Happy Friday! On Tuesday, I commented to a couple of friends it had been a quite couple of weeks on the agricultural law front. Apparently, that opened the flood gates and we’ve got a full slate of news for today’s Weekly Round Up!
* United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholds ruling in Montana beef checkoff case. The Ninth Circuit has upheld the decision of the District of Montana upholding the Montana Beef Checkoff. Specifically, the court found that because of the MOUs between the qualified state beef councils and the USDA, which require the government to pre-approve the qualified state beef council content constituted government speech. Thus, it is protected from First Amendment challenge. Additionally, R-CALF argued there should be an injunction requiring the continuation of the MOUs to prevent the beef councils from canceling the review once the lawsuit was complete. Because the MOUs have been in place for 5 years, and are in place in states not even party to the lawsuit, the court declined to enter that injunction. [Read Opinion here.]
* United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholds dismissal of challenge to California Proposition 12. The Ninth Circuit has affirmed the lower court decision to dismiss a challenging to California’s Proposition 12. The suit was brought by National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation, claiming that Proposition 12, which among other things will ban the sale of whole pork meat from animals confined in a manner that violates California law, violated the dormant Commerce Clause. Specifically, the court found dismissal proper because: (1) Proposition 12 is not a price control or price-affirmation statute and, therefore, does not discriminate against interstate commerce; (2) the interconnected nature of the pork industry does not result in Prop 12 being an impermissible regulation of extraterritorial conduct beyond California’s borders; (3) the potential upstream effect on pork production does not violate the dormant commerce clause; and (4) the California regulations related to Proposition 12 does not have an impermissible extraterritorial effect. [Read Opinion here.]
* Update on WOTUS lawsuit status. Our friends at the National Agricultural Law Center recently wrote an article giving an update on the EPA’s approach to the WOTUS rule, and offering an update on the status of several pending lawsuits. [Read article here.]
* Article finds solar leases more popular than carbon contracts for farmers. If I had to pick two “hot topics” in agriculture right now, carbon credits and solar leases would certainly be high on my list. A recent Successful Farming article discussed a survey by Purdue University finding currently that solar leases are more popular and more lucrative, than carbon contracts. [Read article here.]
Next week, I’ll be in College Station for the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course. I’ll be on the main stage for just a short update on the Farm Animal Liability Act on Monday, and then on Tuesday afternoon, I’ll be teaching on landowner liability and estate planning at the Landowner Rights session. I always love meeting blog readers in person, so if you’re at Short Course, please say hi!
Online Courses Available Anytime
Don’t forget that we have two online courses that are available on demand! These courses allow you to go at your own pace and enjoy learning from the comfort of your own home.
Our Online Ranchers Agriculture Leasing Workshop is a 3 hour course focused on grazing and hunting leases. The course is designed for both landowners and tenants and focuses on topics like the importance of written leases, what to charge, key terms to include in a lease, and landowner liability protections. For more information or to register, click here.
Our newest online course, Owning Your Piece of Texas: Key Laws Texas Landowners Need to Know is focused on rural landowners and producers. This 8.5 hour course walks participants through legal issues on a variety of topics including water law, landowner liability, eminent domain, and more. Participants will have access to the materials for two years. If someone is interested in just one or two specific topics, rather than the full course, most topics may be individually purchased as well. Click here for more information.