August 8, 2014 Weekly Round Up

It has been another busy week for me.  On Monday I was in Dallas speaking at the noon meeting of the Dallas Agricultural Club, the oldest agricultural club in Texas (founded in 1925) on current hot topics in agricultural law.  It was a great group who asked wonderful questions.  On Wednesday I was able to speak during the Ag Business Management Section at the Texas A&M University Beef Cattle Short Course on pipeline easement negotiations.  This is my second year speaking at Short Course and once again I found the group to be very interested and knowledgeable, which really makes my job fun.  To those of you joining from these presentation, welcome!

Here are some ag law stories in the news this week.

* Edwards Aquifer Level Plummets.  The Edwards Aquifer has dropped 10 feet in the past two weeks.  Additional water restrictions (40% pumping restrictions) could go into effect as early as next week.  [Read article here.]

*  Missouri Voters Narrowly Pass Right to Farm Constitutional Amendment, but Recount Likely.  As you read about earlier this week, Missouri voters went to the polls on Tuesday to vote on whether to amend the state’s constitution to ensure the right to engage in farming and ranching practices.  When the dust settled, the amendment passed, 498,751 (50.127%) in favor to 496,223 (49.876%) opposed.  Given the close results, a recount is likely.  [Read article here.]

* Russia Issues Ban on Agricultural Products from US, EU.  Russia has announced that it will ban or prohibit agricultural imports from countries that have imposed sanctions on the country in light of the situation in Ukraine, including the United States and the European Union.  The exact scope and details of the bans are not yet clear.  [Read article here.]corn

*  CRS Explains “Waters of the United States” Proposed Rule.  The Congressional Research Service has published a report analyzing the EPA’s proposed modification to the definition of “waters of the United States” related to the Clean Water Act.  (If you missed my prior blog giving the background and context for this proposed rule, click here.)  The CRS report does a great job of comparing the existing rule and the new proposed rule and showing the differences in the two.  [Read report here.]

* Using GPS to Bring Property Law into the 21st Century?  Indiana attorney Todd Janzen wrote a blog this week advocating for changes to centuries old property law.  Specifically, he suggests that the law should forget the technical (and often confusing!) metes and bounds descriptions of property and, instead, use GPS technology similar to that used by farmers in order to write legal property descriptions.  Interesting idea!  [Read blog post here.]


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