Welcome to August! I’m not sure how the summer has flown by, but here we are. These are a few of the ag law stories in the news this week.
*Second round of Market Facilitation Program payment rates announced. Last week, the USDA announced payments for round 2 of the Market Facilitation Program. These payments are designed to provide assistance to farmers of commodities impacted by “unjustified foreign retaliatory tariffs, resulting in the loss of traditional export markets.” Payment rates have been set per county for qualifying crops. To learn more, click here to read a summary and see Texas county rates put together by our economist, Dr. Justin Benavidez.
*Kinder Morgan sues City of Kyle over pipeline ordinance. The litigation surrounding the Permian Highway pipeline continues. Kinder Morgan, the company building the line, has filed suit against the City of Kyle, challenging an ordinance passed by the city requiring all natural gas pipelines over 30″ in diameter to obtain a city permit. Further, the ordinance requires that pipelines be buried at least 13′ underground, adhere to certain setback distances from schools, hospitals and other sensitive facilities, and requires payment of certain fees. Kinder Morgan is seeking an injunction from the court suspending the ordinance pending litigation. Keep in mind, the City of Kyle was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Texas Railroad Commission challenging this project, which was dismissed by the trial court. [Read article here.]
*Lawsuit to be filed seeking Endangered Species Act listing for Dunes Sagebrush Lizard. Numerous conservation groups filed a notice of intent to sue the US Fish and Wildlife Service seeking a decision on their 2018 petition to list the Dunes Sagrbrush Lizard under the Endangered Species Act. This would impact both Texas and New Mexico. [Read Notice here.]
*NM court dismisses San Augustin lawsuit regarding groundwater pumping permit. An update to an ongoing water battle we’ve been following for years in New Mexico. You may recall that the San Augustin Plains Ranch has repeatedly sought a permit from the NM State Engineer to pump water from rural New Mexico and sell it to larger cities. With regard to the most recent permit application, just this week a State Court Judge dismissed the case. The Ranch’s project manager said he was unsure if they plan to appeal the dismissal or file a new permit. [Read article here.]
*Farmers need a plan for responding if Immigration & Customs Enforcement shows up on the farm. Delta Farm Press recently wrote a great article summarizing advice from immigration attorney Brandon Davis about having a plan in the event that ICE comes to your farm. Knowing what questions to ask, steps to take, and what your rights are is extremely important. [Read article here.]
*Stop and Ride the Horses. I’ve mentioned before that I’m one of the writers for Progressive Farmer’s Our Rural Roots column. This month, I shared a little story from home that resulted in a pretty great day for our family. To read my article, click here.
Programs Next Week
Next week, you’ll find me in College Station for Beef Cattle Short Course. This is a wonderful event and I’m always so excited and honored to be included as a speaker. For more information, click here. For those of you attending, be sure to come see me on Tuesday afternoon in the Landowner Rights session and on Wednesday Morning for Top Ag Laws for Ranchers. I’ll be excited to see you there!