This week I traveled to Plainview for the Hale/Swisher County Crops Conference. Welcome to those of you joining from that presentation. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.
* New I-9 Form required to be used by employers. The Department of Labor has updated the I-9 Form. No major modifications were made, but employers should be aware of and utilize the new form as of January 22, 2017. For more background on the I-9 requirements, click here to read a fact sheet I previously prepared. To find the current I-9 form and instructions, click here.
* Who owns Texas water? Robert Fears recently interviewed me for an article he was writing discussing water ownership and regulation in Texas. [Read article here.]
* First “ag data” case filed in Oklahoma. Todd Janzen–one of the leading experts in ag data–published a blog post on the first ag data case filed between poultry producers and a group of poultry companies including Tyson, Perdue, and others claiming that they use farmer level data collected by Agri Stats in order to suppress grower compensation. [Read full Complaint here.] Essentially, they claim that Agri Stats aggregation of data, which is provided to the defendants, is not anonymous and allows defendants to determine a great deal of information, including compensation paid to specific growers. This could well be the first case in the US to look at issues of ag data ownership and usage. [Read Todd’s post here.]
* NM Attorney General open to negotiating a settlement in Texas v. NM water lawsuit. New Mexico Attorney General, Hector Balderas, has indicated he is open to negotiating a settlement with Texas in the ongoing Supreme Court lawsuit between the states over allocation of water in the Rio Grande River. [Read article here.]
* 11th Annual John Huffaker Agricultural Law Course set. Listen up lawyers, if you’re interested in agriculture, water law, oil and gas law, real estate law, or just being around the best group of attorneys I know, you need to plan to be in Lubbock May 25 and 26 for this conference. This will be my 3rd year attending and I cannot speak highly enough of this meeting. Get signed up today by clicking here.