Happy May Day to all! I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.
Here are some of the biggest ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks.
*Navigable Waters Protection Rule is published. The WOTUS saga continues. The Trump administration’s definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, newly named “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” was published in the Federal Register on April 21. I’ll have a blog post discussing the details soon, but for now if you want to read the full rule, click here. Lawsuits challenging the rule have already been filed, including one suit by the New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association challenging specific provisions in the new rule as being too broad. [Read article here.] Our friends at the National Ag Law Center published a great timeline offering some interesting perspective on the various definitions of WOTUS over the years.
*Healthcare decision making documents. The Hallock & Hallock Law Firm in Utah recently published a great article about healthcare decision making documents that people should consider and make it a priority to have executed. Decisions related to end-of-life care are some of the most difficult that a family can make, so drafting these documents and having these conversations with your family are truly a gift to your loved ones. [Read article here.] For more info on this topic, click here to listen to a podcast I recorded with Andrew Crocker.
* Syngenta issues first round of settlement checks. My friend and Iowa attorney, Pat Dillon, wrote a blog post discussing the current status of the Syngenta corn litigation settlement and answering common questions corn farmers have around the country about the check (or lack thereof…) in their mailbox. [Read blog post here.]
*President Trump issues Executive Order related to meat and poultry processors. I’ve seen a lot of conflicting information in the news with regard to the Executive Order issued by President Trump this week. I thought it might be helpful to link to the text of the Executive Order and allow readers to review for themselves. [Click here for Executive Order.]
*Temporary changes to H-2A visa program in light of COVID-19. The Department of Homeland Security recently published a temporary rule titled the “Temporary Changes to Requirements Affecting H-2A Nonimmigrants Due to the COVID-19 National Emergency.” The rule will allow employers who complete the required paperwork to hire H-2A employees already in the United States and will extend the 3 year limit on the employees’ period of stay. [Read rule here.]
*Please complete Texas Custom Rates Survey. The Agricultural Economics Department at Texas A&M is currently conducting a survey related to rates paid for various agricultural practices. You will see questions on everything from fence building to harvesting, hay hauling to sheep shearing. You can respond only to those questions that are applicable to your operation. The results of these surveys are compiled and published, generating a very useful tool for Texas landowners and ag producers. The deadline to complete the survey is May 17. [Click here for survey.]
I have a couple of online programs coming up in the next couple of weeks.
I’ll be talking about landowner liability protections a couple of times. First, on May 6 at 2:00pm, I’ll be doing a webinar for TSCRA. For more info, click here. On May 13 at 11:00am, I’ll be part of a panel discussion via webinar hosted by the South Texans for Property Rights.
On May 14, I’ve got two programs scheduled. At 10:00 am, I’ll be talking basic estate planning on a webinar hosted by Van Zandt County Extension. For more info or to register, click here. Then, at 12 noon, I’ll shift gears and talk eminent domain on a webinar hosted by Montague County Extension. For more info, click here.
Lastly, I want you to know that we have re-scheduled dates for our Ranchers Leasing Workshops and our Owning Your Piece of Texas Workshops this fall. To see those dates, find more information, or to register, click here. If those Ranchers Leasing Workshop dates do not work for you, remember our Online Ranchers Leasing Workshop that is available 24/7 for you to take at your own pace.
We are excited to also offer an Online Owning Your Piece of Texas course. This 8.5 hour class is on demand, allowing you to watch whenever and wherever you would like. The online course, taught by Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, will cover every topic included in the Owning Your Piece of Texas handbook. For more information or to register, click here.