Idaho Judge Allows “Ag Gag” Lawsuit to Move Forward


Judge B. Lynn Winmill, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Idaho has denied a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Idaho Interference with Agricultural Production statute, known as the “ag gag” statute.  [Read full opinion here]. Under the statute, passed in 2014, a person commits a crime if he or she knowingly enters an agricultural production facility by force, threat, misrepresentation, or trespass; obtains records of an agricultural operation by force, threat, misrepresentation, or trespass; obtains employment with an agricultural… Read More →

When Farmers and Ranchers Need To Issue a 1099 Form


Recently at the Texas A&M University Beef Cattle Short Course, accountant Jared Hartman with the firm Seidel, Schroeder & Co. discussed the requirements for 1099 forms.  The discussion caused some surprise among the audience of cattle producers about when this form is required.  In light of that, I did some research on the subject and wanted to share. When Are 1099 Forms Necessary? Under IRS regulations, a 1099 form should be issued to certain non-employees who perform services and are paid over $600 in a calendar year. This requirement can be broken… Read More →

September 6, 2014 Weekly Round Up

cotton jennifer

Yesterday, I enjoyed a trip to Lubbock to attend the planning meeting of the county extension agents in Districts 1 and 2.  Led by RPD, Danny Nusser, the agents worked hard to come up with program plans for 2015.  It sounds like there will be lots of great programs in the Panhandle and South Plains next year!  I appreciated the opportunity to attend. Here are a few ag law stories in the news this week. * Eminent Domain Controversy Near Mumford.  A proposed rail yard has caused a… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Issues Important Opinion Regarding Damages to Real Property


Last week was a busy one for the Texas Supreme Court.  In addition to the Hamrick v. Ward opinion we discussed on Monday, the Court also issued an important opinion in Wheeler v. Enbridge Pipelines, L.P. that clarifies the proper measure of recovery for damages to real property.  [Read full opinion here.] Background The Wheeler family owned 153 acres of heavily wooded property in Shelby County.  The Wheelers agreed to grant Enbridge an easement across the property in order to place a pipeline, but required that the pipeline be installed by… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Clarifies Law Regarding Implied Easements


The Texas Supreme Court’s decision last week in Hamrick v. Ward is important as it clarifies the law regarding implied easements, which could impact landowners across Texas.  [Read full opinion here.] Background The facts in this case are actually less important than the legal principles set forth by the court.  Thus, the facts are reviewed only briefly in very simplified form. In 1936, O.J. Bourgeois owned 41.1 acres in Harris County.  He convened two acres of this property to his grandson, Paul.  During Paul’s ownership, a dirt road was constructed… Read More →

August 29, 2014 Weekly Round Up


I spent last week running all over the state for presentations once again.  On Monday I was in Amarillo to discuss managing oil and gas contracts for farms and ranches, Tuesday found me in Georgetown discussing water law, Thursday I headed to San Antonio to discuss current hot topics in Agricultural Law with the South Texas Farm and Ranch Club, and finally on Friday I was in McKinney discussing drafting hunting leases at the North Texas Wildlife Management Program.  Thanks to the organizers of each event for the… Read More →

Case Illustrates Importance of Detailed Lease Provisions in Case of Drought

grazing lease 2

The Amarillo Court of Appeals recently considered a case involving an alleged breach of a grazing lease.  Miller v. Durham illustrates the importance of lease agreements addressing what will happen in the event of drought, fire, or other natural disaster that damages the forage available for livestock under the lease.  [Read full opinion here.] Background Mr. Durham owned ranchland in Hale and Lubbock counties.  In January 2010, the Millers entered into a grazing lease agreement with Mr. Durham to lease 889 acres that was to last from January 1, 2010, to December 31,… Read More →

Back To School Checklist Should Include Powers of Attorneys for College Students

kyle field

Most of the time, powers of attorney are drafted as part of the estate planning process.  As college students head back to campus this fall, however, they should consider preparing powers of attorney for financial and healthcare needs. Once children reach the age of 18, parents are no longer able to automatically make financial and medical decisions on their behalf.  For example, healthcare privacy laws will not let parents access healthcare information about their adult children absent written authorization.  Similarly, if a child is in an accident and… Read More →

Domestic Horse Slaughter: Where Are We Now?


Domestic horse slaughter is one of the most controversial issues in agricultural law.  Over the last three years, there have been a number of developments on the issue, from the courthouse to Capitol  Hill.  To review all prior blog posts related to horse slaughter, click here. I recently wrote an article for Progressive Cattleman that provides a brief history of the status of horse slaughter in the U.S. and explains where the issue currently stands.  You may read the article online by clicking here.    

August 15, 2014 Weekly Round Up

This week I was literally all across the state of Texas at various programs.  From Monahans discussing oil and gas leasing, pipeline easement negotiations, and water law, to Caldwell speaking on groundwater ownership, to Diboll discussing eminent domain and pipeline easements for forest landowners, to Corrigan on Friday discussing grazing leases, water law, and generational transfer.  Each stop had an outstanding turn out and great participants who were engaged and interested in the topics.  Folks like that make my job more fun!  A big thanks to all of… Read More →