Federal Magistrate Sides with Producers in Montana Beef Checkoff Lawsuit

The Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (“R-CALF”) and the United Stockgrowers of America have likely survived a motion to dismiss their case against USDA challenging the beef checkoff and obtained an injunction against the Montana Beef Council (“MBC”) to prevent it spending money received from the federal Beef Checkoff Board on promotion.  A federal Magistrate Judge sided with the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which claims that the federal law requiring funding of the MBC is unconstitutional.  Additionally, the Magistrate suggests a preliminary injunction be issued, which would prohibit the… Read More →

2016 Ag Law Year in Review: State Level

Happy New Year!  We are back with Part II in our series looking back at the biggest agricultural law issues of 2016.  If you missed Part I, which focused on federal issues, click here.  Today, we will be focused on Texas-specific issues. *Jury issues $2.4 million verdict in Bragg v. Edwards Aquifer Authority.  The seemingly unending saga of the Bragg case came to an end in 2016.  On remand, a Medina County jury issued a judgement in the amount of $2.5 million (exclusive of interest) in favor of the Braggs as… Read More →

2016 Ag Law Year In Review: Federal Level

2016 was quite a year for agricultural law.  From the FAA passing UAS regulations to a major water law decision by the Texas Supreme Court to Congress passing a GMO labeling bill, a lot has happened in the past 12 months.  We will take a look at the highlights in two parts, focusing today on federal issues and considering Texas issues in our next blog post. *WOTUS joint resolution vetoed, stay in place during litigation.  The controversy surrounding the Clean Water Act definition of “Waters of the United… Read More →

Reminder: Check Your Beneficiaries!

A Dallas Court of Appeals decision offers an important reminder for everyone to consider…be sure to check your beneficiaries designated to receive payment upon death for items like life insurance policies, pensions, or Transfer on Death accounts.  Failure to do so can lead to unintended and unfair consequences for the loved ones left behind. Switzer v. Vaughan In this case, a dispute arose when David Eric Switzer passed away in 2014.  From 2007 to 2009, Eric dated a co-worker named Kay.  During that time, Eric designated Kay as his… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Enforces Forum Selection Clauses

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Frequently during presentations on hunting leases, I recommend that landowners include a “forum selection clause” in their lease agreement with hunters who “aren’t from around here.”  A forum selection clause essentially is a contractual agreement between the parties as to where any litigation will be filed if a dispute arises.  In hunting leases, a landowner wants to ensure that he or she has home court advantage, if you will, by ensuring that litigation occur at home, rather than where the hunter lives.  Earlier this year, the Texas Supreme Court… Read More →

Clean Water Act Webinar and Report

Today, I’ve got a couple of resources for those of you interested in the Clean Water Act. First, the Congressional Research Service recently published a report titled “Evolution of the Meaning of ‘Waters of the United States’ in the Clean Water Act” that walks through the path that the term “waters of the US” has taken over the past several decades.  It is an interesting look at the history of the Act and the cases that have attempted to define the scope of federal jurisdiction in this area…. Read More →

Three-Peat as American Bar Association Top 100 Blawg

ABA Journal Tenth Anniversary Edition 100 Blawg Honoree

We are excited and honored that for the third year in a row, the Texas Agriculture Law Blog has been selected as one of the top 100 legal blogs (“blawgs”) by the American Bar Association.  To view the full 2017 Blawg 100 list, click here. According to the American Bar Association Acting Editor-Publisher, Molly McDonough, “For 10 years, the Blawg 100 has helped shine a light on the stunning breadth of legal topics and voices to found in the legal blogosphere.  Journal editors have selected yet another stellar… Read More →

Special Use Valuation in Texas (Part IV): Wildlife Management Use

This is our final post in the Special  Use Valuation in Texas series.  If you missed any of the prior posts, click here. Today, we will look at the Wildlife Management Use Valuation (“WMUV”).  Although technically a sub-part of the Open Space Valuation method (Texas Constitution Article VII, Section (1)(d)(1), WMUV has a distinct set of rules apart from other open space land.  These rules are found in the Texas Tax Code Sections 23.51 and 23.521 and the Texas Administrative Code Chapter 9.2001 – 2005.   WMUV is the… Read More →

Special Use Valuation in Texas (Part III): Open Space Valuation

Today, we continue with our blog series on special use valuation in Texas.  If you are just joining us, here are links to Parts I and II. This blog post will focus on the rules related to Open Space Valuation (“OSV”).  Passed in 1978, more than a decade after Agricultural Use Valuation, this method is governed by Article VIII, Section 1(d)(1) of the Texas Property Code and Sections 23.51-59 of the Texas Tax Code.  This valuation method may also frequently be referred to as “1(d)(1) valuation.”  A one-time application… Read More →

Special Use Valuation in Texas (Part II): Agricultural Use Valuation

This marks our second post in our Special Use Valuation in Texas blog series.  If you missed the initial post, click here. Today, we will kick things off by looking at Agricultural Use Valuation (“AUV”).   This method was passed into law in 1966 and is governed by Article VIII, Section (d)(1) of the Texas Constitution and Sections 23.41-47 of the Texas Tax Code.  This is the oldest valuation method available for agricultural land, and perhaps that with the most stringent requirements.  An annual application must be filed with… Read More →