Texas Supreme Court: Courts, Not TCEQ, Determine Water Rights Ownership in Texas

The Texas Supreme Court issued its decision in Pape Partners, Ltd. v. DRR Family Properties, and in doing so, answered the question of whether it is the courts or the TCEQ that has jurisdiction over water rights ownership disputes in Texas.  [Read Opinion here.] Background Lola Robinson owned two pieces of property in McLennan County, the farm and an adjacent 250-acre tract of land.  In 1986, she obtained two water rights permits from the TCEQ to irrigate from the Brazos River for one of the farms.  The permits did… Read More →

Mental Health Awareness Month: This World Is Better with You in It

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Every year, I do an interview related to agriculture and mental health.  Click to listen to prior interviews with Ted Matthews, Adrienne DeSutter, and Lesley Kelley. This year, I was thrilled to have my friend, Shannon Ferrell, join me to talk about the work he is doing in this area.  Shannon offers important insight, information, suggestions, and encouragement.  He summed up our discussion with the most important line:  This world is better with you in it.  To listen to my interview with… Read More →

2021 Texas Rural Land Value Trends

Each year, the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers publishes a Rural Land Value Trends report.  They just released their 2021 edition.  Click here to download. 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 of that publishes average hunting lease rates… Read More →

Texas Court Considers Principal Place of Residence Requirement for Medicaid

A recent Austin Court of Appeals decision in Texas Health and Human Services Commission v. Estate of Clyde L. Burt, answers an important Medicaid qualification question.  Is an applicant required to reside in a home prior to seeking nursing care in order for the home to be considered an excludable resource  under the Medicaid rules? [Read opinion here.] Background Clyde and Dorothy Burt bought a home in 1974 and lived there until December 2010 at which time they sold the home to their daughter, Linda Wallace, and moved into… Read More →

April 29, 2022 Weekly Round Up

It is hard to believe we have reached the end of April, but here we are!  Lots of agricultural law news happening around the country. *Article highlights nuance with 10% cap on residence homestead tax.  My colleague, Dr. Blake Bennett, recently published a fact sheet looking at a nuance within the Texas Property Code related to the 10% cap on the yearly increase for residence homestead taxes in Texas.  The Texas Property Code places a 10% limitation on the amount a County Appraisal District may increase the appraised… Read More →

US Supreme Court Will Hear Proposition 12 Challenge

On March 28, the United States Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari in National Pork Producers v. Ross, a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12 (Prop 12).  To hear more about animal confinement statutes generally and Prop 12 specifically, click here for a podcast episode I did with Beth Rumley from the National Agricultural Law Center. Background Prop 12, passed by California voters in 2018, makes it illegal to sell pork in California unless the pig from which it comes was born to a sow housed… Read More →

Turtles All the Way Down: A Clearer Understanding of the Scope of Waters of the United States Based on the U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

I am excited to announce that Jesse Richardson, Gatlin Squires, and I recently had a law review article published in the William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review. [Click here.] Our article, Turtles All the Way Down: A Clearer Understanding of the Scope of Waters of the United States Based on the U.S. Supreme Court Decisions, takes a deep dive into the history surrounding the “waters of the United States” definition, charting approaches from regulations to Supreme Court cases to the recent Obama and Trump Rules.  It was… Read More →

April 15, 2022 Weekly Round Up

It has been another busy couple of weeks in the agricultural law world.  Here are some of the stories in the news. *Important property tax deadlines approaching for Texas landowners.  Don’t forget there are important property tax deadlines this month for many Texas landowners receiving open space tax valuation. This includes filing an application for ag use, open space, or wildlife management valuation, changing land from open space to wildlife management use, and any new purchasers of land who intend to continue receiving open space valuation. [Read more here.]… Read More →

Federal Court Strikes Down Texas Drone Law

A Texas federal judge has stricken down the vast majority of a Texas drone law as unconstitutional.  [Read Order here.] Background The “Use of Unmanned Aircraft” statute was passed in 2013.  To read a prior blog post reviewing the statute in detail, click here.  This lawsuit breaks the challenged provisions into two categories: Surveillance Provisions and No-Fly Provisions. The Surveillance Provisions (Texas Government Code Sections 423.002, .003, .004, and .005) impose criminal and civil penalties for anyone using a drone to capture an image of an individual or… Read More →

US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Dismisses Beef Labeling Claim

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently dismissed a lawsuit filed by a New Mexico consumer and a New Mexico cattle rancher against beef packers claiming that the packers’ use of the “Product of the USA” label is misleading as not all products bearing such label originate from cattle born and raised in the United States.  [Read Opinion here.] Background This case involves two class action Complaints filed against packers Tyson Foods, Cargill Meat Solutions, JBS USA Food Company, and National Beef (“the Defendants”). … Read More →