February 8, 2019 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  I want to say a quick welcome to those of you who I met last week in East Texas when I spoke in Quitman, Hallsville and Kilgore.  We’re excited to have you here.

Here are a few of the ag law stories in the news over the last couple of weeks.

*MFP Program deadline sign up extended through February 14.  The deadline to signup for the Market Facilitation Program, frequently referred to as the tariff payment, at the FSA Office has been extended through February 14.  Then, producers will have until May 1, 2019 to report their production as required to receive payment under the program.  For more info about producer eligibility for this program, click here.

* “Will Parents’ Long-Term Care Costs Sink the Farm?” A recent article from Ruder Ware in Wisconsin highlights a common family situation and concern for farmers and ranchers: will the cost of long-term care for the founding farm generation force the inheriting generation to sell the farm to pay medicare estate recovery costs?  This article does a great job of laying out the issue and analyzing various alternatives.  There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem, but the one tip that applies to everyone is that planning should start well before these costs become an issue. [Read article here.]

Photo by Bec Ritchie on Unsplash

*Attorney offers seven tips for livestock facilities to avoid a nuisance lawsuit.  Iowa-based attorney, Eldon McAfee, frequently defends agricultural operations facing nuisance lawsuits filed by neighbors.  He recently offered 7 tips for operations in order to avoid this type of lawsuit.  Given the number of nuisance suits recently filed against ag operations in North Carolina and Iowa, this info is both timely and important.  [Read article here.]

*Judge denies summary judgment motion filed by Texas Central regarding the high speed rail.  On January 28, a state-level trial court judge issued a ruling denying a motion to consolidate three pending lawsuits related to the rights of Texas Central to use eminent domain power to condemn land to build the high speed rail project.  Importantly, the denial of summary judgment does not mean the court ruled on the merits of the claim, instead, it means that the case may proceed to trial.  At that point, a decision on whether Texas Central qualifies as a railroad company such that it has eminent domain power here in Texas. [Read article here.]

*News story discusses “epidemic” of suicide among farmers.  KTAB, a news station in Abilene, recently ran a news story looking at the high number of suicides among US farmers.  The 2018 Farm Bill included funding for mental health programs for those involved in agriculture.  As my friend Stephanie Bradley Fryer noted in this story, farmers facing difficult circumstances should always reach out to attorneys, accountants, and lenders to determine what additional options might be available in even the most difficult financial situations.  [Read and view story here.]

Upcoming Programs

Next week, I’ll be in Vega speaking at the Oldham County Mini Ag Day about hot topics in agricultural law.  The following week, I’ll be in Haskell the evening of February 18 for a Central Texas Farm Credit Buyer Appreciation Dinner.  For more info on these meetings, and to see my program schedule for the year, click here.

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