April 1, 2016 Weekly Round Up

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This week found me in west Texas speaking at county extension meetings in Reagan, Coke, and Upton Counties.  Many thanks to county extension agents Chase McPhaul, Morgan Runyan, and Raymond Quigg for the invitations.  Welcome to those of you new to the blog from these programs.  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. * US Supreme Court Hears Argument in Hawkes Clean Water Act Case.  This week, oral argument was held in an important Clean Water Act case at the United States Supreme… Read More →

Child Labor on the Farm and Ranch

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In preparing for an upcoming presentation, I have been looking into child labor laws in agriculture.  What I’ve learned is that pretty much my entire childhood was illegal!  Because many farmers and ranchers do employ minors to help on weekends or over the summer, understanding child labor laws related to agriculture is extremely important. Source of Laws Laws related to child labor and agriculture are found at both the federal and state levels.  Federally, these rules are found in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Additionally, many states… Read More →

Landowner Liability: What If Blowing Dust Causes Highway Accident?

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My very first assignment as a summer associate at a law firm was to look into whether our client, a rancher, could be held liable where dust from his property blew across the highway causing decreased visibility and a car accident ensued.  This same question was included in the Top 10 Things Agricultural Lawyers Should Know presentation by John Huffaker and David LeBas at the Texas Ag Law Course in 2015. It is an interesting and important issue for Texas landowners.  The answer, like so many legal answers, is not… Read More →

March 18, 2016 Weekly Round Up

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension photo by Blair Fannin

I hope you all had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day!  Here are a few of the ag law stories making news this week. * Senate rejects voluntary GMO labeling bill.  On Wednesday, the US Senate rejected a bill that would have created a voluntary GMO labeling system and would have prohibited states from imposing mandatory labeling requirements.  Proponents of the bill claim that GMOs are safe and that labeling should not be mandatory as it would increase food prices.  Further, they argue that allowing states to pass different… Read More →

Free Webinar The Right to Farm: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?

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Imagine you live on your family’s farm, which has been in your family for generations.  The nearby city keeps on growing and soon you find new neighbors next to your fields.  One evening, after a long day driving the tractor and running a manure spreader, your phone rings.  Your new neighbor is not happy about the smell of manure drifting from your fields onto her property.  Soon thereafter, you find yourself a defendant in a lawsuit claiming that your farm is a nuisance and seeking the court prevent… Read More →

New Mexico Amends Right to Farm Act

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension photo via Blair Fannin

The New Mexico Legislature recently passed an amendment to the state’s Right to Farm Act, which was signed into law by Governor Martinez on March 3, 2016.  Senate Bill 72 adds a new paragraph to the Right to Farm Act, which has been in place in New Mexico since 1981. Right to Farm Acts Generally Assume a dairy has been in operation for 10 years, and the city has continually moved further and further out towards the dairy.  Now, where there used to be open fields, the dairy finds… Read More →

March 11, 2016 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday to everyone!  There were lots of interesting ag law stories in the news this week.  Let’s take a look. * Mexico Complies with Rio Grande Treaty Obligations.  You may remember from this prior post the long running dispute between Texas and Mexico regarding water owed to the US under the 1944 Rio Grande Treaty.  For several years, Mexico had been behind on the required water delivery.  As of January 25, the International Boundary and Water Commission confirmed that Texas had delivered all water owed under the… Read More →

Review and Update Your Estate Plan Now!

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Although not as exciting as some other ag law issues we discuss on this blog, this topic is one of the most important for folks to consider.  I recently wrote an article for Dairy Herd Management discussing this topic.  While creating an estate plan is a very important step, it is not the end of the journey.  It is critical that once an estate plan has been created, it is reviewed and updated periodically.  I recommend that folks review estate plans at least once a year (your birthday… Read More →

March 4, 2016 Weekly Round Up

Photo by Wyman Meinzer

It’s been a busy week around here!  On Tuesday I spoke on surviving undercover video investigations at the High Plains Diary Conference in Lubbock.  It was a great turn out and I really enjoyed the chance to visit with folks about this topic.  Thanks to Ellen Jordan for the invitation.  On Thursday, I was in Abilene to speak with the Master Marketer class.  I appreciate Mark Welch inviting me to attend.  To those of you joining from these events, welcome! It has been a busy ag law week,… Read More →

Texas Oil & Gas Leasing Handbook Available

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Last week, my colleague from Oklahoma State University, Shannon Ferrell, and I put on an oil and gas leasing workshop in College Station.  The program was well attended, participants asked excellent questions, and the final evaluations and comments were very positive from those who attended. The funding for this project was provided by the Southern Risk Management Education Center and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.  We would also like to say a special thank you to Dr. Mark Waller, Tracy Davis, and Dusty Tittle for their… Read More →