ABA Blawg 100 Honoree


For the second year in a row, the Texas Agriculture Law Blog was named a top 100 legal blog (“Blawg 100”) by the American Bar Association. According to the ABA, “for us, at the ABA Journal, this isn’t just another award. We view our annual list as service to our readers, pointing them to a collection of some of the very best legal writing and commentary on the Web. Yes, we hope those selected are proud of it. But we also hope that our readers will recognize the… Read More →

Cow v. Car: Could you be liable?

calf 2

Earlier this year, I wrote an article for Progressive Cattleman addressing the question of whether a livestock owner could face liability is his or her animals got onto the roadway and were hit by a motorist.  As with most legal questions, the answer is “it depends.”  To read my article, click here. For more information about the Texas law on this topic, check out a prior blog series I did on fencing laws.  You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.    

Farm Labor and I-9 Compliance

Immigration is an extremely  hot topic in the news right now, and frankly a political issue I don’t want to touch with a 10 foot pole!   However, it is legally required for all employers, including all agricultural operations–be these large agribusinesses or small family farms–with at least one employee to comply with the form I-9 requirements.  I recently published a fact sheet discussing the requirements for employers with regard to I-9.  To access the fact sheet, just click here.  

September and October Round Up (Part 2)

Today we continue our recap of important ag law stories that made the news in September and October.  If you missed Part 1 of this series, click here. Court of appeals affirms dismissal of nuisance suit against oil and gas company.  Landowners who filed a nuisance suit against Marathon Oil for odors, fumes, and dust related to oil production near their home were defeated in the San Antonio Court of Appeals earlier this month.  The Court held that the plaintiffs failed to prove causation between Marathon’s oil and gas production… Read More →

September & October Round Up (Part 1)


Hello!  I am back in the saddle again after spending some time on maternity leave.  Thank you all so much for your kind wishes for our little family. During middle of the night feedings, I’ve managed to stay up to date on what’s been happening in the ag law world.  Here are some of the top stories from the last two months. WOTUS rule stayed nationwide, cases will not be consolidated.  As you previously read, the United States Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit has issued a… Read More →

Court Vacates Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing Under Endangered Species Act


In September, the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas has found that the US Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) acted improperly in finding the lesser prairie chicken met the requirements to be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  The court, therefore, vacated the bird’s listing under the Act.  [Read full opinion here.] Endangered Species Act Background The Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) seeks to offer legal protection to species facing extinction by prohibiting a “take” of animals subject to the Act’s protection.  “Take” is… Read More →

Texas Farm Animal Liability Act (Part II): Examples and Advice


In Part 1 of this series, I offered a detailed outline and explanation of the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act (“the Act”).  Today, we will review Texas appellate cases that have applied the Act to see how the statute plays out in real life.  As the Act is relatively new, originally passed in 1995, there are not a huge number of opinions analyzing this statute. Dodge v. Durdin, Johnson v. Smith, Young v. McKim The first group of cases we will consider are those analyzing whether the Act’s… Read More →

Texas Farm Animal Liability Act (Part I): The Basics


The Texas Equine Activity Limitation of Liability Act was originally passed in 1995 and applied only to equine animals.  Forty-six states, all but California, Maryland, Nevada, and New York, have enacted similar equine statutes, although each state’s statute greatly differs in details.  The purpose of these statutes are to encourage participation in equine activities, to ensure the public is aware of inherent risks of equine activities, and to provide limited liability to equine facility operators. In 2011, the Texas Legislature amended the statute to apply to not only equine animals, but… Read More →

Reserving Groundwater Rights


Recently, I have received several questions related to whether a seller of land can reserve groundwater rights at the time of sale.  The San Antonio Court of Appeals addressed this question in 2008 in City of Del Rio v. Clayton Sam Colt Hamilton Trust, 269 S.W.3d 613 (Tex. App. San Antonio 2008).  In light of the interest level in this topic, I thought a discussion of this decision might be useful. Basic Texas Water Law For those of you new to the blog and those of you not for Texas,… Read More →

Idaho “Ag Gag” Statute Declared Unconstitutional, Producers Should Review Practices

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension photo via Blair Fannin

I recently wrote an article for Progressive Cattleman Magazine discussing the recent ruling by an Idaho federal judge, which found that the state’s “ag gag” statute was unconstitutional.  The statute, which prohibits interference with agricultural operations, including undercover videotaping, was held to violate both the First Amendment  and the Equal Protection Clause.  As the article explains, in light of this ruling, producers should review and consider their current hiring policies, training procedures, crisis response plan, and potential common law claims if an undercover video situation were to arise…. Read More →