July 14, 2017 Weekly Round Up

I hope everyone is staying cool this summer!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. *Preparing to successfully transition the farm or ranch to the next generation.  For many farm and ranch families, the goal is to keep the farm involved in agriculture and in the hands of the family for generations to come.  This week, I had my friend Shannon Ferrell on the podcast to discuss farm and ranch transition planning.  This is a topic that affects every single farm and… Read More →

Federal Court Holds Utah’s “Ag Gag” Statute Unconstitutional

For the second time, a federal court judge has held a state “ag gag” statute unconstitutional.  Previously, an Idaho statute was deemed unconstitutional and this decision remains on appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  This time, the decision came from Judge Robert J. Shelby in the United States District Court for the District of Utah. Background In the 1990’s, laws criminalizing entering an animal facility and filming without consent were outlawed by statutes in Kansas, Montana, and North Dakota.  No one was prosecuted under these statutes… Read More →

July 7, 2017 Weekly Round Up

Amazingly enough, I stayed put here in Amarillo this week catching up on writing and podcast recording here at the office.  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. * Arkansas will ban Dicamba use for 120 days.  Following an increase in the number of pesticide drift involving the application of Dicamba in Arkansas, the Arkansas State Plant Board voted to impose a 120-day ban on the application of the dicamba “Engenia” formation in the state.  In January 2017, Xtendimax dicamba technology was banned… Read More →

US Supreme Court Talks Regulatory Takings in Murr v. Wisconsin

The United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Murr v. Wisconsin last week, siding with the state and holding that two lots adjacent to a river should be considered as one parcel for takings analysis.  Perhaps more relevant than the actual holding in the case is the discussion that the court engaged in related to regulatory takings analysis generally. Background The Murr siblings own two 1.25-acre waterfront lots on Lake St. Croix in Wisconsin.  The first lot, Lot F, was purchased in 1960 by the Murr parents, and… Read More →

June 30, 2017 Weekly Round Up

This week I spoke to a great group in Sweetwater about leases and estate planning.  Welcome to those of you joining from that meeting! There has been so much ag law news happening in the last couple of weeks that my head is still spinning.  Here are the highlights. * Jury verdict for Kansas farmers in first Syngenta Viptera/Duracade class action trial.  A Kansas jury awarded nearly $218 million to Kansas farmers in this much-watched class action suit, finding that Syngenta was negligent.  Syngenta has already said it plans… Read More →

Business Entity Selection Series: 3 – General Partnership

Today we continue on in our Business Entity Selection Series.  If you missed any prior posts, click here. What Is a General Partnership?  Texas law defines a general partnership as “an association of two or more persons to carry on a business for profit as owners…regardless of whether the persons intend to create a partnership or whether the association is called a ‘partnership.’”  See Texas Business Organizations Code Section 152.051.  Importantly, the definition of “persons” is not limited to individuals, meaning that other legal entities such as an… Read More →

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 →