Debt Relief for Certain Farmers and Ranchers

Dr. Bart Fischer and I recently co-authored an article for Southern Ag Today looking at the current legal status of Section 1005 of the American Rescue Plan of 2021.  This provision required the USDA to make payments to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers  “up to 120% of outstanding indebtedness” of eligible producers for both direct and guaranteed loans administered by USDA agencies.  Numerous lawsuits were filed around the country. To find out more about the current status of Section 1005, click here to read our article.

Texas Supreme Court Upholds Law Prohibiting Processing & Manufacturing of Smokable Hemp in Texas

The Texas Supreme Court recently found that the Texas Constitution does not protect a person’s right to process and manufacture smokable hemp in Texas.  [Read Opinion here.] Background The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act and defined it as an agricultural product. The bill allowed each state to determine whether hemp would be allowed and how it would be regulated within its own borders. States electing to create a hemp-regulation plan were required to submit it to the USDA for approval.  The Texas… Read More →

August 5, 2022 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday and Happy August!  We’re back with another Ag Law Weekly Round Up. Earlier this week, I was able to travel to California with my kids and my aunt to accept the Distinguished Extension Program Award (less than 10 years) from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.  I am so honored to have received this award, and my children were quite excited to swim in the Pacific Ocean and visit Disneyland. With that, here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. *US… Read More →

Case Offers Important Reminder that Real Estate Contracts Must Be in Writing

A recent Ft. Worth Court of Appeals case, In the Estate of Terry Lynn Banta, Deceased, offers an important reminder of why it is critical to have any contracts regarding the purchase of real estate in writing.  [Read Opinion here.] Statute of Frauds This case revolves around the “statute of frauds.” Generally speaking, a verbal contract is enforceable under Texas law.  There are certain types of contracts, however, that are required to be in writing to be legally enforceable pursuant to the statute of frauds.  One such contract for which… Read More →

Court of Appeals Reverses $60 Million Punitive Damage Award for Peach Farmer in Dicamba Trial

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently vacated a $60 million punitive damage verdict in a dicamba lawsuit filed by a Missouri peach farmer. Background Dicamba is a herbicide product that kills broadleaf weeds.  Traditional dicamba formulations also kill growing crops, and thus, dicamba was not used as an over-the-top herbicide during the growing season.  That changed, however, when Monsanto developed dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton seeds.  The seeds, Xtend, were released in 2015.  However, at that time, there was no corresponding dicamba herbicide labeled… Read More →

July 22, 2022 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. * Court overturns punitive damage award in case involving peach farm and dicamba drift.  The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has overturned a $60 million punitive damage award in a case involving dicamba drift damage to a Missouri peach farm.  The court affirmed the remainder of the case, but has ordered a new trial on the sole issue of punitive damages.  I’ll have a blog post… Read More →

Direct Beef Sales Handbook Available!

We’re excited to unveil our newest handbook, “Where’s the Beef? Legal and Economic Considerations for Direct Beef Sales.” Whether you are just considering adding direct beef sales to your operation or you’ve been involved in selling beef directly to the consumer for years, this handbook is for you!  We walk through a number of the legal and economic issues related to selling beef in this manner including necessary permits, selecting a slaughter facility, budgeting, calculating breakeven costs, and more.  We also share insights from numerous interviews with producers… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court: Texas Central Has Eminent Domain Power for High Speed Rail

In a case we’ve been closely following, Miles v. Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc., the Texas Supreme Court held that Texas Central does have the right to exercise eminent domain power in building the high speed rail from Dallas to Houston. Background This case revolves around the proposed high-speed electric-powered passenger train that would run between Dallas and Houston. In 2012, TXHS Railroad, Inc. was formed and in 2015, the company changed its name to Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc. (“Texas Central”) with a purpose to “plan,… Read More →

July 8, 2022 Weekly Round Up

We’ve made it to July!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. *Texas Supreme Court rules Texas Central Railroad has eminent domain authority for high speed rail project.  In a 6-3 ruling, the Texas Supreme Court has found that Texas Central Railroad does have eminent domain authority for its high speed rail project from Dallas to Houston. [Find opinions here.]  I’ll have a full blog post breaking down this decision next week.  In the next month, I’ll also… Read More →

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