CA Animal Welfare Act Could Impact Farm Practices Nationwide

This article was published in Progressive Cattleman’s April issue. In a difficult time for agriculture, when producers are already facing low commodity prices and trade uncertainty, many livestock producers may also have to be concerned about the potential impact of something else in the coming years: California voters. In November 2018, California voters passed Proposition 12 with 59% of the vote.  This ballot initiative prohibits California businesses from knowingly selling veal, pork, shell eggs, or liquid eggs, that were produced by animals “confined in a cruel manner.”  The… Read More →

Does the Aesthetic Impact of Wind Turbines Constitute a Nuisance?

Wind turbines are a common sight across Texas.  In fact, Texas is the largest wind producing state in America.  In 2017, the number of megawatts produced by Texas wind farms surpassed the number of megawatts of energy produced by Texas coal plants.  However, not everyone is a fan of wind farms or the look of the wind turbines dotting the skyline across the Lone Star State.  This has led to an interesting question:  Can claimed negative aesthetic impact of a wind project by a neighboring landowner constitute a… Read More →

March 8, 2019 Weekly Round Up

Hello and happy Friday!  We’re back with another weekly round up of the top agricultural law stories of the past two weeks. * North Carolina nuisance ruling appealed. Plaintiffs in the first North Carolina hog farm nuisance lawsuit have filed an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  A number of agricultural groups, including the American and North Carolina Farm Bureau have filed an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiffs arguing that the North Carolina Right to Farm law should have applied as… Read More →

Recent Eminent Domain Podcasts & Resources

Eminent domain has been the hot topic in Texas recently.  With various projects from pipelines to roads to even a potential bullet train going on across the state, Texas landowners often find themselves in the crossroads of potential condemnation.  Recently, I’ve been interviewed for two podcasts and also recorded an episode for my own show with Lubbock-based attorney, Zach Brady.  I thought I would share these episodes with you all. (Just FYI–you can listen to each of these on your computer by just clicking on the links below. … Read More →

Court Rules for Oil Operator in Accommodation Doctrine Case

Last summer, a case from the El Paso Court of Appeals, Harrison v. Rosetta Resources Operating, raised interesting arguments regarding water use and the accommodation doctrine. Background The Harrison Trust owns 320 acres in Reeves County.  Mr. Harrison is the trustee of the Harrison Trust.  The minerals beneath the land are owned by the State of Texas. In 2009, Harrison executed an oil and gas lease on behalf of the State with Eagle Oil & Gas, as is allowed by the Natural Resources Code on certain lands.  Eventually, the… Read More →

February 22, 2019 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday and happy FFA week!  I, like many of you, credit FFA for so much of my success in my life and career.  I hope you take a moment to think back on what FFA has given  you and think about ways you might be able to give back to the organization. I also want to say a special welcome to those of you who are joining us after attending the Central Texas Farm Credit diner in Haskell this week.  It was an honor to speak with… Read More →

Missouri Court Holds Crop Dusting Not Inherently Dangerous Activity

A case out of Missouri, Keller Farms, Inc. v. Stewart,  recently caught my attention as it addressed an interesting question, is crop dusting an “inherently dangerous activity?”  This is an important question as the answer can greatly impact the potential liability of a landowner or producer hiring someone to apply pesticides. Why do we care? Why do we care if a court considers aerial application of pesticide to be “inherently dangerous?”  The reason is that a person is generally not liable for the acts of his or her independent contractor. … Read More →

2019 Ranchers Leasing Workshop Events Announced

The Ranchers Leasing Workshop programs are my most popular events of the year.  To date, we have had over 850 Texans attend these half-day seminars and 100% of them would recommend this program to a friend.  We focus on legal issues related to grazing, hunting and livestock leases, including why leases should be in writing, how to determine the payment structure and rate, key terms to include, and spend about an hour on landowner liability and how to protect one’s operation.  Importantly, we work hard to be really… Read More →

February 8, 2019 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  I want to say a quick welcome to those of you who I met last week in East Texas when I spoke in Quitman, Hallsville and Kilgore.  We’re excited to have you here. Here are a few of the ag law stories in the news over the last couple of weeks. *MFP Program deadline sign up extended through February 14.  The deadline to signup for the Market Facilitation Program, frequently referred to as the tariff payment, at the FSA Office has been extended through February 14.  Then,… Read More →

Agricultural Tenants and Eminent Domain Proceeds

In Texas, a good deal of agricultural land is leased out to tenants that either farm or raise livestock on the land.  Recently, I’ve received a number of questions from agricultural tenants related to their rights in the event some portion of the leased property is impacted by eminent domain. A condemning entity, like a pipeline company, is required to pay just compensation in order to condemn the property needed for the project.  Just compensation is defined as the fair market value of the property at the time… Read More →