It’s been a hot one around here this week! Hope you all have a safe, cool weekend. Here are some of the agricultural law stories in the news this week.
* Texas Lawmaker Asks for Decision in Eminent Domain Authority for High Speed Rail. State Representative Byron Cook is seeking an opinion from the Texas Attorney General as to whether Texas Central Partners, a private company planning a high speed train project from Dallas to Houston has eminent domain power for this endeavor. In 2015, a Senate bill that would have prohibited the use of eminent domain for this project failed. Under Texas law, railroad companies generally have eminent domain power, but opponents argue that this project to should qualify as a railroad company under the statute. [Read article here.]
* North Dakota Upholds Corporate Farming Ban. There has been lots of news recently in North Dakota regarding a law that has been on the books since 1932 prohibiting non family corporate ownership of farms or ranches in North Dakota. First, last year, the ND Legislature passed a bill to modify this rule by allowing nonfamily corporate ownership for dairy operations of over 50 cows and swine operations of more than 500 hogs. Citizens gathered the necessary signatures to bring this law to a ballot referendum. [Read article here.] Last week, the New York Times did an article on this issue prior to the vote. [Read article here.] On Tuesday, North Dakota voters took to the polls and voted overwhelmingly to uphold the state’s bank on “nonfamily corporate ownership of farms” in North Dakota. North Dakota is one of 9 states that has this type of rule prohibiting ownership of farms by corporate entities. Meanwhile, a federal court lawsuit was filed earlier this month challenging the validity on the law banning corporate ownership. [Read complaint here.]
* Big Data Publication. The International Food and Agribusiness Management Association just released its most recent special issue of its magazine, focusing on the value of big data in agriculture. There are a number of articles on this topic, including one co-authored by my friend, Terry Griffin, discussing the role of wireless broadband and big data in agriculture, and one focusing on legal issues and property right. [View publication here.]
*Free solar leasing webinar. Those of you interested in solar leasing need to plan on tuning in to a free webinar hosted by the University of Maryland featuring my friend, Shannon Ferrell, of Oklahoma State University. Dr. Ferrell is the best of the best when it comes to ag law presentations! To register, click here.