Congratulations, we have made it to another Friday! Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.
* TCEQ Seeks Texas Supreme Court Review of Decision in Texas Farm Bureau v. TCEQ. You may remember from this prior blog post that the the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals recently sided with the Texas Farm Bureau and member farmers against the TCEQ in a case posing the question of whether the TCEQ can ignore priority and allow exemptions from priority calls for certain types of junior water rights users. This week, the TCEQ filed a Petition for Review, seeking that the Texas Supreme Court weigh in on this issue. [Read brief here.] This case raises important issues about the authority of the TCEQ to curtail or suspend water rights during a water shortage, such as a drought and is one that the agricultural industry should be closely following.
* Denton City Council Repeals Fracking Ban. On Wednesday, the Denton City Council voted to repeal the City’s widely-publicized fracking ban because it was rendered invalid under House Bill 40, prohibiting such bans in most cases. The Council explained that repealing the ordinance will save taxpayers ongoing court costs and legal fees, which had already mounted to nearly $220,000. [Read article here.]
* Farm Estate and Succession Planning Advice. My friend (and Aggie alumna), Cari Rincker, recently wrote a blog post discussing estate and succession planning for farmers and ranchers. She advises that a good starting point is to sit down and determine your goals in drafting an estate plan. Common goals for farm and ranch families often include: (1) having enough income through retirement years; (2) avoiding/reducing the estate tax; (3) passing the farm to the next generation; (4) treating children equally; and (5) giving a surviving spouse ownership. I can’t agree more that determining your goals and communicating them to your estate planning professionals is key to developing the right plan for your family. [Read article here.]
*Free Webinar on Farm Labor & I-9 Compliance on Monday. My friend Paul Goeringer, Ag Law Specialist at the University of Maryland, is sponsoring a series of webinars this year, one of which will cover laws surrounding farm labor and I-9 compliance in particular. The speaker will be the great Shannon Ferrell, Ag Law Professor at Oklahoma State University. For more information, click here. I will definitely be participating and hope to have a blog post up on this topic soon!