Texas Farm Animal Liability Act (Part I): The Basics

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The Texas Equine Activity Limitation of Liability Act was originally passed in 1995 and applied only to equine animals.  Forty-six states, all but California, Maryland, Nevada, and New York, have enacted similar equine statutes, although each state’s statute greatly differs in details.  The purpose of these statutes are to encourage participation in equine activities, to ensure the public is aware of inherent risks of equine activities, and to provide limited liability to equine facility operators. In 2011, the Texas Legislature amended the statute to apply to not only equine animals, but… Read More →

Reserving Groundwater Rights

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Recently, I have received several questions related to whether a seller of land can reserve groundwater rights at the time of sale.  The San Antonio Court of Appeals addressed this question in 2008 in City of Del Rio v. Clayton Sam Colt Hamilton Trust, 269 S.W.3d 613 (Tex. App. San Antonio 2008).  In light of the interest level in this topic, I thought a discussion of this decision might be useful. Basic Texas Water Law For those of you new to the blog and those of you not for Texas,… Read More →

Idaho “Ag Gag” Statute Declared Unconstitutional, Producers Should Review Practices

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension photo via Blair Fannin

I recently wrote an article for Progressive Cattleman Magazine discussing the recent ruling by an Idaho federal judge, which found that the state’s “ag gag” statute was unconstitutional.  The statute, which prohibits interference with agricultural operations, including undercover videotaping, was held to violate both the First Amendment  and the Equal Protection Clause.  As the article explains, in light of this ruling, producers should review and consider their current hiring policies, training procedures, crisis response plan, and potential common law claims if an undercover video situation were to arise…. Read More →

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: What If Dogs Are Threatening My Livestock?

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Question:  What can I do if dogs are threatening to harm or have harmed my livestock? Answer:  Texas has a statute that answers this exact question, the Texas Health and Safety Code Section 822.013.  This statute may be broken into three prongs. First, the statute applies if dogs or coyotes either (a) is attacking, (b) is about to attack, or (c) has recently attacked covered animals.  As the statute makes clear, it applies only to situations where the animal is attacking, is about to attack or has recently… Read More →

Breaking News: Sixth Circuit Issues Nationwide Stay on WOTUS Rule

Agrilife Extension

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has issued a nationwide stay on the EPA’s new “waters of the United States” rule. For more information, click here for an article by AgWeb.

What Constitutes Gross Negligence Under the Recreational Use Statute?

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The Texas Supreme Court recently analyzed an important question for Texas landowners:  What constitutes gross negligence under the Recreational Use Statute?  The court’s opinion in Suarez v. City of Texas City focuses on other issues such as governmental immunity as well, but also offers insight into how gross negligence is analyzed under the Recreational Use Statute. [Read full opinion here.] Legal Background As you may recall from this prior blog post, Texas has a Recreational Use Statute which essentially shields Texas landowners from liability if a person is injured on agricultural land while… Read More →

Seed Law Fact Sheet

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Earlier this year, I published a fact sheet related to seed saving laws.  There are a number of legal protections that may be afforded to different seeds.  It is critical that farmers understand these laws and investigate which of them might apply to any seeds that they plant.  To view the fact sheet, click here.

Short Pause in Weekly Round Ups

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There will be a short pause in our normal Weekly Round Up posts each Friday.  Before you get upset, know that I have a good excuse.  My husband and I recently welcomed our first child, a baby boy named Braun. I will be on maternity leave for a couple of months.  Although regular blog posts will continue, I will be unable to keep up with the Weekly Round Up. Weekly Round Up will continue as soon as I return to work. For those of you need your weekly… Read More →

Breach of Contract Case Offers Important Lessons

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Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a breach of contract case pitting a chicken grower against Johnson Breeders, Inc.  The case offers a good illustration and discussion of breach of contract claims in the agricultural context. Background The plaintiff in this case was a chicken grower who had contracted to grow chickens for Johnson Breeders Inc. from 1987 until 2011.  Under the contracts, Johnson furnished flocks of baby chicks to the grower, who then raised the chicks by providing labor, electricity, houses, and… Read More →

Dispute Resolution Clauses: Understand What You Are Agreeing To

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Earlier this year, I wrote an article for Progressive Cattleman Magazine discussing dispute resolution clauses.  Although these clauses–generally requiring parties to participate in mediation or arbitration–are in most contracts, very few people understand the impact that agreeing could have on their legal rights.  All people should understand the difference between mediation and arbitration, and the impacts, both positive and negative, of agreeing to either form of alternative dispute resolution. To read my article, click here.