Eminent Domain in Texas (Part 1) – What Is It?

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*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* Today we will kick off a four-part blog series on eminent domain in Texas.  The purpose of this series is to provide landowners with basic information about the power of eminent domain, to explain the procedures surrounding condemnation proceedings, to specifically discuss eminent domain as it relates to oil and gas pipelines, and to provide a list of terms to consider when negotiating a pipeline easement.  The series will be posted every Monday for the next month. Today,… Read More →

March 14, 2014 Weekly Round Up

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**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** Things have been busy around here!  Last Friday, I headed to Fredericksburg to speak at the New Land Owner Series put on by the Gillespie County Extension Office.  There was a great turn out and the participants asked wonderful questions.  Welcome to those of you who are new to the blog from that presentation.  Yesterday, I presented at a webinar along with Texas A&M alum and New York City attorney Cari Ricker discussing agricultural leases.  There… Read More →

Court of Appeals Decision Illustrates Importance of Royalty Language

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**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.** Chesapeake Exploration, L.L.C. v. Hyder, decided by the San Antonio Court of Appeals last week, highlights the importance of royalty language in an oil and gas lease.  [Read full opinion here.] Background The lawsuit was filed by a group of royalty and overriding royalty holders who were party to a mineral lease with Chesapeake.  These royalty and overriding royalty owners alleged that Chesapeake breached the lease terms by impermissibly charging certain costs to royalty owners. The lease at issue was… Read More →

March 7, 2014 Weekly Round Up

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*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* Here are a look at some of the ag law stories making news this first week of March. *United States Sides with Texas in Water Dispute against New Mexico, Seeks to Join Suit.  Last week, the Solicitor General, on behalf of the United States, filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene as a Plaintiff in the Supreme Court case pitting Texas against New Mexico in a battle over water in the Rio Grande.  The Solicitor General echoed the… Read More →

February 2014 Weekly Round Up

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*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* As you may have noticed, weekly round ups have been missing for the past couple of weeks.  I hope to continue the weekly updates of ag law news, and here is a list of major ag law stories that made the news in the month of February. *  Denton Residents Seek Signatures for Fracking Ban.  Citizens of Denton, Texas, seek to become the first city in the state to ban fracking within its bounds.  The Denton Drilling Awareness… Read More →

TCEQ Rejects Suggested Trigger Level for Release to Rice Farmers

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*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* The TCEQ reached a somewhat surprising decision in the emergency request by the Lower Colorado River Authority seeking to withhold water from downstream users, including many rice farmers, unless the Highland Lakes near Austin reached 1.1 million acre feet.  Instead of adopting a certain trigger point at which water can be released, the TCEQ decided that it was best to prevent the release of irrigation water for now, but to revisit the issue in the next few months. … Read More →

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: Advice for Law School Applicants

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Question:  I am interested in applying for law school.  What advice do you have for me? Answer:  I get this question quite often, especially from people who have an interest in agricultural law.  A law degree opens up a great number of doors for graduates and law school was a great experience for me!  Here are a few pointers for potential law school applicants. 1.  Chose a major that you are interested in.  Many people are surprised to learn that you do not have to be a “pre-law” major to… Read More →

Farm and Ranch Lease Webinar

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On March 13, I will be presenting at a webinar along with New York City agricultural law attorney Cari Rincker (a Texas A&M alum) on farm and ranch leases.  Cari and I will discuss the basic law surrounding leases and will provide numerous practical considerations for ag law attorneys to consider when negotiating and drafting leases.  The webinar will be from 1:00 – 2:30 CST.  For more details on the webinar, click here. The webinar is co-sponsored by the American Agricultural Law Association and the National Agricultural Law Center.  It… Read More →

Cotton Contracting Considerations

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*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* Recently, the Texas Farm Bureau published an article written by Dr. John Robinson, the cotton marketing specialist here at Texas A&M and myself titled Cotton Contracting Considerations in its Texas Agriculture Magazine. The article discusses the historic use of forward contracts in selling agricultural commodities, the advantages and disadvantages of using these commodity sales contracts, and historical patters regarding contracting and marketing pools.  Dr. Robinson also discusses the 2010 cotton crop, for which prices rose to historic highs… Read More →

Don’t Wait to Plan Your Estate

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*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* Back in December, I gave a presentation on estate planning at the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show Commodity Symposium. The High Plains Journal recently wrote an article outlining the presentation and the advice that I provided to participants.  Importantly, I discussed the false premise that many people believe–if one spouse dies without a will, all assets are transferred to the surviving spouse–and explained the problems that could be caused by intestate distribution of assets.  Additionally, I… Read More →