November 12, 2021 Weekly Round Up

Welcome to another agricultural law weekly round up.  Here are some of the stories in the news over the past couple of weeks.

*PRF (Rainfall Insurance) deadline is December 1 for 2022 sign up.  Did you know you can purchase rainfall insurance?  Essentially, PRF insurance allows you to insure a percentage of normal rainfall for your area, and you trigger a payment if rainfall falls below your insured percentage.  This can be a great risk management tool for livestock producers who have cattle or other livestock on grass.  You can purchase this product through your crop insurance agent.  For more info, here is a prior podcast episode you can listen to where I interviewed Dr. Jason Johnson and here is a blog post that Dr. Justin Benavidez wrote on PRF insurance.

*Texas passes bill prohibiting tethering of dogs; exceptions for agriculture exist.  I’ve gotten a number of questions in the last couple of weeks about recently-passed Senate Bill 5 and what that may mean for Texas dog owners who use working dogs in agriculture.  The bill prohibits leaving a dog outside and unattended by the use of restraint unless the dog has access to shelter, area allowing the dog to avoid standing water or animal waste, shade, and potable water.   Additionally, there are a number of exceptions to this prohibition, many of which apply (or could apply) to dogs used in agricultural production including exceptions for: (1) “the use of a restraint on a dog while the owner and dog engage in conduct directly related to the business of shepherding or herding cattle or livestock,” (2) “the use of a restraint on a dog while the owner and dog engage in conduct directly related to the business of cultivating agricultural products,” (3) “a dog left in an open-air truck bed only for the time reasonably necessary for the owner to complete a temporary task that requires the dog to be left unattended in the truck bed,” and (4) “a dog taken by the owner…from the owner’s residence or property and restrained by the owner…for not longer than the time necessary for the owner to engage in an activity that requires the dog to be temporarily restrained.”  A violation of the law can result in criminal penalties.  The effective date of the bill is January 18, 2022.  [Read full text here.]

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

* Texas Supreme Court grants motion for rehearing, sets oral arguments in lawsuit challenging High Speed Rail. The Texas Supreme Court has reconsidered its decision in June that it would not hear an appeal in Miles v. Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure. On October 15, 2021, the Texas Supreme Court granted Miles’ Motion for Reconsideration.  [Read Order here.]  Oral argument has been set for January 11, 2022.  At issue is a  Corpus Christi Court of Appeals ruling that Texas Central is considered a “railroad company” and an “interurban railroad,” thereby giving it eminent domain power to condemn land for the high speed rail.  To read my prior article on that Court of Appeals decision, click here.

*Texas court pauses ban on Delta-8 THC.  In an ongoing situation regarding cannabis plants, the issue of Delta-8 THC has caused a good deal of confusion.  In particular, the question is whether products containing Delta-8 THC should be considered a controlled substance (and thereby illegal) in Texas, or, as plaintiffs argue, did the Texas law allowing for hemp production, make products containing Delta-8 THC legal? Currently, Delta-8 is listed on the state’s controlled substance list, but a trial court judge ordered the removal of Delta-8 from that list until a ruling on its legality can be made.  [Read article here.]

* Tips for being a good neighbor and avoiding litigation.  I recently talked with Sara Schafer from Farm Journal about legal issues arising between rural neighbors.  Sarah did a great job on this article, which offers some important tips and considerations!  [Read article here.]

*Podcast covers regulations hunters need to be aware of. My friends over at Andrew & Andrew on Texas Criminal Defense recently hosted an episode on regulations applicable to hunting in Texas.  With so many people out and about hunting right now, this is a timely and interesting podcast episode.  [Listen here.]

Upcoming Presentations

Next week, I’ll be speaking virtually to agricultural law clubs at both Texas A&M School of Law and the University of Oklahoma School of Law.  I am excited about this opportunity.  On Friday, I’ll be beaming in virtually to present at the Estate Planning & Conservation Seminar in Decatur, Texas.  Registration is limited and may be done by calling with Wise County Extension Office at 940-627-3341.  To see the rest of my upcoming programs, click here.

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