May 29, 2015 Weekly Round Up

This week I spent a couple of days in Lubbock at the 9th Annual John Huffaker Agricultural Law Course, held on campus at the Texas Tech School of Law.  As always, it was a fantastic conference.  Kudos to organizers David Waggoner and Trace Blair for their hard work.  All ag attorneys should try to attend next year!  Stay tuned for some blog updates on what we discussed coming soon.

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

*  EPA Releases Final WOTUS Rule.  The EPA has, after allegedly considering public comment on their proposed rule, published their final “waters of the United States” rule this week.  Unfortunately, yet not surprisingly, the final rule is not drastically different than the proposed rule that caused the agricultural industry so much heartburn.  Remember, this rule is extremely important because it defines the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.  You can read the final rule here.  There are many comments on the proposed rule, including one from the ranking member on the US House Ag Committee, which you can find here.  To further add to the drama, the US House of Representatives recently passed a bill to stop the EPA’s rule and essentially send the agency back to the drawing board.  [Read article here.]

*NYT Article Blames Ag for California Drought.  The New York Times has joined in the popular activity of attacking California agriculture in the midst of the state’s drought.  Rather than recognizing the hard work of the California agricultural industry to feed millions across the world, the article instead lists numerous California crops as “water guzzlers” and suggests that production should cease.  I am not sure what better use the authors believe water can be put to than producing food for the world.  [Read article here.]

*  10 Questions to Ask Before Adding the Next Generation to the Farm.  Delta Farm Press ran an article discussing an issue important to any family-owned business, especially agriculture:  transitioning ownership from one generation to the next.  The article offers 10 simple questions to consider before making this transition.  [Read article here.]

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*  Avoid Estate Planning “Gotchas.”  Wealth Management published a great article discussing the importance of having an estate plan and offering tips for getting one in order.  I enjoyed the article and thought that many of the suggestions offered were excellent.  [Read article here.]

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