Goliad County Cattle Seized for Cruel Treatment Returned, Case Dismissed

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A recent situation involving the immediate seizure of cattle in Goliad County brought a lot of attention to the laws regarding when livestock can be seized when allegations of animal cruelty have been made. Background  When Mr. Franke, an 81-year old Goliad County cattle rancher died, he left 100 head of cattle and a portion of land to the Padillas, a couple who had worked for Mr. Franke caring for his livestock for years.  Mr. Franke’s children challenged Mr. Franke’s will, arguing they should be entitled to the… Read More →

July 30, 2021 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  On Tuesday, I commented to a couple of friends it had been a quite couple of weeks on the agricultural law front.  Apparently, that opened the flood gates and we’ve got a full slate of news for today’s Weekly Round Up! * United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholds ruling in Montana beef checkoff case.  The Ninth Circuit has upheld the decision of the District of Montana upholding the Montana Beef Checkoff.  Specifically, the court found that because of the MOUs between the… Read More →

2021 Texas Legislative Recap – Key Bills for Agriculture

As we do after every Texas Legislative Session, we’re here with a recap of the 87th Texas Legislature and the bills impacting agriculture.  As you will see, it was a busy session with a number of ag-related bills being passed.  We have linked each bill below to allow easy access to the full text. Also, as has become tradition, J Pete Laney joined me on the Ag Law in the Field Podcast to discuss these bills and give us his thoughts from someone involved on the ground with… Read More →

Owning Your Piece of Texas Online Course!

We’ve been working hard over the last year on a really exciting project.  Our Owning Your Piece of Texas: Key Laws Texas Landowners Need to Know Online Course is now available!   Given the popularity of our live Owning Your Piece of Texas courses, we wanted to have an online, on-demand option for rural landowners and agricultural producers interested in learning about various laws they may encounter.  Topics include water law, oil and gas law, eminent domain, special use tax valuation, renewable energy leases, fence law, landowner liability,… Read More →

July 16, 2021 Weekly Round Up

I’m not sure how this happened, but it is the middle of July and the summer is flying by.  There are plenty of agricultural law stories in the news. *President Biden addresses several agricultural issues in Executive Order Promoting Competition in the American Economy.  President Biden recently issued his Executive Order on Promoting the Competition in the American Economy.  [Read Fact Sheet here.]  This Executive Order addresses a number of issues, including several related to agriculture.  Namely, the Executive Order: (1) directs USDA to consider new rules under… Read More →

2020 Texas Rural Land Value Trends Report Released

One of the most useful resources for rural Texas landowners is the annual Rural Land Value Trends Report published by the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.  The 2020 Report was recently released. This report breaks Texas into seven regions and then each region is broken into smaller sub-regions.  The report then offers information regarding land prices and leasing rates for various types of property from irrigated cropland to rangeland to CRP land.  Additionally, this is the only publication I am aware… Read More →

AFPC Analyzes Proposed Tax Change Impact on Representative Farms

The Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University recently released a report looking at the likely impacts of proposed changes to the estate and capital gains taxes. [View Report here.]  Specifically, the report analyzed the impact that changes to the lifetime exclusion for estate taxes and the elimination of the stepped up basis for capital gains taxes would have on the AFPC’s 94 representative farms.  The results were clear in showing that for the representative farms, the proposed policy changes would greatly increase tax liability. Estate… Read More →

July 2, 2021 Weekly Round Up

It has been a busy couple of weeks in the agricultural law world.  Here’s a recap of some of the biggest stories. * Texas Supreme Court will not hear Texas Central Railway eminent domain case.  The Texas Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal in Miles v. Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure.  This denial leaves in place the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals ruling that Texas Central is considered a “railroad company” and an “interurban railroad,” thereby giving it eminent domain power to condemn land for the high… Read More →

US Supreme Court Sides with Agricultural Employers in Takings Case

Last week, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, a case involving a California law requiring agricultural employers to allow union organizers to enter the employer’s property.  The employers claimed this was a taking of private property without just compensation, and the US Supreme Court agreed.  [Read Opinion here.] Background  California law gives agricultural employees the right to self-organization and prohibits employers from interfering with that right.  The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (CALRB) passed a regulation that requires labor organizations to… Read More →

Amendments to Texas Farm Animal Liability Act Effective September 1

The Texas Legislature has passed and Governor Abbott has signed House Bill 365, which will make important changes to the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act (FALA). All farm animal owners should pay careful attention to the changes coming to the FALA, which will modify the scope of application and will also require additional steps be taken by farm animal owners. Background  The Texas Farm Animal Liability Act is a statute offering limited liability to farm animal owners if injuries are caused by an inherent risk to a farm… Read More →