May 7, 2021 Weekly Round Up

Happy May!  Here are a few of the ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks.

Photo by Laura McKenzie, Texas A&M Marketing and Communications


*Three laws every rural landowner in Texas should know.  I recently chatted with Texas Standard and offered three key laws I think that every rural landowner should know.  See what made my list here.

*President Biden mentions exception for farms in proposal to increase capital gains taxes and do away with stepped up basis.  There have been numerous articles discussing President Biden’s proposal to increase the capital gains tax rate and to do away with the step up in basis.  The White House has said this proposal will not affect family farms or small family businesses.  The proposal includes a provision that the first $1 million/ person in gains would not be taxed.  [Read USDA Fact Sheet here.] Thirteen democrats, mostly members of the House Agriculture Committee, have sent a letter to House leadership seeking to ensure a full exemption from the cancellation of the step up in basis for family farms and family businesses.  The letter included the following language: “The repeal of stepped-up basis for capital gains and immediate taxation could especially hurt family farms, some of which have been in families for generations; therefore, we strongly urge you to provide full exemptions for these family farms and small businesses that are critical to our communities.” [Read articles here, here, & here.]

*US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Orders EPA to either ban Chlorpyrifos or set food residue tolerance in the next 60 days.  The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion last week in litigation challenging the EPA’s actions related to the insecticide chlorpyrifos.  “The court remands this matter to the EPA with instructions to publish a legally sufficient final response to the 2007 petition within 60 days of the issuance of the mandate. That response must be a final regulation that either revokes all chlorpyrifos tolerances or modifies chlorpyrifos tolerances and makes the requisite safety findings based on aggregate exposure, including with respect to infants and children,” said the court.  Further complicating the issue is the fact that Corteva, the registrant and largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, has announced it will be discontinuing production of the product due to lack of demand.  [Read opinion here and article here.]

*Lawsuits filed against USDA challenging aid to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.  In the past couple of weeks, lawsuits have been filed against the USDA challenging the constitutionality of provisions in the American Rescue Plan of 2021 that provide benefits and loan forgiveness to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. [Read article about plan here.]  Sid Miller, in his personal capacity, filed a class action complaint in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas.  Another lawsuit was filed in Wisconsin federal court by five white farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, and South Dakota, all of whom have loans with or backed by the USDA.   [Read article here.]

*Tips for keeping your farm kids safe.  You guys know I’m a farm mom, so the topic of kiddos and farm safety is one that’s important to me.  Farm Progress wrote an article sharing five safety strategies.  [Read article here.]

*May flowers.  I wrote an article for Progressive Farmer’s Our Rural Roots column this month talking about how much we enjoy the May wildflowers at our place, and how much fun we had with the plant ID book gifted to my kiddos by Dr. Morgan Treadwell.  It might inspire you to go do some flower investigation of your own!  [Read article here.]


Upcoming Programs 

My calendar is full for the next couple of weeks.  Next week, I’ll be on the road with Texas Corn Producers doing a free estate planning program called Successful Succession in McKinney on May 11 and Belton on May 12.  For more info, click here.   On Friday, May 14, I’ll be discussing landowner liability as part of the Matagorda County Nature Tourism and Birding Program. On May 17, I’ll be speaking for Republic Title on the topic of landowner liability as well.  This program is free to the public, and if you’re a real estate agent needing CE credit, that’s available for $30.  Click here for more info.

Don’t forget that our Online Ranchers Leasing Workshop course is always available on demand.  This three-hour course focuses on grazing, hunting, and livestock leases.  You can go at your own pace from the comfort of your own home!  For more information, click here.  Also…stay tuned because we will have a big announcement about the roll out of newest online course, Owning Your Piece of Texas: Key Laws Landowners Need to Know, coming soon!


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.

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