March 24, 2023 Weekly Round Up

Hello from Ft. Worth!  We’re excited to be at the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Convention this weekend.  If you’re here in Cowtown, be sure to say hi!

Here are a number of ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks.

*Numerous challenges filed against Biden WOTUS definition.  Brigit Rollins at the National Agricultural Law Center recently published a great article outlining the legal challenges currently filed against the Biden WOTUS definition.  [Read article here.]  Since this article, a federal judge here in Texas has taken action to deny a nationwide injunction of the Biden WOTUS Rule, but to grant an injunction to prevent its going into effect in Texas and Idaho.  I’ll have a full blog post on this decision coming on Monday. [Read article here.]  In light of this, currently the Biden Rule is in effect in the other 48 states.

*State of Texas files lawsuit challenging Endangered Species Act listing of lesser prairie chicken.  The State of Texas has filed suit challenging the US Fish and Wildlife Service listing of the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act.  [Read Complaint here.]The lawsuit alleges the listing violates the Administrative Procedures Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.

*Texas Supreme Court rules on royalty dispute.  The Texas Supreme Court sided with royalty owners in Devon v. Sheppard, a case addressing the allowable post-production cost deductions from royalties.  [Read summary here, Opinion here, and dissent here.]

*USDA proposes new ‘Product of the USA’ labeling requirements.  The USDA has proposed a new rule establishing when the voluntary ‘Product of the USA’ label may be used on meat, poultry, and egg products.  Specifically, the proposed rule would allow use of the label when the products are derived from animals being born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States.  This is in contrast to current rules, which allow imported beef to be labeled ‘Product of the USA’ if it undergoes a “significant transformation,” which can include trimming or re-packaging.  The USDA is currently taking comment on the proposed rule through May 12.  [Read article here and proposed rule here.]

*The importance of written partnership agreements.  My friend, Cari Rincker, recently wrote a great blog post discussing the importance of taking the time to create a written partnership agreement.  She also offered several key terms to include in these types of agreements.  [Read blog post here.]

*Common mistakes people make with trusts.  The Dallas Morning News recently published an article outlining five common mistakes that people make when creating a trust.  Anyone with a living trust or considering one should read this article and think about these issues. [Read article here.]

*Transparency key when splitting the farm between multiple children.  Kelly Wilfert with Ruder Ware wrote a blog post discussing the importance of transparency in the agricultural estate planning process when multiple children are involved.  She also offers three topics that should be included in these discussions. [Read blog post here.]

*Considerations for persons receiving inheritance.  Kiplinger published a great article on four considerations for people who may be receiving an inheritance. [Read article here.]

Upcoming Presentations

Next week, I’ll be speaking at three different events.  On Tuesday the 28th, I’ll be virtually presenting as part of the Ranch Management University program in College Station.  Then, I’ll grab a snack and shift gears to present virtually to the Beef 706 course in Alpine on legal issues related to direct beef sales.  The following day, I’ll be headed for Texas Tech to guest lecture in the Agricultural Law Course at the law school.

Things won’t slow down much the following week.  I’ll be moderating the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District Candidate Forum on April 5, and presenting on water law as part of the RWFM Stewardship Webinar Series on April 6.

To find a complete list of my upcoming presentations, click here.

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