June 5, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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This week I gave two presentations via the internet to folks in San Angelo and in Jefferson County.  To those of you new to the blog from these presentations, welcome! It’s been another busy week in the agricultural law realm. *  Hays County Groundwater Bill on Governor’s Desk.  The Texas Legislature passed HB 3405, known as the  Hays County Groundwater Bill, sending it on to Governor Abbo[Read article here.]  As you likely recall from prior blog posts, Hays County finds itself in the middle of a groundwater battle… Read More →

Oregon Farmers Growing GMO Alfalfa Lose Right to Farm Claim

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Last week, an Oregon federal court issued an important ruling in Schultz Family Farms, LLC v. Jackson County dealing with two very important, hot-button issues in agriculture:  genetically modified crops and Right to Farm laws.   Although the opinion addresses only one local ordinance, and is binding only in Oregon, it raises issues that we have likely not seen the end of and could be seeing in other places across the country. Factual Background In May 2014, Jackson County, Oregon voters passed an ordinance banning anyone from growing genetically engineered plants… Read More →

May 29, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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This week I spent a couple of days in Lubbock at the 9th Annual John Huffaker Agricultural Law Course, held on campus at the Texas Tech School of Law.  As always, it was a fantastic conference.  Kudos to organizers David Waggoner and Trace Blair for their hard work.  All ag attorneys should try to attend next year!  Stay tuned for some blog updates on what we discussed coming soon. Here are some major ag law stories in the news this week. *  EPA Releases Final WOTUS Rule.  The… Read More →

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: If My Landlord Sells The Property During My Lease Term, Does The Lease Continue?

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Question   I currently have a pasture lease that lasts through the end of the year.  My landlord just sold the property to someone else.  Does my lease continue on with the new owner? Answer   This is a great question, and one that I frequently get asked at presentations.  There are, surprisingly, few Texas cases that have addressed this issue.  Nevertheless, the law appears to be fairly settled on this point.  As with most legal questions, the answer depends on the facts. First, if the original lease… Read More →

May 22, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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Happy Friday!  This week I was able to visit with the Camp County Cattleman’s Association via the internet at their monthly meeting about some Frequently Asked Ag Law Questions.  I thank Spencer Perkins for the chance to visit with that group and welcome those new readers joining from that event!  It has been a busy ag law week, with lots of Texas-specific stories in the news. *Governor Abbott Signs “Local Fracking Ban Ban” Into Law.  On Monday, I blogged about the bill on Governor Abbott’s desk that would… Read More →

Washington Court Holds Manure Subject to Federal Regulation, Parties Agree to Settle

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A couple of months ago, I wrote an article for Dairy Herd Management magazine discussing an important court decision in Washington that could have wide-ranging implications on agriculture. Community Association for Restoration of the Environment v. Cow Palace, LLC, was filed by two environmental groups (Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment and the Center for Food Safety) against a Washington state dairy.  The Cow Palace Dairy ran a herd of 11,000 cows in the Lower Yakima Valley of Washington.  A decision was issued in January by the… Read More →

State Law Banning Local Fracking/Oil and Gas Ordinances on Governor’s Desk

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If you have read this blog for any period of time, you know that local fracking and oil and gas production bans, such as the one passed by Denton voters last November, are a frequent topic of discussion.  Now, the Texas Legislature has passed a bill that would prevent these type of local production bans.  The bill is now on the desk of Governor Abbott for his signature. The Bill House Bill 40, called by many the “Denton Fracking Bill” was passed by the House (vote of 26-5)… Read More →

May 15, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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Last week, I found myself all over the state at various meetings.  I kicked things off in Ft. Worth, where I spoke on agricultural law at Annie’s Project.  Next up, I discussed wildlife leases at a program sponsored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife in Bonham.  Finally, I wrapped things up speaking at a Landowner Rights Seminar in College Station.  To those of you new to the blog from these presentations, welcome! Here are some of the ag law stories recently in the news. * Groundwater Continues in… Read More →

Texas Legislature Considering Important Eminent Domain Bill

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Last week, I spoke at a Landowner Rights Conference in College Station along with attorneys Luke Ellis and Justin Hodge.  Luke and Justin outlined several pending bills in the Texas Legislature that aim to change the law related to eminent domain.  The most important of these bills, in my opinion, is Senate Bill 474, which was introduced by Senator Lois Kohlkhorst. Background Although both the United States and Texas Constitutions require that landowners be paid adequate compensation for private property that is taken for public use, this “adequate… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Will Not Hear Bragg v. Edwards Aquifer Authority

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On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court denied petitions to consider appeals from both sides in Bragg v. Edwards Aquifer Authority.  This result is surprising to many legal scholars who have been watching this high-profile case for years.  In light of the Court’s refusal to consider the case, the opinion of the San Antonio Court of Appeals will stand.  [Read full Court of Appeals Opinion here.] Background The Braggs own property that sits above the Edwards Aquifer on which they have two pecan orchards:  The Home Place orchard and the… Read More →