Happy Friday and Happy April! It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me, with programs in Ft. Worth at the TSCRA Convention, Ranch Management University in College Station, online for a class at Mississippi State University, and the Lower Plains Crops Conference in Snyder. Welcome to those of you joining from each of these programs. We’re glad you’re here!
Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.
*Texas Senate passes eminent domain reform bill. Yesterday, the Texas Senate passed SB 421, sponsored by Lois Kolkhorst that would impose new requirements on private entities using the power of eminent domain to condemn property in Texas. The version that passed the senate with a 28-3 vote will add the following requirements: (1) When an initial written offer is made to a landowner, the company must include one of the following four documents, appraisal, a comparative market analysis, a broker price opinion, or a market study; (2) minimum required terms such as the maximum number of pipelines allowed, the size of the pipeline, the width of the easement, the location of the easement, and several other terms; and (3) for pipeline companies, a requirement that a meeting be held for all affected landowners for a project. The bill has now been handed over to the House for consideration. To read a copy of the bill, click here.
*Hemp removed from list of controlled substances in Texas, still not legal in Texas until legislative action taken. This week, the Texas Department of State Health Services removed hemp from the list of Schedule I drugs in the state. This does remove hemp from that list, which includes drugs such as heroine and cocaine, but it does not complete the process of making hemp legal to grow in the state. Before that happens, the Texas Legislature will have to act to modify statutes providing criminal penalties for hemp, and there will need to be state-level rules made related to hemp production as authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. [Read article here and TDA explanation of legality of hemp here.]
*Checklist for when a loved one dies. My friend and attorney, Cari Rincker, recently published a checklist on what to do if a loved one dies. Cari includes a number of important issues to consider that might easily be overlooked. [Read checklist here.]
*The family farm is sacred ground. I recently wrote a column about my family’s farm for DTN Progressive Farmer magazine. If you’re a family farm lover, you might enjoy. [Read column here.]
The next two weeks continue to be busy for me and I’ll be traveling across the state.
On Monday (April 8), I’ll be in Palestine for an evening Anderson County Extension program focused on two popular topics: eminent domain and solar leasing. Click here for more info.
On Tuesday (April 9), Dr. Kaase and I will be presenting our Ranchers Leasing Workshop in Nacogdoches. We’ve still got room for more attendees, so if you’re interested, click here to register or call 979-845-2604.
Thursday (April 11) is the Terry County Women in Ag Conference in Brownfield, one of my favorite events of the year. For more info, contact the Terry County Soil and Water Conservation District.
The following week, I’ll be in Dumas on Wednesday, April 16 to talk about landowner liability at the Six-County Beef Cattle Meeting. Click here for more info.
As always, you can see my complete list of scheduled programs here.