Category Archives: Uncategorized

Eminent Domain in Texas: A Landowner’s Guide

Eminent domain is one of the most controversial issues facing Texas landowners.  The key to protecting one’s property is to understand a landowner’s rights, to be familiar with the condemnation process, and to know what steps to take when facing a taking of private property. In order to help educate landowners, I am thrilled to announce my latest handbook, Eminent Domain in Texas: A Landowner’s Guide, is now available.  It is my hope that this handbook will help educate and empower landowners to make the best decisions they can… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Reverses Ruling for Landowner in Easement Width Case

The Texas Supreme Court recently reversed two lower court decisions in Southwestern Electric Power Co. v. Lynch, involving a question of the allowable width of a general easement.  Although both the trial court and appellate court sided with the landowner and would limit the width of the easement, the Supreme Court disagreed and ruled in favor of the transmission line company, refusing to limit the allowable width of the general easement. Background Three landowners in Bowie County own land burdened by a utility easement held by Southwestern Electric… Read More →

Owning Your Piece of Texas 2020 Dates & Locations

Last year, we rolled out our newest program, Owning Your Piece of Texas: Key Laws Texas Landowners Need to Know to record-breaking crowds across the state.  The program focuses on providing practical, understandable education to Texas landowners and agricultural producers on the key laws they need to know.  Programs will cover topics like fence law, water law, landowner liablity, eminent domain, and more.  These programs are designed to benefit both new and experienced landowners, and those on the farm as well as absentee landowners. We are excited to… Read More →

2019 Year in Review

Each December, we look back at the biggest ag law developments for the year.  It was another busy year in the agricultural law realm.  Here were some of the key stories. Also, if you’d like to listen to Paul Goeringer and I discuss these issues and more, be sure to check out our 2019 Ag Law Year in Review podcast episode here. Hemp. The big story for 2019 is hemp.  The 2018 Farm Bill paved the way for legal hemp production in the United States.  Most individual states… Read More →

2020 Ranchers Leasing Workshop Dates

We are so excited to continue offering our Ranchers Leasing Workshops around the state in 2020.   Dr. Greg Kaase and I will be hitting the road and hosting 5 workshops in 2020.   These half-day programs feature information on grazing, livestock, and hunting leases; economic resources available through Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and landowner liability. All attendees receive a copy of the Ranchers Leasing Handbook and lunch will be sponsored by Ag Workers Insurance (Palestine, Abilene, LaVernia, and Brenham) and the Bennett Trust (Fredericksburg).  The cost of the… Read More →

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 →