June 22, 2018 Weekly Round Up

We’ve made it to another Friday!  I spent this week in the office getting caught up on emails, phone calls, and writing.  There will be some really interesting blog posts coming over the next couple of months, so be sure you’ve signed up to receive them via email! Here are some ag law stories in the news this week. * Environmental groups petition US Fish and Wildlife Service to list dunes sagebrush lizard under Endangered Species Act.  The Center for Biological Diversity and the Defenders of Wildlife have… Read More →

Does Grazing Cattle for Years Allow Claim of Adverse Possession?

A recent case from the Waco Court of Appeals deals with a question about which I am often asked:  If a fence is built off the property line but has been there for decades and the non-title holding owner grazes the property as his own, does the property ownership change?  The court’s opinion offers a great analysis of the various arguments landowners may make in this type of case and how such arguments are analyzed. Background In 2014, the Parkers purchased two pieces of property from Dick Taylor:… Read More →

June 15, 2018 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  I was able to have some time in the office this week and have scheduled several great blog posts over the coming months.  Be sure you subscribe so you don’t miss them!  Last night, I was able to do a presentation via internet for landowner in Brazoria County.  Welcome to those of you joining from that meeting. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week: *Article highlights dispute among neighbors on San Saba.  Naveena Sadasivam has written another really interesting article… Read More →

Recent Right to Farm Decisions Around the US

There have been several court decisions lately across the country related to states’ Right to Farm statutes.  These cases provide good examples of the types of claims that can arise against a farm operation and also illustrate the differences between each state’s Right to Farm Act. Pennsylvania The Pennsylvania Right-to-Farm Act was at issue in Burlingame v. Dagostin, 2018 WL 1530690. Since 1955, the Dagostin family has operated a farm in Luzerne County.  Up until 1990, it was a dairy, but then was switched to a beef farm.  In… Read More →

June 8, 2018 Weekly Round Up

Welcome to June!  I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather and sure pray we get some rain soon here in the Texas Panhandle.  Last week, I traveled to Quanah to do a presentation on hunting leases at an Extension Wildlife Conference.  Welcome to those joining from that event. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. * NM State Land Commissioner alleges that Texas landowners are stealing NM water and selling it back across the border for fracking.  The Texas Tribune published… Read More →

The Status of Legal Claims Against Cliven Bundy

Recently, Progressive Cattleman Magazine asked if I would write a short article outlining the status of legal claims involving Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy.  Because there were a number of civil and criminal lawsuits at issue, folks had several questions about exactly what was going on.  What charges were dismissed?  Why was he in jail?  Is he still allowed to graze his cattle on federal land? To read my article in the April issue of Progressive Cattleman, click here.  

When Grandma’s Will Causes a Family Feud

A recent case from the Texas Supreme Court offers a reminder about how disputes can arise from language used in a will when not carefully reviewed by an attorney.  [Read full opinion here.] Background Vada Allen owned a 316 acre ranch in Robertson County.  Upon her death, she was survived by her son, Bobby, and three grandchildren, Annette, Allison, and Stanley.  Her will included the following provision: Now Bobby, I leave the rest to you, everything, certificates of deposit, land, cattle, and machinery, Understand that the land is… Read More →

May 25, 2018 Ag Law Round Up

Good morning from sunny Lubbock, Texas!  I am here for the 12th Annual John Huffaker Ag Law Course, a legal education symposium for attorneys.  I had the privilege of discussing farm and ranch leases yesterday and have really enjoyed the other fantastic speakers on the program. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news over the last couple of weeks: *New Mexico files counterclaims against Texas and United States in water law suit.  The New Mexico Attorney General has filed the State’s Answer to the… Read More →

Water Wars in the US Supreme Court: Why Should Agriculture Care?

I recently did a webinar with my friend and WVU law professor, Jesse Richardson, talking about the various interstate lawsuits at the US Supreme Court dealing with water. We provided an overview of equitable apportionment, walked through four cases–Mississippi v. Tennessee, Florida v. Georgia, Montana v. Wyoming, and Texas v. New Mexico–and then drew some conclusions based on each of these cases, including why agriculture is at the center of each of them. The webinar was recorded, and can be viewed by clicking here.

$50 Million Nuisance Verdict in NC Hog Farm Case

In recent weeks, the big buzz in agricultural law was a verdict in North Carolina, finding a Smithfield Foods subsidiary liable for nuisance and awarding $50 million in damages to neighboring landowners.  Today, we will take a look at that case, discuss why the Right to Farm statute did not apply, and consider how this might have played on in Texas. Background Smithfield Foods and subsidiary Murphy Brown, LLC contracts with a number of hog farmers in North Carolina to raise pigs.  Each farm raises the animals, but… Read More →