Category Archives: Uncategorized

Livestock and Community Property

Let me start out with a disclaimer here:  I am by no means a family lawyer.  This was the one area of law I knew I did not want to practice when I went to law school.  That said, I’ve seen this issue come up a couple of times and it involves cattle, so it seems important to include on an ag law blog. Texas is a community property state.  Property can be categorized as separate or community.  Separate property is property that one spouse brought into the… Read More →

Appearances on Windmill Wisdom

Recently, I was invited by Monty Edwards to be on his You Tube show called Windmill Wisdom. It was really fun to sit down with some experts in different areas to talk about various agricultural issues.  I’m so grateful to Monty for hosting this show. First, Monty interviewed Benjamin Needham, Rhett Kirby, and me for an episode titled “Preserving the Legacy of Texas Lands.”  Ben is a Registered Landman and Rhett is a Natural Resource Consultant.  We had a great conversation on a host of issues including surface… Read More →

New Statutory Requirements for Wind Leases in TX Effective September 1

As of September 1, 2019, Texas law will impose requirements for wind lease agreements to contain language whereby the wind farm operator agrees to remove its materials at the end of the lease, and provides a financial assurance to support this obligation.  These terms are required in every wind lease signed after the effective date and may not be waived by the parties. Key Stats House Bill 2845 modified the Texas Utilities Code by adding Section 301.0001, titled “Wind Power Facility Agreements.” [Read bill text here.]  The bill… Read More →

Austin Court of Appeals: Breeder Deer Are Not Private Property

A recent decision from the Austin Court of Appeals in Bailey v. Smith, is important for many Texas landowners involved in the business of raising deer.  This case addressed the issue of whether breeder deer–raised by persons with the required TPWD permit–are considered private property of the deer breeder or are owned by the State. One note here–this case also addressed a number of other technical legal issues such as sovereign immunity, ultra vires action of state officials, and attorney’s fees awards.  This blog post will not discuss these… Read More →

RFID Ear Tags To Be Required USDA Identification for ADT by 2023

*Update:  In October, the USDA withdrew this plan, removing the Fact Sheet from its website.*  In April, the USDA announced it will be making changes to the mandatory Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) program concerning the type of ear tags that may be used in beef cattle, dairy cattle, and bison.  [View Factsheet here.] Keep in mind that this blog post addresses only the federal regulations applicable to interstate transport of livestock.  State-specific rules apply to intrastate transport and many states may have import requirements for livestock from other… Read More →

2018 Texas Agricultural Custom Rates Report Published

Have you ever wondered what the going rate is in your area for custom farm work like hauling hay or harvesting wheat?  The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Ag Economics Unit has a helpful publication. The 2018 Texas Agricultural Custom Rates Report is now available.  This report is based upon survey responses gathered from farmers, ranchers, and other landowners across Texas.  The report divides Texas into four quadrants and then provides survey results for each.  The type of work included in the survey ranges from tractor rental to application… Read More →

Free Agricultural Law Workshops Set Across Texas

We’re excited to announce a new educational program for Texas landowners and ag producers, “Owning Your Piece of Texas: Top Laws Texas Landowners Need to Know”.  These programs will offer information to landowners on a variety of topics like water law, landowner liability, eminent domain, fence law, easements, special use tax valuation, and more!   Each program will last from 9am-3pm and will include lunch sponsored by Ag Workers Insurance. Presenters will include Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, Extension Ag Law Specialist, who will be joined by a local attorney… Read More →

CA Animal Welfare Act Could Impact Farm Practices Nationwide

This article was published in Progressive Cattleman’s April issue. In a difficult time for agriculture, when producers are already facing low commodity prices and trade uncertainty, many livestock producers may also have to be concerned about the potential impact of something else in the coming years: California voters. In November 2018, California voters passed Proposition 12 with 59% of the vote.  This ballot initiative prohibits California businesses from knowingly selling veal, pork, shell eggs, or liquid eggs, that were produced by animals “confined in a cruel manner.”  The… Read More →

Court Rules for Oil Operator in Accommodation Doctrine Case

Last summer, a case from the El Paso Court of Appeals, Harrison v. Rosetta Resources Operating, raised interesting arguments regarding water use and the accommodation doctrine. Background The Harrison Trust owns 320 acres in Reeves County.  Mr. Harrison is the trustee of the Harrison Trust.  The minerals beneath the land are owned by the State of Texas. In 2009, Harrison executed an oil and gas lease on behalf of the State with Eagle Oil & Gas, as is allowed by the Natural Resources Code on certain lands.  Eventually, the… Read More →

2019 Ranchers Leasing Workshop Events Announced

The Ranchers Leasing Workshop programs are my most popular events of the year.  To date, we have had over 850 Texans attend these half-day seminars and 100% of them would recommend this program to a friend.  We focus on legal issues related to grazing, hunting and livestock leases, including why leases should be in writing, how to determine the payment structure and rate, key terms to include, and spend about an hour on landowner liability and how to protect one’s operation.  Importantly, we work hard to be really… Read More →