November 11, 2022 Weekly Round Up

Happy Veteran’s Day, and thank you to all who have served. We’re back again with a number of developments in the agricultural law world over the past few weeks.

Photo by Anthony from Pexels

*PRF Deadline December 1.  Don’t forget that the deadline to sign up for Pasture, Range & Forage insurance (commonly referred to as “rainfall insurance”) is coming up on December 1.  To read more about this insurance option, click here.  For a detailed discussion of PRF and the decisions a landowner must make during sign up, click here for a podcast episode I did with Jason Johnson.

*States have agreed to settlement in Texas v. New Mexico; US objects.  Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado have agreed to a settlement in the ongoing water lawsuit filed by Texas at the US Supreme Court challenging New Mexico’s compliance with a 1939 Compact.  [Read more about the case here.]  Details of the settlement have not yet been released. The United States, who intervened in the case as a party, objects to the settlement.  The Special Master, Gregory Grimsal, will recommend to the Court whether to approve the settlement agreement.

*Selecting a business structure.Robert Moore at Ohio State University recently did a blog post looking at the basics of various business structures.  I thought that his table comparing the different options was particularly helpful.  [Click here.]  Two notes I would add.  Although he notes that LLCs have made partnerships largely obsolete, that may not be the case for farm operations who choose to remain a partnership due to concerns related to program payment limits for federal programs.  For example, an operation with three people actively engaged may select to remain a partnership (and forego the other benefits of an LLC) in order to keep their ability to qualify for three program payments (one for each actively engaged participant) rather that form an LLC, which would allow for only one payment limit.  Second, many estate and tax attorneys advise most farm and ranch operations not to select a corporation due to potential tax consequences, particularly related to capital gains taxes and the stepped up basis.  To learn more about selecting a business entity, I have a podcast episode with Amber Miller and a podcast episode with Leah Davis.

*Naming cell cultured meat.  Helena Bottemiller Evich wrote an interesting article recently looking at the race to name cell-cultured meat.  In Asia, major food companies recently settled on “cultured meat.”  The debate continues in the US.  [Read article here.]

*Running a family farm.  I was recently interviewed, along with my colleague, Dr. Bart Fischer, and McLennan County farmer, Todd Westerfield, for a segment on KAMU on running a family farm today, the challenges that farmers face, and the ways that Texas A&M AgriLife can help.  [View video here.]

 Upcoming Presentations

I am currently in New Orleans for the American Agricultural Law Association Conference.  Tomorrow, I’ll be joining ag lawyers from around the country on two panels.  First, I’ll be talking about Right to Farm with Jake Parker and Nate Huff from North Carolina, and then I’ll be joining Paul Goeringer, Shannon Ferrell, and Dr. Justin Benavidez to chat carbon contracts.  I’m doing my best to share highlights from the AALA Conference on my social media (Facebook and Twitter) if you want to follow along.

I will be wrapping up the year with three more presentations closer to home.  On November 30, I’ll be speaking on carbon contracts at the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show.  On December 6, I’ll be talking carbon contracts again, this time at the Texas Plant Protection Association meeting in College Station.  My last program of the year will be in Brenham at the first annual Washington County Ag Breakfast.

I’m already hard at work on scheduling programs for 2023.  To see a complete list of where I’ll be headed, click here.

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