Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: How Do I Select an Attorney?

Baracho

People frequently ask my advice on how to select an agricultural law attorney.  Having been in private practice for four years, I understand the importance of finding the right attorney for your legal issue. Importantly, there is no one-size-fits-all plan to selecting the right attorney for you, and, as you might expect, the right attorney for one farmer’s issue may not be the right attorney for the farmer down the road.  Here are a few important points to consider when you are selecting an attorney. 1.  Can you have… Read More →

February 13, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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We’ve made it to the end of another week!  Here are some ag law stories making news. * Texas Supreme Court Could Hear Groundwater Case.  You may recall from this prior blog the Coyote Lake Ranch v. City of Lubbock lawsuit.  The Ranch owns the surface, but all groundwater rights were severed and sold to Lubbock by prior owners in the 1960’s.  As part of the contract for the water rights, Lubbock obtained the right to enter the land and drill water wells.  The Ranch is concerned that by… Read More →

NM Federal Judge Strikes Down Mora County Oil and Gas Ban

Cows not Fracking

Recently, federal Judge James Browning, sitting on the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, invalidated a law passed by Mora County Commissioners that prohibited oil and gas production in the county.  The ban, the first of its kind in the nation, raised questions regarding the constitutionality of prohibiting the development of mineral estates.  Judge Browning’s opinion in SWEPI, LP v. Mora County, New Mexico marks the first federal decision related to local drilling bans, which are being seen across the country. Background Mora County, located… Read More →

Anti-Climactic Ending to Underground Trespass Case

In a much-watched case involving underground trespass, the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling issued last Friday amounts to a punt.  Environmental Processing Systems v. FPL Farming raised the question of whether disposal well fluids disposed of thousands of feet below ground, which then migrate across property lines constitutes trespass. As you will remember from this prior blog, the Texas Supreme Court heard oral argument on this case one year ago. Background In this case, a Liberty County rice farmer sued his neighbor, a disposal well company, claiming that subsurface trespass… Read More →

February 6, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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This week I made the trip to Waco to speak at the Backlands Income Growth Conference on landowner rights and on grazing leases.  It was a great conference and I appreciate the opportunity to speak and to visit with producers.  Welcome to any new followers from the BIG Conference!  Here are some ag law stories in the news this week. * Court Dismisses Farm Bureau Lawsuit Regarding Farmers Privacy.  You may recall from this prior blog that the American Farm Bureau and the National Pork Producers filed a… Read More →

Seed Saving Law: What Farmers Need to Know

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I recently wrote an article for Progressive Forage Grower magazine providing an overview of seed saving law in the United States.  This is a legal issue that farmers need to understand and ensure they follow to avoid costly fines and litigation. Bowman v. Monsanto In 2012, an Indiana farmer, Vernon Hugh Bowman, found himself before the United States Supreme Court in a battle over his planting soybean seeds on his 65 acre farm.  The seeds he planted were produced by Monsanto and genetically modified to survive the spraying… Read More →

January 30, 2015 Weekly Round Up

Pipelinetexas

I’m not sure how the month of January has already drawn to a close, but I hope everyone has enjoyed the first 30 days of the new year!  This month has brought two great speaking opportunities.  First, I spoke to beef producers from Texas and New Mexico at the Southwest Beef Symposium in Amarillo, where I presented on legal resources for agricultural producers.  Last week, I traveled to Atlanta to speak at the Southern Dairy Conference.  There, I presented on how to prevent and survive and undercover video… Read More →

WOTUS All the Fuss About?

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Recently, OSU Professor of Ag Law Shannon Ferrell, and I wrote an article for Southwest Farm Press titled WOTUS All the Fuss About.  (I do have to admit that Professor Ferrell did most of they heavy lifting, including the snappy title!) The article provides an overview of the recent controversy involving the EPA and Corps of Engineers proposed rule to define “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.  The proposed definition was met with a great deal of push back from many industries, with agriculture… Read More →

Surface Use Agreements: What They Are and How To Get One

Drill pad Bryan 2

As we have previously discussed, in Texas, the mineral estate is dominant over the surface estate.  This means that a mineral owner (or lessees, as the case frequently is) has the right to use as much of the surface estate as is reasonably necessary for the production of minerals like oil and gas without compensation to the surface owner.  One way for surface owners to protect themselves is by entering into a Surface Use Agreement. What They Are Initially, I want to note that the best way to… Read More →

5th Circuit Reverses AQHA Cloning Case – AQHA Not Required to Register Clones

AQHA

On Wednesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the AQHA in the ongoing battle over the registration of cloned horses.  [Read full opinion here.] Background As you recall from this prior post, two AQHA members, Jonathan Abraham and Gregg Veneklasen, filed suit against the AQHA, alleging that the organizations policy that cloned horses and their offspring were not eligible for registration violated state and federal anti-trust law.  In August 2013, an Amarillo federal jury found in favor of the plaintiffs, holding that the AQHA… Read More →