Important Property Tax Deadlines Coming Up

Recently, I have gotten several phone calls from folks regarding property tax issues that might have been avoided had they understood required actions and upcoming deadlines.  I thought it worth highlighting a couple of key situations today. Filing Open Space or Agricultural Use Valuation Application The deadline for filing open space, ag use, and wildlife management valuation applications is May 1.  The Chief Appraiser may, for good cause, extend this deadline by up to 60 days, but obviously the more prudent route is to be sure and file… Read More →

Look for the Helpers

In light of what has been going on in the Panhandle this week, we are going to take a break from the Weekly Round Up today and, instead, take a moment to think of those struggling after the wildfires.  I wrote this article about the events of this last week and thought I would share. Years ago, I heard a quote by Mr. Rogers.  He said that when tragedy strikes and everything seems so dark, you should look for the helpers. The firemen running into burning buildings. The… Read More →

Syngenta Corn Litigation Webinar

A month or so ago, my friend and colleague Drew Kershen, along with Thomas Reddick, presented a webinar discussing the Syngenta corn litigation.  [To view and listen to webinar, click here.] The webinar offered a variety of interesting information related to this case, the underlying legal issues, and policy implications that a verdict may have.  First, Drew sets forth the facts and outcomes of two prior cases that are somewhat similar to the Syngenta case: the Starlink corn case and the Liberty Link rice case.  Next, the webinar… Read More →

March 3, 2017 Weekly Round Up

I’m sorry for missing our Round Up last Friday, I was out with sick little ones.  Hopefully now, we are all on the mend. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news recently. * How to audit your farm’s I-9 forms.  Current immigration issues and discussions have had a lot of folks really paying attention to their employee paperwork.  Remember, all employers must have I-9 forms on file for all employees.  For more background info on this requirement and the nuts and bolts of completing… Read More →

President Trump Issues Executive Order on WOTUS

As many had anticipated, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Tuesday dealing with the “Waters of the United States” rule. [Read full order here.] You may recall that back in 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency and Corps of Engineers passed a rule “clarifying” the definition of “Waters of the United States” as the term is used in the Clean Water Act.  Immediately, numerous States (including Texas), agricultural industry groups, and other businesses filed suits across the country claiming that  the new rule was too broadly written and gave… Read More →

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 →