Overview of the Endangered Species Act

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The Endangered Species Act has been in the news on nearly a daily basis this year.  We have seen new listings of several animals under the Act, which will impact landowners, farmers and ranchers, the oil and gas industry, and others in the areas in which the listed animals live.  In light of this, I developed an Extension Fact Sheet that provides a brief overview of the Act.  My intent is to give people an idea of how the act works, the major provisions, and the options available… Read More →

Top 100 Legal Blog Award

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I am excited and honored to announce that the Texas Agriculture Law Blog has been named a Top 100 legal blog by the American Bar Association.  To view the Top 100 list, click here.  Thank you to those who nominated us! Now, the competition continues.  The 100 winners have been divided into 13 separate categories.  This blog is in the “Niche” category.  The ABA is allowing people to vote for their favorite blog in each category and will name a winner for each in December. I need your… Read More →

Farmers Face Important Decisions Under New Farm Bill

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The 2014 Farm Bill implemented major changes to commodity programs for United States farmers. Under this new bill, there are numerous decisions that must be made by farmers in the coming months that will impact payments they will receive in the next several years.  It is important for farmers to understand the decisions that must be made and be aware of the decision-aid tools available to help analyze the best decision possible for their operation. Covered Commodities Initially, it is important for farmers to determine if their crops… Read More →

November 21, 2014 Weekly Round Up

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We made it to Friday!  Tomorrow I will be teaching my last law school class at the Texas A&M School of Law in Ft. Worth.  I have so enjoyed the opportunity to teach this class and was fortunate to have an absolutely outstanding group of students.  To those students visiting the blog, welcome and thanks for a great semester! Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. * Railroad Commission Finalizes New Disposal Well Safety Rule.  The Texas Railroad Commission has promulgated a new… Read More →

Utah Federal Court Imposes Limit on Endangered Species Act

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A federal district judge in Utah issued an important opinion earlier this month.  The court struck down federal regulation of the Utah prairie dog pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, finding that the federal government lacked the power to regulate the prairie dog that is found only in the state of Utah. Background on Congressional Powers Now, for a brief Constitutional Law lesson.  The general rule is that the federal government is one of limited and enumerated powers, meaning they are given only those powers expressly enumerated by the United States… Read More →

New York Times Article Highlights Surface Owner Hardship in Texas Oil Boom

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Last week, the New York Times published an article titled, “A County Resents Oil Drilling, Despite the Money It Brings In.”  The author featured Glasscock County, Texas and, in particular, cotton farmer Dennis Seidenberger.  The article did an excellent job at highlighting the hardships facing surface owners, who do not own any portion of the mineral estate underlying their land, in Texas. Mineral v. Surface Estates Under Texas law, ownership of the surface of the land and the minerals underlying the land may be severed.  This means that oftentimes,… Read More →

November 14, 2014 Weekly Round Up

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Another weekend has arrived!  I hope you have all managed to stay warm during this first major winter snap of the season.  Here are a few ag law stories making news this week. *  Article Profiles Karnes City Response to Oil Boom.  The Texas Tribune ran an interesting article on how Karnes City, in the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale, is handling the impacts of the current oil boom.  The article highlights the benefits that the oil field has brought to the town, including money for a new high school,… Read More →

GMO Labeling Laws: Where Are We Now?

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After Tuesday’s mid-term elections, GMO labeling laws have been in the news across the country.  Supporters of such laws argue that consumers have the right to know what they are eating, while opponents argue that such laws violate free speech.  Here is a summary of where such laws currently stand across the United States.  This is an important issue that could impact food prices across the country as studies show that 60-70% of processed food items contain at least one ingredient from a GMO crop. Proposed Laws Have… Read More →

Local Fracking Laws Could Impact Ranchers

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I recently wrote an article for Progressive Cattleman magazine discussing how local fracking bans that are popping up across the country could impact ranchers. These laws are being passed by counties, such as Mora County, New Mexico, and cities, such as Denton, Texas, across the country.  Frequently, laws banning fracking (or some written even more broadly to prohibit all oil and gas production) are challenged in court by the oil and gas industry and mineral owners who wish to lease their mineral rights to an oil or gas… Read More →

Weekly Round Up Catch Up (October 24 – November 7)

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You all may have noticed the lack of weekly round up posts for the last couple of Fridays.  I apologize for that, but hope you will agree I had a good excuse…. In addition to getting married, I was also fortunate to be able to speak at two national conferences.  First, I spoke on grazing and hunting leases at the American Agricultural Law Association Conference in Albuquerque and then I spoke on regulatory takings of water at the American Water Resources Association Conference in Washington, DC.  Both were… Read More →