We’ve made it to another Friday! Here are some of the interesting ag law stories in the news this week. Also, for those of you on Twitter, be sure to follow me @Tiff Dowell for more ag law news throughout the week!
* Oklahoma Supreme Court Allows Suits by Property Owners Against Oil and Gas Companies for Earthquakes. An Oklahoma property owner who claims her home was damaged due to an earthquake she claims was caused by a saltwater disposal well can pursue her legal claim against numerous oil and gas companies and other unnamed defendants. Initially, the trial court judge dismissed the suit, holding that this matter should be handled by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (the state entity that manages disposal well operations) rather than the court system. The Oklahoma Supreme Court reversed, finding that because the plaintiff seeks damages, rather than to modify disposal well rules, the courthouse is the proper venue for her case. Importantly, the Supreme Court offered no opinion on the merits of the case. [Read article here.]
* Which Farm Bill Programs Did Producers Select? Those of you who went through making ARC or PLC elections earlier this year may be interested to know what other folks signed up for. The USDA recently released data about elections made nationwide, broken down by crops. Here are a couple of charts, one that breaks it down by number of farms and the other by percentage of base acres. To see the full USDA data, click here. Please remember: Although you’ve already made your elections, you now have to go in and actually sign up for the programs with your local FSA office. Sign up is ongoing and the deadline is September 30.
* Article on Rural Texas Attorneys. The Texas Bar Journal published an interesting article this week on rural attorneys in the Lone Star State. The article profiles several small-town attorneys from across the state, each of whom discuss the challenges and benefits of practicing law in a rural area. [Read article here.]
* Estate Planning for Young Families. Andrew Rusniak, an attorney at McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC recently published an article encouraging young families to develop estate plans. The article does a good job of outlining considerations that should be undertaken and suggests certain documents be drafted. [Read article here.]
* Upcoming Webinar on Animal Agriculture and Federal Regulation. Paul Goeringer (University of Maryland) and Shannon Ferrell (Oklahoma State University) are teaming up again for a webinar on how certain federal laws, including RCRA and the Clean Air Act will impact animal agriculture. The FREE webinar is free and will be held at noon EST on August 6, 2015. For more info or to register, click here.