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 →

May 1, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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Last week I made the journey to the Hill Country for the Bennett Trust Land Stewardship Conference, held in Kerrville.  Many kudos to organizer, Larry Redmond, for putting together an outstanding program!  To those of you new to the blog from the Conference, welcome! Here are some ag law stories in the news this week. *Texas Supreme Court Will Not Hear Bragg v. Edwards Aquifer Authority.  Big water law news happened today when the Texas Supreme Court denied petitions to consider an appeal in Bragg v. Edwards Aquifer Authority.  Stay… Read More →

Overview of Federal Estate Tax for Farmers and Ranchers

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I recently wrote a brief article for Progressive Cattleman magazine offering a basic overview of the federal estate tax, and specifically how it impacts farmers and ranchers.  The results of failing to analyze the potential liability and plan accordingly can be catastrophic for a farm or ranch that is required to pay the steep 40% federal estate tax.  To learn more, read my article by clicking here.  

Texas Supreme Court: Duty of Executive Rights Holder to Non-Participating Royalty Owner

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Recently, the Texas Supreme Court clarified the duty owed by an executive rights holder to a non-participating royalty owner when negotiating an oil and gas lease.  KCM Financial LLC v. Bradshaw is an important opinion as it makes clear what obligations the executive rights holder has, and does not have when negotiating and signing mineral leases.  [Read full opinion here.] Basic Legal Background Generally, if not severed, a mineral owner possesses certain rights as part of mineral ownership.  These rights include the executive right, which is the right to… Read More →

April 17, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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This week I traveled to Andrews, Texas to speak at the Sandhills Beef Conference.  Thanks to Caleb Eaton for the invitation to come and speak on grazing leases.  To those of you joining the blog from that presentation, welcome!  Here are a couple of at law stories in the news this week. * Texas Legislators Eye Gulf To Solve Water Issues.  The Texas Tribune published a great article discussing proposed bills in Austin related to turning to the gulf and desalination to solve Texas’ ongoing water problems.  As… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court: What Happens When Deed Descriptions Differ?

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When the metes-and-bounds description in a deed conflicts with another, more general description in the deed, which controls?  The Texas Supreme Court recently answered this question in Stribling v. Millican DPC Partners, LP.  [Read full opinion here.] Background Millican and McGregor are neighboring landowners in Brazos County.  They are at odds over which of them owns a 34.28 acre tract. Tracing this back in the deed records, there is a 1945 deed that, using metes-and-bounds identifies 202 acres, including the 34 acre tract in dispute, as being deeded from… Read More →

April 10, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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Yesterday found me in Menard, Texas talking to local landowners about hunting leases.  Thanks to Lisa Brown for the invitation and welcome to those of you joining the blog from that presentation! Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. * Midland County to Purchase Land for Groundwater Rights.  Midland County officials recently approved the purchase of land to secure additional groundwater for the county.  [Read article here.] * USDA Proposes Modifications to “Actively Engaged in Farming” Definition.  The USDA has proposed changes to… Read More →

Syngenta Corn Lawsuits: Answers to Producers’ Questions

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As we have previously discussed in several Weekly Round Up Posts, there have been numerous lawsuits filed across the county related against Syngenta related to a genetically modified corn seed that resulted in China rejecting shipments of US corn.   After receiving questions from numerous corn producers and agribusiness owners about exactly what was going on with these lawsuits, I have worked with attorneys William Chaney and Mitch Carthel to put together a Fact Sheet answering many of the questions frequently asked by producers. In order to obtain a… Read More →

April 6, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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Because of the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals opinion last week in TCEQ v. Texas Farm Bureau, the weekly round up blog for last Friday got pushed to today. Last weekend, I attended my first Texas & Southwest Cattle Raiser’s Conference in Ft. Worth.  I was honored to give three presentations on grazing leases and pipeline easements and had an absolute blast!  To those of you joining from the Convention, welcome! Here are some ag law stories in the news this week. * Texas Supreme Court Hears Chesapeake… Read More →