March 10, 2023 Weekly Round Up

Once again, it has been a busy couple of weeks on the agricultural law front.  Here are some of the key ag law stories in the news.

Photo by Delaney Van on Unsplash

*US Supreme Court will not hear New Mexico stream access case.  The United States Supreme Court has denied a Petition for Certiorari in  Chama Troutstalkers, LLC v. Adobe Whitewater Club of New Mexico.  You may recall from this prior blog post that the New Mexico Supreme Court held laws allowing landowners to close portions of streams on private property were unconstitutional.  This decision will stand now that the US Supreme Court has declined to take the case.  [Read article here.]

*US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit finds “gruyere” cheese label may be used beyond Gruyere region.  The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently faced a question of what cheese may be labeled “gruyere.” A group of Swiss and French cheesemakers argued that the label should only be allowed for cheese made in the Gruyere region of Switzerland.  The FDA has regulations, called standards of identity, for when cheese may be labeled as “gruyere” based on the process of making the cheese, rather than based on the location where the cheese is made.  The Fourth Circuit found the use of “gruyere” in US labels is allowed when it complies with the FDA standards of identity. [Read Opinion here.]

*NM Cattle Growers’ Association loses bid for temporary restraining order prohibiting shooting of feral cattle.  A federal court judge in New Mexico denied New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association’s attempts to block the US Forest Service from shooting feral cattle in the Gila Wilderness from helicopters.  [Read article here.]

*States file WOTUS lawsuit in North Dakota federal court.  A group of 23 states have filed a lawsuit challenging the Biden Administration’s new WOTUS definition in federal court in North Dakota.  [Read article here.]  This lawsuit is in addition to two lawsuits we previously discussed that were filed in federal court in Texas.

*US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit strikes down portion of North Carolina’s “ag gag” law.  The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit struck down provisions of the North Carolina “ag gag” law that banned “protected newsgathering activities.”  The majority opinion noted the difficulty of drawing lines, particularly given the “sparse, pre-enforcement record” before it.  One judge dissented, arguing that the law still allows for protections for employees reporting wrongdoing under a “laundry list of state statute” and exempts parties from liability if covered by such statutes.  Further, she noted that there has been no enforcement actions taken under the Act.  instead, she wrote, PETA relied completely on hypotheticals and speculation.  [Read Opinion here.]

*Auctions gaining popularity for farm leases.  Ag Web recently published an interesting article on the growing trend of using auctions in leasing farm land.  [Read article here.]

Upcoming Presentations

On Sunday, I’ll be judging the finals of the public speaking contest at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.  It is one of my favorite activities!  On Tuesday, I’ll head to Palestine to speak at a real estate agent program.

To see my complete list of  upcoming programs, click here.

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