August 24, 2018 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  This week I traveled to Paducah on Tuesday to present on hunting leases at the Cottle County Wildlife Conference.  Welcome to those of you joining from that meeting.

Here are some of the ag law stories in the news.

* 2015 WOTUS rule now in effect in 26 states, including Texas.  The legal wrangling over the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 WOTUS rule continues.  As you may recall, the EPA previously suspended the implementation of the rule until 2020, giving the agency time to promulgate and publish a new definition. Last week, a South Carolina federal judge found that suspension violated the Administrative Procedures Act, and issued an order preventing the suspension.  Without this suspension, the 2015 WOTUS definition is currently in effect.  However, although there is no nationwide injunction in place at this time, for a number of states, there are federal court injunctions preventing the application of the 2015 rule and those injunctions were not affected by the South Carolina judge’s decision.  The states where injunctions are currently in place are:  AK, AL, AR, AZ, CO, ID, IN, FL, GA KS, KY, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NV, NM, SC, SD, UT, WI, WV, and WY.  Texas is not one of the states with an injunction, although a motion for a nationwide injunction is currently pending in federal court in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas. [Read article here.]

* Article discusses use of drones by farmers, encourages insurance coverage.  Delta Farm Press recently published an article discussing a survey done to look at the number of farmers utilizing drones in their operations.  Of the 269 respondents, 75% use drones on their farms.  The article also discusses the importance of making sure that for operations using drones, liability insurance that covers drone use is in place.  The article reports a drone liability endorsement is available, at least through some carriers.  The drone liability insurance would cover not only liability for property damage or physical injury, but also claims related to invasion of privacy by others.  [Read article here.]

Photo by Shannon Baker, Texas A&M Agrilfe Research

* Colorado and Kansas settle dispute over Republican River.  Colorado and Kansas have settled an interstate dispute over water in the Republican River Basin.  Colorado will pay $4  million to Kansas, which will be put toward conservation efforts in the basin. [Read article here.]

*Minnesota case offers reminder of the importance of careful succession planning when there are both on-farm and off-farm heirs.  Paul Goeringer wrote a blog post earlier this month highlighting a recent case from Minnesota.  In that case, the farm family had three children and put their farm into a revocable trust listing each of the three as equal beneficiaries.  Problems arose when the parents died and one child sought partition of the property.  One sister had been home working on the farm, the other two remained in town, and the courts struggled to determine how to best divide the property fairly among the three children.  [Read blog post here.]

* A reminder about what’s important on the family farm this harvest season.  I thought I’d share a little story about my two-year old son and his Grandad’s combine with you all today.  As harvest season gears up this fall, it might be good to keep in mind what is really important on our family operations.  [Read story here.]

Programs Next Week

Next week, I’ll be in Stephenville on Tuesday to talk on agricultural leases and landowner liability.  It should be a great program.  Click here for more information.

For a complete list of my upcoming presentations, click here.

 

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