February 3, 2017 Weekly Round Up

I’m not quite sure how we are already a month into 2017, but here we are.  In the last couple of weeks I have traveled to speak at Extension meetings in Dumas and Lubbock.  Welcome to those of you joining from those meetings! Here are some of the ag law stories in the news. *10 Texas oil and gas cases to watch.  Chris Halgren compiled a list of 10 Texas Supreme Court cases dealing with oil and gas law worth watching in 2017.  His post provides a short… Read More →

Where Do We Stand on WOTUS

For the third year in a row, Shannon Ferrell and I have decided to cover the status of the “waters of the United States” rule in our annual article for the Southwest Farm Press.  Between the Duarte Nursery trial court decision in California, the landowner victory in the United States Supreme Court Hawkes ruling, and the speculation about actions that the Trump administration might take, we had plenty of angles to consider.  To read our article, click here.

TCAAA State Specialist of the Year in Texas Agriculture

Over the summer, I was very honored to be awarded the “State Specialist of the Year in Texas Agriculture” award from the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association. This group is made up of extension agents from across the state.  I so enjoy the chance to work with these folks and really appreciate them giving me this award.

A Look Forward: Ag Law in 2017

It appears that 2017 could be an important year for a number of agricultural law issues.  From the Clean Water Act, to “Ag Gag” legislation, to the Endangered Species Act, there are a number of pending cases that could have major impacts on the agricultural industry in the coming year.  Here is a brief look at four of the biggest cases to watch this year. WOTUS lawsuit and potential Congressional action. Everyone may be tired of talking about the new rule promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency and… Read More →

January 20, 2017 Weekly Round Up

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Right-to-farm Supreme Court arguments heard at Colony High School This week I traveled to Lockney for the Caprock Crops Conference.  As usual, this was a great conference.  Thanks to Caitlin and Cristen for inviting me to present.  To those of you joining from that meeting, welcome!  Here are some at law stories in the news this week. * US Supreme Court will hear WOTUS dispute over jurisdiction, no merits to be considered.  The United States Supreme Court has granted certiorari in a dispute involving where challenges to the… Read More →

Appellate Court Finds Local Hawaii Pesticide Law Pre-Empted

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently found that a local law passed by the County of Kauai attempting to regulate pesticide use and genetically modified crops is pre-empted by state law.  [Read the full-opinion-here.] Factual Background Numerous seed companies plant and test genetically modified crops, such as corn, soybeans, and rice in Hawaii.  They spray a variety of pesticides–including insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides–on the crops. In 2013, the County of Kauai passed Ordinance 960, aimed at regulating the application of pesticides.  Specifically, the Ordinance requires… Read More →

January 13, 2017 Weekly Round Up

Hello!  I am excited to be back in the saddle with Weekly Round Up posts.  I appreciate all of your kind words and well wishes while I was off on maternity leave to welcome home our daughter, Harper. There is sure no shortage of ag law news to report on this week.  Here are some of the big stories. * Texas producers reject Indemnity Fund assessment.  The Texas Department of Agriculture announced that recent voting on whether to create an assessment on grain sales to fund a sort of… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Issues Ruling in Denbury Green

Although the Texas Supreme Court decision in Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas, LLC v. Texas Rice Land Partners, Ltd. has put an end to the litigation, there are a number of unanswered questions and potential issues that remain in the opinion’s aftermath.  [Read full opinion here.]  This case will continue to have serious impacts on landowners and pipeline companies dealing with the use of eminent domain in Texas. Factual Background When the Denbury Green Pipeline project planned to build a C02 pipeline from Missisippi to Brazoria and Galveston Counties in Texas,… Read More →

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 →