Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: How Do I Find Out If I Own Mineral Rights?

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Question:  I own property in Texas.  How can I find out whether I own the mineral rights as well? Answer: Without question, this is one of the most common questions I am asked by Texas landowners.  As the question notes, in Texas, mineral ownership can be (and often is) severed from surface ownership.  Oftentimes these severances occurred several generations ago, leaving current owners unsure of their ownership status.  Further complicating the issue is the fact that ownership of mineral rights may be divided in a number of ways,… Read More →

July 17, 2015 Weekly Round Up

Photo by Wyman Meinzer

It’s time for another quick rundown of ag law stories in the news this week.  Enjoy! *  Texas Supreme Court Will Not Hear Appeal in Ecom USA, Inc. v. Clark.  This means that the Amarillo Court of Appeals opinion in the case–remanding the case to the trial court for more factual development on the question of whether an arbitration clause in a cotton contract was enforceable–will stand.  To read my analysis of the Court of Appeals’ opinion, click on this prior blog post. *  Tensions High Regarding Pipeline Project to… Read More →

Hawaii Judge Strikes Down Maui County GMO Ban

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A Hawaii federal judge recently ruled that a Maui County law banning GMO crops is invalid because it is pre-empted by federal and state law.  [To read the full Order, click here.] The Ordinance In November 2014, Maui County passed a ballot initiative “A Bill Placing a Moratorium on the Cultivation of Genetically Engineered Organisms” (“the Ordinance”).  The Ordinance makes it “unlawful for any person or entity to knowingly propagate, cultivate, raise, grow, or test Genetically Engineered Organisms within the County of Maui.”  An exception existed for organisms… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Finds for Royalty Owners in Hyder Case

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In June, the Texas Supreme Court issued a 5-4 opinion in a much-watched dispute between royalty owners and oil and gas producer, Chesapeake Exploration, LLC.   [Read full opinion here.] This case is extremely important for all Texas royalty and overriding royalty owners to be aware of as it illustrates contractual language sufficient to prevent the production company from deducting post-production costs from royalty payments, and that which is not sufficient to prevent such deductions.  There is a fine line between sufficient and insufficient language, which can have… Read More →

July 10, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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We’ve made it to another Friday!  Here are some of the interesting ag law stories in the news this week.  Also, for those of you on Twitter, be sure to follow me @Tiff Dowell for more ag law news throughout the week! * Oklahoma Supreme Court Allows Suits by Property Owners Against Oil and Gas Companies for Earthquakes.  An Oklahoma property owner who claims her home was damaged due to an earthquake she claims was caused by a saltwater disposal well can pursue her legal claim  against numerous… Read More →

Texas Legislative Review: Bills Related to Agricultural Law

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Now that the 2015 Texas Legislative Session has ended, I wanted to highlight some agricultural-related bills considered in Austin this session.  For those of you not familiar with Texas politics, our legislature meets only every-other year.  At the close of the session, there are three things that can happen to any bills on the governor’s desk:  (1) the governor has 20 days to sign the bill, making it law; (2) the governor has 20 days to veto the bill; or (3) if no action is taken within the 20 day… Read More →

New Mexico Court of Appeals: Agriculture Exclusion to Workers’ Compensation Act Unconstitutional

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A recent decision by the New Mexico Court of Appeals is receiving much attention from the agricultural industry.  In Rodriguez v. Brand West Dairy, the New Mexico Court of Appeals held that a provision excluding  farm and ranch laborers from coverage is  unconstitutional as it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the New Mexico Constitution.  [Read full opinion here.] Factual Background Two agricultural laborers were injured during their employment in the New Mexico agriculture industry.  Aguirre was injured while picking chile for M.A. & Sons Chili Products.  Rodriguez was… Read More →

July 3, 2015 Weekly Round Up

Agrilife Extension

Happy July to everyone!  Yesterday, I participated in the Texas Range Webinar Series and gave a presentation on water law.  We had a great turn out for the webinar and fantastic questions! To those of you joining us from the webinar, welcome! The month kicked off with a bang as far as ag law in the news is concerned.  Here are some of the key stories making news this week. * TCEQ Files Petition for TX Supreme Court Review in Surface Water Case.  The TCEQ is seeking review… Read More →

Farm Transition Webinar

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Paul Goeringer, legal specialist at the University of Maryland does a great job of putting together ag law webinars, free of charge, on important issues.  Earlier this month, Shannon Ferrell, an ag law professor at Oklahoma State University, did a webinar on transitioning the family farm between generations. This is an extremely important issue and Shannon is a nationwide expert in this area. To listen to Shannon’s presentation (it lasts just over 1 hour), just press play on the video screen below.

June 26, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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It was a busy week for ag law!  In addition to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in the “raisin case” (read my summary here in case you missed it), here are some of the other ag law stories in the news this week: *United States Supreme Court Will Not Hear Appeal in Whooping Crane Case.  The US Supreme Court has denied a petition for certiorari filed by The Aransas Project seeking review in “the whopping crane case” as it has become known.  The case involved a claim… Read More →