Happy Friday! We’ve had quite the cold snap come through the Texas Panhandle this week–when I was feeding on Wednesday morning, it was a brisk 36 degrees! Here’s wishing everyone a big of a warmer weekend.
Here are some of the ag law stories over the past couple of weeks.
*Court dismisses western cattle groups lawsuits against NWPR Rule. An Oregon federal court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, Washington Cattlemen’s Association and New Mexico Cattle Growers Association challenging the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, the Trump Administrations new definition of “waters of the United States” with regard to the Clean Water Act. In particular, the plaintiff groups believed that the NWPR definition, despite being narrower than the prior WOTUS definition, was too broadly written. The judge dismissed the case without prejudice for lack of standing, finding a lack of evidence that the members of the plaintiff groups were affected by the NWPR definition. Dismissal without prejudice will allow the parties to re-file with additional detail to show sufficient evidence of standing should they wish to do so. [Read article here.]
*NM court dismisses lawsuits against beef packers. A New Mexico federal court has dismissed a pair of lawsuits filed against the “Big 4” beef packers, Tyson Foods, JBS USDA, Cargill, and NBP. The plaintiffs have appealed this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The lawsuits, one filed by a producer and one by a consumer, challenged the use of the “Product of the USA” label, arguing that it misleads consumers because it is accepted even if the animal was raised and harvested in another country. The federal district judge granted the motion to dismiss, finding that the federal labeling law and approval by the USDA of these label supersedes state laws related to consumer protection. The dismissal in this case was made with prejudice, meaning they may not be refiled unless overturned on appeal. [Read article here.]
*Good advice for property owners facing eminent domain. My friend and Texas eminent domain attorney, Luke Ellis, recently wrote an article offering great advice to landowners potentially facing condemnation. While the article specifically focuses on the TxDOT 620 expansion near Austin, he offers tips applicable to landowners facing eminent domain in any context. [Read article here.]
*Bloomberg article on Right to Farm case seeking SCOTUS review. There is an interesting Bloomberg News article discussing Himsel v. Himsel, the Indiana nuisance case that was dismissed pursuant to the state’s Right to Farm Act and in which the plaintiffs are now seeking review before the United States Supreme Court. [Read article here.]
*Hemp fiber processing facility to be built in Wichita Falls, TX. Panda Biotech has announced it intends to build the “largest and most state-of-the-art hemp processing center in the United States” in Wichita Falls, Texas. The Panda Texas Plains Hemp Gin will be built on the grounds of the former General Motors Delphi assembly plant. They plan to have at least one processing line open by the first quarter of 2021. [Read article here.]
*TAMU Natural Resources Institute publishes maps detailing Texas agriculture. The NRI has put out some great maps illustrating the different agricultural uses of land across the state of Texas. [View maps here.]
Next week is a busy one for me!
On Tuesday, I will be presenting with my friends Jim Bradbury and Amber Miller offering a Legal Update as part of the TSCRA Virtual Convention. Additionally, I previously recorded an on demand session–which registrants can watch at any time they choose–on landowner liability. For more info about the TSCRA Convention, click here.
On Wednesday at noon, I’ll be live on the Capital Farm Credit Facebook page to chat about some of the key laws Texas landowners need to know. I’m planning on trying to debunk some of the common ag law misconceptions, so that should be fun! Just go to the Capital Farm Credit Facebook page at noon to watch live and ask questions, or you can always tune in after the fact and watch the recorded video that they will post on their page.
On Friday, I’ll be doing an online presentation as part of the Tri-County Landowner Series hosted by Hood, Johnson, and Somervell Counties. For more information or to register, click here.
Don’t forget we have our Online Ranchers Leasing Workshop available to you 24 hours a day–you can register and take this 3-hour course on grazing, hunting, and livestock leases plus landowner liability protection at your own pace from the comfort of your couch! Click here for more info.
As always, be sure to check out my complete list of upcoming presentations here.