April 1, 2022 Weekly Round Up

Happy April! We’ve got lots of happenings in the agricultural law world today.

*US Supreme Court will hear case challenging constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12. The United States Supreme Court has granted the Petition for Certiorari in National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, a case challenging the animal confinement provisions and corresponding product sales limitations imposed on pork producers. Lower courts dismissed the challenge brought by the National Pork Producers Council and American Farm Bureau Federation claiming that the law runs afoul of the Constitution. [Read article here.] I’ll have a full blog post on the case coming in the next couple of weeks. To listen to a podcast episode I did on animal confinement statutes (including Proposition 12), click here. Meanwhile, earlier in March, a California federal judge denied Iowa Pork Producers Association’s request for an injunction against Prop 12 and dismissed their case. [Read article here.]

Image by William Murphy from Pixabay

*Federal court asks EPA for long-term plan for dicamba. A US District Court Judge in the District of Arizona recently issued an order declining to restart a lawsuit challenging the registration of dicamba herbicides XtendiMax, Engenia, and Tavium. However, the Judge did seek more information from the EPA regarding the agency’s long-term plan for these products. Their report outlining their plan is due to the court by May 15. For now, this case will remain stayed. Another suit raising a jurisdictional question over whether it is trial courts or appellate courts in which these lawsuits over registrations should be filed remains pending in the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. [Read article here.]

*Chlorpyrifos ban remains in effect after stay denied. We’ve previously discussed a lawsuit filed by a number of agricultural groups against the EPA’s revocation of food tolerances for chlorpyrifos (which effectively bans the use of the insecticide). [Read article here.] Last week, the US Court of Appeals declined to issue a stay on the revocation of the food tolerance, but did agree to hear the lawsuit. [Read article here.]

*EPA expands use of Enlist products in 134 previously banned counties. You likely recall that earlier this year, the EPA issued new registrations for Enlist and Enlist Duo. These registrations included prohibitions on the use of one or both of these products in hundreds of counties across the US. [Read article here.] This week, the EPA has announced that those products will now be allowed in 134 of those counties. Specifically, both products may now be used in all counties in AR, KS, MN, MO, NE, OH, OK, and SD. In Texas, Bowie, Cooke, Fannin, Grayson, Lamar, and Red River counties have been removed from the prohibited list, meaning that both products may now be used in these counties. [Read article here.] This means that in Texas, Enlist is still prohibited in Bell, Cameron, Hidalgo, Hill, McLennan, Nueces, San Patricio, Willacy, and Williamson counties and Enlist Duo remains prohibited in Bastrop, Bell, Burleson, Cameron, Colorado, Hidalgo, Hill, McLennan, Milam, Nueces, Refugio, Robertson, San Patricio, Victoria, Willacy and Williamson counties.

*The New Mexico Supreme Court rules in stream access case. The New Mexico Supreme Court recently ruled in a case involving a challenge to a NM Game Commission rule that allowed private landowners to restrict access to water flowing through private property if they obtained a certificate declaring the waters non-navigable. Five landowners obtained these non-navigability certificates and began posting no trespassing signs and fencing off the river area blocking public access. The Court unanimously held this rule unconstitutional on March 1 as it violated the NM Constitution’s guarantee of public access to moving waters, which are owned by the state. The ruling was announced after oral argument and a short deliberation between the Justices. A full opinion will be issued soon. [Read article here.] Interestingly enough, the legal approach in Texas does make a distinction between a navigable stream–which is open to the public–and a non-navigable stream–which is not. [Read more here.]

*Critical property tax deadlines for Texas landowners at the end of April. Don’t forget there are important property tax deadlines this month for many Texas landowners receiving open space tax valuation. This includes filing an application for ag use, open space, or wildlife management valuation, changing land from open space to wildlife management use, and any new purchasers of land who intend to continue receiving open space valuation. [Read more here.] We’ve also got a great podcast episode with Cassie Gresham talking special use tax valuation here.

*Podcast episodes of interest. For you podcast listeners, I’ve collected a couple of recent episodes that you may find interesting. I was a guest on the Texas Grazing Lands Coalition’s Love the Land Podcast along with Dr. Bill Fox and Jeff Goodwin to talk about carbon credits. [Click here.] My colleague Dr. Justin Benavidez recently appeared on the TSCRA Talk Podcast to chat about our direct beef sales project we’re working on. [Click here.] Finally, don’t forget about my own Ag Law in the Field Podcast. We’ve had some great guests and interesting topics lately! [Click here.]

Upcoming Presentations

Today, I’m in Lubbock discussing carbon contracts considerations at the Plains Cotton Growers Annual Meeting. Next week, I’ll be virtually presenting at the AgriPlex Day in Rowena on Tuesday and the Rolling Plains Ag Conference in Snyder on Wednesday. I’ll round things out in Burnet for our Owning Your Piece of Texas: Key Laws Texas Landowners Need to Know program on Friday, April 8. We’ve still got seats available (and if you need real estate CE credits, we’ll be offering 5), so click here to register! The following week, I’ll be in Brownfield on April 14 for the Terry County Women in Ag program. As always, you can see my full upcoming schedule here.

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