Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all! And welcome to those of you joining from the Fannin County Ag Law Program we had last week in Bonham. It was a great turn out and a wonderful audience.
Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.
*Travis County Court issues Temporary Restraining Order in case over feral hog poison. The issue of feral hogs is one that has caused problems across Texas. One product on the market for controlling feral hogs is warfarin-based Kaput. The EPA has already approved the product for general application, meaning that anyone could purchase the product for use. In February, the Texas Department of Agriculture (“TDA”) issued an emergency ruling that would allow the use of Kaput in order to kill feral hogs. The TDA’s rule would allow only limited use application, meaning anyone applying the poison would be required to meet certain requirements. Wild Boar Meats, LLC filed a Complaint in Travis County Court seeking an Temporary Restraining Order, preventing the TDA’s emergency rule from going into effect. [Read Complaint here.] The On March 2, the Travis County District Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order prohibiting the TDA from “implementing, communicating, and enforcing” the emergency rule until further order of the Court. Specifically, the court found that because there was no “imminent peril to public health, safety or welfare” and because TDA “did not follow the requirements of the Texas Administrative Procedure Act,” which makes the rule invalid. This order remains in place until the next hearing is held on March 30, 2017.[Read TRO here].
*Texas residents receive legal notices of potential condemnation for border wall. Some Texas landowners along the Texas border are receiving letters informing them that their property is being eyed for the border wall that has been planned by President Trump. Of course, the government would have to pay “just compensation” for the property. If the plans for the wall move forward, these landowners will have to determine whether or not to fight the government’s offers of compensation for their land. The Texas Observer published an article outlining one family’s story and showing a sample of the letter they received. [Read article here.]
*Overview of liens for ag chemical & seed providers. My friend Amber Miller, an attorney in Lubbock at Crenshaw Dupree & Milam, recently published an article providing an overview of the statutory liens available to suppliers of ag chemicals and seeds. Given the current state of the agriculture economy, this may become a major issue for any of you who sell ag chemicals or seeds. And, even if you are a purchaser and not a seller, being aware of the legal options available to your supplier in the event that a bill is left outstanding is important. [Read article here.]
*”Pink Slime” lawsuit will go to jury. In South Dakota, a judge has rejected a motion for summary judgment in a case pitting Beef Products Inc. against ABC News. BPI lodged claims of defamation against ABC, Diane Sawyer, and journalist Jim Avila after a story ran discussing “lean, finely textured beef,” which ABC referred to as “pink slime.” The defendants argue their report was protected by the First Amendment. Although the court did dismiss claims against news anchor Diane Sawyer, it found that a jury could find that ABC News and journalist Jim Avila acted recklessly in publishing their story. Now, the case will go before a jury for consideration. [Read article here.]
* Everyone–even if you are single and childless–needs a will. The New York Times published an article written by a single, childless reporter about the importance of having a will, regardless of one’s season of life. He walks through his own thought process behind deciding it was time to get a will written up, including the ever-popular “to hire a lawyer or to rely on Google” issue. (You can probably guess where I come down on that one.) [Read article here.]