March 18, 2016 Weekly Round Up

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension photo by Blair Fannin

I hope you all had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day!  Here are a few of the ag law stories making news this week. * Senate rejects voluntary GMO labeling bill.  On Wednesday, the US Senate rejected a bill that would have created a voluntary GMO labeling system and would have prohibited states from imposing mandatory labeling requirements.  Proponents of the bill claim that GMOs are safe and that labeling should not be mandatory as it would increase food prices.  Further, they argue that allowing states to pass different… Read More →

Free Webinar The Right to Farm: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?

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Imagine you live on your family’s farm, which has been in your family for generations.  The nearby city keeps on growing and soon you find new neighbors next to your fields.  One evening, after a long day driving the tractor and running a manure spreader, your phone rings.  Your new neighbor is not happy about the smell of manure drifting from your fields onto her property.  Soon thereafter, you find yourself a defendant in a lawsuit claiming that your farm is a nuisance and seeking the court prevent… Read More →

New Mexico Amends Right to Farm Act

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension photo via Blair Fannin

The New Mexico Legislature recently passed an amendment to the state’s Right to Farm Act, which was signed into law by Governor Martinez on March 3, 2016.  Senate Bill 72 adds a new paragraph to the Right to Farm Act, which has been in place in New Mexico since 1981. Right to Farm Acts Generally Assume a dairy has been in operation for 10 years, and the city has continually moved further and further out towards the dairy.  Now, where there used to be open fields, the dairy finds… Read More →

March 11, 2016 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday to everyone!  There were lots of interesting ag law stories in the news this week.  Let’s take a look. * Mexico Complies with Rio Grande Treaty Obligations.  You may remember from this prior post the long running dispute between Texas and Mexico regarding water owed to the US under the 1944 Rio Grande Treaty.  For several years, Mexico had been behind on the required water delivery.  As of January 25, the International Boundary and Water Commission confirmed that Texas had delivered all water owed under the… Read More →

Review and Update Your Estate Plan Now!

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Although not as exciting as some other ag law issues we discuss on this blog, this topic is one of the most important for folks to consider.  I recently wrote an article for Dairy Herd Management discussing this topic.  While creating an estate plan is a very important step, it is not the end of the journey.  It is critical that once an estate plan has been created, it is reviewed and updated periodically.  I recommend that folks review estate plans at least once a year (your birthday… Read More →

March 4, 2016 Weekly Round Up

Photo by Wyman Meinzer

It’s been a busy week around here!  On Tuesday I spoke on surviving undercover video investigations at the High Plains Diary Conference in Lubbock.  It was a great turn out and I really enjoyed the chance to visit with folks about this topic.  Thanks to Ellen Jordan for the invitation.  On Thursday, I was in Abilene to speak with the Master Marketer class.  I appreciate Mark Welch inviting me to attend.  To those of you joining from these events, welcome! It has been a busy ag law week,… Read More →

Texas Oil & Gas Leasing Handbook Available

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Last week, my colleague from Oklahoma State University, Shannon Ferrell, and I put on an oil and gas leasing workshop in College Station.  The program was well attended, participants asked excellent questions, and the final evaluations and comments were very positive from those who attended. The funding for this project was provided by the Southern Risk Management Education Center and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.  We would also like to say a special thank you to Dr. Mark Waller, Tracy Davis, and Dusty Tittle for their… Read More →

February 26, 2016 Weekly Round Up

San Antone Hose

Hello and welcome to the last Friday in February!  Earlier this week, I was in College Station speaking along with my friend and colleague, Shannon Ferrell, at a program called Petroleum Production on Agricultural Lands in Texas:  Managing Risks and Opportunities.  We had a great turn out and want to welcome those of you joining us from that presentation!  Now, on to the agricultural law news of the week, much of which is water related today. * Breakdown of the Bragg verdict.  As you read earlier this week, a… Read More →

Federal Lawsuit Seeks Ruling on Drone Rights

You may recall from this prior Weekly Round Up post that a federal lawsuit has been filed in Kentucky seeking to adjudicate rights of drone operators versus neighboring landowners. Today, we will take a closer look at details from that suit. Background In July 2015, Mr. Boggs was flying his drone for recreational purposes near his home in Kentucky.  His drone contained an onboard camera that could capture video and photographs.  After about two minutes of flight, Mr. Merideth shot down the drone with a shotgun. Mr. Boggs… Read More →

Jury Awards $2.5 Million to Braggs

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A jury ruled on Monday that the Edwards Aquifer Authority owes $2.5 million in compensation to the Braggs because groundwater permit denials resulted in a regulatory taking. For those of you who might not have been following along, the Braggs filed suit against the EAA back in 2004 after they were denied permits to pump groundwater to irrigate their pecan orchards.  The trial court found in favor of the Braggs initially–agreeing that the denials constituted a regulatory taking of the Bragg’s property interest in groundwater–and awarded $732,493.40.  Both sides… Read More →