Now that the dust has settled, here are the results for several of the ballot initiatives impacting agriculture that we have previously discussed on this blog. * Denton Becomes First Texas City to Ban Fracking. Denton voters passed a controversial ban on fracking within the city limits. Fifty-nine percent of votes cast were in favor of the measure. The ban will nearly certainly result in litigation from mineral rights owners and the oil and gas industry. [Read articles here and here.] * Colorado Rejects Mandatory GMO Labeling. Proposition 105,… Read More →
The University of Minnesota’s Center for Farm Financial Management has developed a new tool to help agricultural landlords and tenants evaluate various rental price arrangements and select the one that best fits their operation. Their new tool, FairRent, allows producers to evaluate a traditional cash rent contract, a crop share rental agreement, and seven alternative flex lease options. To use FairRent, a free tool, just click here and register. For more information about FairRent, click here.
This semester I am teaching a course on Agricultural Law at the Texas A&M University School of Law in Ft. Worth. As part of that, I have gathered up materials on a variety of agricultural law related issues for my students. One of my main goals is to share practical information with my students that will help them in the event they end up in rural Texas practicing agricultural law. In light of that, I thought that I would share some of the more interesting articles I come… Read More →
I recently wrote an article for Progressive Cattleman magazine discussing what eminent domain is and the importance that landowners understand the law surrounding this power allowing the government (or someone acting with governmental authority) to condemn private property for public use upon payment of just compensation. There is no doubt this is a very controversial topic, but it is an issue frequently facing agricultural landowners across the country. To read my article, click here. Additionally, this article led to an interview with two great guys, Pepper and Trey,… Read More →
In yesterday’s blog, I inadvertently switched the state-wide average for irrigated and non-irrigated cropland. I have corrected the mistake on the blog, but in order to ensure clarity, the average cash rent prices in Texas are as follows: Pastureland: $6.50/acre (unchanged from 2013). Non-irrigated cropland: $27.00 (up from $24.00 in 2013). Irrigated cropland: $87.00 (up from $82.00 in 2013). I apologize for any confusion.
The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service recently published the Texas Cash Rents Report for 2014. This report is the results of a cash rents survey conducted between February and July 2014. You can access the full report for Texas here. As you can see in the chart below, the average cash rental rates in Texas for 2014 are as follows: Pastureland: $6.50/acre (unchanged from 2013). Non-irrigated cropland: $27.00 (up from $24.00 in 2013). Irrigated cropland: $87.00 (up from $82.00 in 2013). The report also breaks the cash rent… Read More →
Question: We recently moved to rural Texas and I keep seeing purple paint on trees and fence posts. What’s with the purple paint? Answer: In Texas, as well as several other states (Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida, Arkansas), purple paint is a method of prohibiting trespassing. Basically, the purple paint is one alternative to posting “No Trespassing” signs. The Texas Penal Code 30.05 provides that a person commits criminal trespass if he or she (1) enters or remains on the property of another; (2) without effective consent; and (3)… Read More →
Thank you all for your kind words after my big announcement last week. I am happy to report that I am settled into my new office in Amarillo and back at it. Yesterday, I had the chance to present on water law for the Big County Master Naturalists group in Abilene via webcam. Welcome to those of you visiting the blog from that event! Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. Video Addresses Proposed Water Pipeline Project. The Texas Tribune put together a… Read More →
Question: My neighbor wants to build a fence on the property line dividing our land because he wants to run cattle on his property. I do not object to his desire to have livestock on his land or his building the fence. He insists that I pay for half of the fence. Do I have a legal responsibility to help finance this fence that will be built on the property line? Answer: No, Texas case law makes clear that a landowner has no legal obligation to help finance… Read More →
I recently wrote an article, available online here, for Progressive Cattleman Magazine on the importance of Right to Farm laws. As the article explains, it is not uncommon for a U.S. agricultural operation to face complaints from neighbors about various things including noise, smell, and dust caused by the farming or ranching operation. Right to Farm statutes offer some protection to an agricultural operation in this situation. All 50 states have enacted right to farm laws. Not surprisingly, the laws vary depending upon the state in which your… Read More →