land in Tehama County, California with the intent to farm the land, initially by sowing… Read More →

July 8, 2016 Weekly Round Up

Here are some of the agricultural law stories in the news this week. * NM Supreme Court Holds Agricultural Exemption to Workers Compensation Law Unconstitutional.  Last week, the New Mexico Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals holding that an exemption excluding farm and ranch laborers from mandatory workers compensation coverage was unconstitutional.  [Read full opinion here.]  I previously wrote a blog post explaining this issue and outlining the Court of Appeals opinion.  To read that, click here.  Although the Court agreed that the provision was unconstitutional, it… Read More →

July 1, 2016 Weekly Round Up

Happy July!  Last week we held our final Ranchers’ Leasing Workshop here in Amarillo.  We had a great turn out and I want to welcome those of you joining from that program. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. * The Other Border War.  Texas Monthly published a great article discussing the ongoing dispute between north Texas landowners and the federal Bureau of Land Management regarding the location of the Texas/Oklahoma border.  The article outlines the struggle of one landowner who was… Read More →

Unanimous Victory in United States Supreme Court for Landowners

Last week, Chief Justice Roberts wrote a unanimous opinion in the case United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes, holding that landowners do have the right to challenge jurisdictional determinations by the EPA that water on their lands is governed by the Clean Water Act.  This decision is extremely important for landowners across the country.  [Read full opinion here.] Background The full factual background of this case was set forth in this prior blog post.  Essentially, the Corps of Engineers (COE) determined that waters on land owned by… Read More →

Case Looks at Winter Grazing and NPDES Permit Requirement

Like many other agricultural operations, my family grows crops and raises livestock.  When I learned of a case decided last year by the Minnesota Supreme Court that addressed whether farms like my own family’s would be required to obtain a federal NPDES permit in order to graze livestock on our fields, I was very interested and concerned.  Today, we will take a look at this issue in In the Matter of Reichmann Land and Cattle, LLP.  This case offered interesting insight into the issue of whether winter grazing of… Read More →

April 1, 2016 Weekly Round Up

This week found me in west Texas speaking at county extension meetings in Reagan, Coke, and Upton Counties.  Many thanks to county extension agents Chase McPhaul, Morgan Runyan, and Raymond Quigg for the invitations.  Welcome to those of you new to the blog from these programs.  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. * US Supreme Court Hears Argument in Hawkes Clean Water Act Case.  This week, oral argument was held in an important Clean Water Act case at the United States Supreme… Read More →

SCOTUS Watch 2016: US Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes

Today we will kick off a two-part blog series titled SCOTUS Watch.  In this series, we will look at cases before the United States Supreme Court this term that will have an impact on agriculture.  Two cases will be heard this term, one involving the Clean Water Act and the other regulatory takings.  Let’s get started. The United States Supreme Court has agreed to consider US Army Corps of Engineer v. Hawkes Co., an important Clean Water Act (CWA) case.  This case involves a topic much discussed recently–“waters of… Read More →