Author Archives: tiffany.dowell

Trifecta of “Ag Gag” Opinions

In the last month, there have been three appellate court opinions related to “ag gag” statutes in states around the country.  Although they differ in detail, “ag gag” statutes essentially make it illegal to gain access to agricultural operations in order to photograph or record agricultural operations without consent.  They target both unauthorized access such as trespass, but also frequently prohibit providing false information, such as on an employment application, to gain access to the facility. Here is a brief summary of those recent decisions.  For a more… Read More →

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: What Statutory Protections Apply if Hunters Are Injured on My Land?

Question:  What statutory protections are available as a defense to a landowner if hunters are injured on my land? Answer:  With opening weekend for deer season right around the corner, this is a great and timely question. There are two main statutes that could apply in this situation:  Texas Recreational Use Statute and Texas Agritourism Act.  As you will see, there are many situations, including hunting, where both statutes may be an available defense if someone is injured. Recreational Use Statute The Texas Recreational Use statute provides that a… Read More →

October 8, 2021 Weekly Round Up

It has been a busy week with agricultural law news coming in from across the country!  Let’s get caught up on some of the biggest stories in the news. *Texas federal court dismisses COVID-19 negligence lawsuit against Tyson. The US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas dismissed a lawsuit employees brought against Tyson Foods claiming Tyson was negligent  in the safety measures put in place at their facilities, which caused the plaintiffs to contract COVID-19.  The court found these claims were preempted by the Poultry Products… Read More →

Texas Farm Animal Liability Act FAQ

As you may recall from several prior posts, the Texas Legislature passed several changes to the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act  (FALA) that went into effect on September 1, 2021.  To read more detail about the Farm Animal Liability Act and these changes, click here. After fielding many questions from folks who just wanted basic information (and less of the legal detail that lawyers like me enjoy so much), I thought a quick frequently asked questions breakdown might be useful. What is the FALA?  The Farm Animal Liability… Read More →

2021 USDA NASS Cash Rent Report Available

Each year, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service conducts a nationwide survey to gather data and compile a report showing average cash rental rates across the United States. To view the database with the data for each state, click here.  To view the database with data for each county in the US, click here.  To view the report for Texas, broken down by region and county, click here.  Please note that all reported cash rent amounts are listed in a per acre/per year format. Here’s how things broke… Read More →

September 24, 2021 Weekly Round Up

>Hello and Happy Friday!  We’re back with an Ag Law Weekly Round Up to catch you up on some of the ag law stories over the past month. *EPA Administrator discusses dicamba, WOTUS, and ag advisor.  Recently, EPA Administrator, Michael Regan, spoke at the NASDA national meeting.  He indicated that the EPA is currently working on a new version of the “waters of the United States” definition pursuant to the Clean Water Act, and he expects for the initial proposed draft to be released in November.  He did… Read More →

Waters of the United States Update

For those of you following along with the ongoing saga surrounding the definition of “waters of the United States” pursuant to the Clean Water Act, there have been several recent rulings and happenings of which you will want to be aware. Background  The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, gave federal jurisdiction to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (COE) over “waters of the United States.”  Essentially, a person who wishes to do certain activities in a water of the United States—such as point… Read More →

Farm & Ranch Families + Mental Health Podcast Episode

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.  This is a topic that is very important to me, so I wanted to do a podcast episode discussing mental health in the agricultural context.  I was joined by Ted Matthews, a counselor who has spent his career working with farm and ranch families as Director of the Minnesota Rural Mental Health Specialists.  Ted offered some great insight about mental health on the farm.  To listen to our conversation, click here. Additionally, we’ve compiled a list of resources related to mental health… Read More →

Tyler Court of Appeals Affirms Nuisance Verdict, Permanent Injunction Against Chicken Farm

The Tyler Court of appeals recently affirmed a nuisance verdict and resulting permanent injunction against an East Texas poultry farm. Background Plaintiffs each own rural property in the Malakoff area of Henderson County, Texas.  In 2015, Defendant Steve Huynh bought 231 acres of land in Malakoff to build a chicken farm.  Steve previously owned and operated chicken barns for Defendant Sanderson.  Both Defendants Timmy Huynh and Thinh Nguyen, relatives of Steve, were approved as growers for Sanderson, and Steve’s Henderson County property was approved as a barn site…. Read More →

Hunting Lease Resources

With this being the opening weekend of dove season and with deer season coming up soon here in Texas, I’ve gotten a lot of questions and interview requests about hunting leases.  We’ve got a variety of resources–many free–that offer great information for landowners interested in allowing others to hunt on their land.  I thought it might be useful to write a post just outlining and providing links to those various resources in one place. With regard to the two handbooks mentioned below, I’ve linked the free PDF versions,… Read More →