Hello and welcome to May! This week I had a bit of a break and was not on the road. My friend Jesse Richardson and I did a webinar called Water Wars (discussing several interstate water disputes before the US Supreme Court) for the National Agricultural Law Center. It was recorded and I’ll do a blog post soon sharing the link for you to listen if you missed it.
Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.
*USDA says GMO food labeling rule moving forward, but likely not complete by July deadline. Secretary Perdue said that although the USDA has been working on the required regulation for labeling bio-engineered food, it is unlikely to be completed before the July 29 deadline. Perdue says that the delay is due in part to waiting to hear back from the Office of Budget Management on the draft rule. According to at least one lobbyist, it will likely be the end of 2018 before the draft rule is published. [Read article here.]
*TX warns NM that new proposed groundwater permit could further violate Rio Grand Compact and increase damages in TX v. NM. NM Political Report says that Texas has sent a letter to NM State Engineer warning that a copper company’s permit to pump more than 1 billion gallons of water per year below the Elephant Butte Reservoir. Texas warns that this permit could further violate the Rio Grande Compact and increase damages sought by TX in the Supreme Court lawsuit between the two states. [Read article here.]
*Farmers sue their own attorneys in Syngenta lawsuits. In an interesting turn of events, three farmers have filed a proposed class action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and about 60,000 other corn farmers who were represented by Watts Guerra. The farmers, who signed up with Watts to represent them in litigation against Syngenta, claim they were tricked into a 40% contingency fee and were opted out of the nationwide class action lawsuit, which has a $1.51 billion settlement that has been preliminary approved. The Watts firm claims that the lawsuit is frivilous. [Read article here.]
* AR Supreme Court puts Clay County order on hold. We continue to follow the situation Arkansas where the AR Supreme Court has now prohibited a Clay County court order that would have allowed certain farmers to spray dicamba despite the state-wide ban. For now, it appears that all four county court orders that would allow spraying have been paused by the state’s highest court. [Read article here.]
Programs Next Week
Next week, I’ll have another five days in the office, which is a minor miracle! I will be doing one webinar for Extension Program in Montague County. If you are in the area, swing by to talk fence law and have a free lunch! You can get more info from Justin. To see all of my upcoming programs, click here.