September 29, 2017 Weekly Round Up

Hello to new followers from my tour of the San Antonio area last week.  I had presentations in Pearsall, San Antonio, and Floresville and really enjoyed those groups!  I also have done two online presentations recently, one for landowners in Rusk County and another for folks in Upshur County.  To all of you joining from those events, welcome!

It has been a busy week on the ag law front, particularly with the announcement that Syngenta has reached a settlement agreement with corn farmers in lawsuits across the US related to MIR-162 corn.  Here are some additional stories in the news this week.

* Texas Panhandle and South Plains concerned about fumonisin in corn crop.  Farmers in the High Plains are reporting the presence of a mycotoxin in some corn crops.  This fungus can cause major issues for farmers during and after harvest, including crop rejection at the elevator if certain levels are present.  Farmers should be aware of this issue and be on the look out in their fields.  They should also learn the proper steps to take in order to preserve potential crop insurance claims, and to review contracts to determine what quality standards may apply.  Texas Corn Producers issued this news release last week.

* Plaintiffs in Endangered Species Act case involving Utah prairie dog seek United States Supreme Court review.  We have previously discussed an interesting case in Utah where plaintiffs argue that the Utah prairie dog should not fall under the federal Endangered Species Act because it is not an interstate animal.  While plaintiffs were successful in this argument at the trial level [read prior blog post], the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reversed, finding that the ESA did apply [read prior blog post].  The plaintiffs are now seeking certiorari before the United States Supreme Court.  [Read article here.]

* Tenth Circuit says Wyoming trespass statute implicated First Amendment.  As Ashley Ellixson and I discussed in the most recent episode of the Ag Law in the Field Podcast, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has held that the First Amendment is applicable to a Wyoming statute that prohibits crossing private property to collect resource data.  The statute, which would prohibit a variety of acts such as photographing, videoing, sampling, or otherwise gathering data on water, soil, and animals, was challenged by several plaintiffs who claimed it violated their free speech rights.  The trial court dismissed the case, finding that the collection of data was not “speech” such that the First Amendment was implicated.  The Tenth Circuit reversed, holding this action was speech.  Thus, the case was remanded back to the trial court, which will now apply the legal analysis required for a First Amendment challenge.  [Read full opinion here.]

* Final Ranchers Leasing Workshop for 2017 will be October 19 in San Angelo.  The fourth and final Ranchers Leasing Workshop for 2017 will be held in San Angelo at the Tom Green 4-H Building on October 19.  At the three prior workshops, 100% of the 150+ participants said they would recommend this program to a friend.  It is free of charge and participants all receive a copy of the Ranchers Agricultural Leasing Handbook as well as a free lunch sponsored by Ag Workers Insurance.  Contact me at 806-677-5668 to RSVP by October 12.  [For more info, click here.]

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