June 12, 2015 Weekly Round Up

This week I was back on the road for two presentations.  On Monday evening, I spoke on groundwater rights and ownership in Grayson County.  On Tuesday morning, I discussed important laws for agricultural producers to be aware of in Navarro County.  Both crowds were great and made the programs a lot of fun for me!  Thanks for County Extension Agents Chuck Jones and Page Bishop for organizing.  Welcome to the new blog readers from these programs!

*  Free Immigration and Farm Labor Webinar.  The University of Maryland is sponsoring a webinar focused on educating ag producers about their obligations to verify the legal status of employees they hire, including the I-9 process.  The webinar will be presented by Shannon Ferrell, my counterpart at Oklahoma State University.  If you’ve ever heard Shannon speak, you know that you’re in for a treat!  The free webinar will be June 22, 2015 from 11-12 CST.  To register of find more information, click here.

*  WOTUS Rule Update.  Many of you have asked questions recently regarding what is going to happen with the EPA’s now-final “waters of the United States” rule.  The rule should be published in the Federal Register any day.  Sixty days after that, it will become effective.  Numerous groups have already drafted lawsuits that will be filed challenging the scope of the new rule.  In the meantime, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a bill this week that would repeal the final rule, provide guidelines to the EPA for re-formulating a rule, and require the EPA to consider input from stakeholders.  The bill will now be on the floor of the Senate.  [Read article here.]

*  New Texas Law Would Protect Groundwater Conservation District Board Members from Personal Suit.  Earlier this year, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3163, which provides immunity for GCD Board members from lawsuits for official votes and official actions.  The Texas Statesman published an interesting article this week discussing the stress on GCD board members and why this bill is needed.  [Read article here.]  The bill is currently on Governor Abbott’s desk awaiting signature.

* Young Indiana Farmers Battle for Livelihood.  Farm Progress recently published a four-part story of the Broshears family from Seymour, Indiana.  These  young farmers planned to build a swine finishing barn on her parents existing operation.  After working with the Indiana Farm Bureau to create fact sheets, contacting all nearby neighbors, and obtaining required permits, they thought their dream was off and running.  Unfortunately, what came next was protracted and expensive litigation when several neighbors filed suit against the Broshears and the county zoning board who approved their permit in order to keep this swine operation from ever being built.  [Read article here.]

pig becky

* Seven Deadly Sins of Estate Planning.  Earlier this year, I cam across an article discussing estate planning in the context of the seven deadly sins:  wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.  The article does a great job of raising practical points that should be considered when preparing an estate plan.  [Read article here.]

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