October 23, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  Here are some of the agricultural law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. *Solar sheep?  NPR recently ran an article looking at the potential use of sheep in conjunction with solar farms.  In the Northeast, there have been farmers who contract with solar farms to graze their sheep under the panels.  Not all companies will consider this, but it might be an option to discuss if you are looking at signing a solar lease or have animals and are seeking grazing land. … Read More →

Reviewing Your Liability Insurance Policy

This article was first published in the  Progressive Cattle Magazine.   One of the first steps anyone owning or leasing land should take is securing adequate liability insurance. Liability insurance offers critical protection in the event someone is injured on the insured’s property. Liability insurance offers two key benefits to the insured. First, it provides coverage up to the policy limits that will be paid out in the event a covered claim occurs. Second, it provides a defense to the landowner in the event a covered claim is… Read More →

October 9, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  I’m here to get you caught up on some of the major agricultural law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. *SCOTUS hears oral argument in Texas v. NM water law case in Pecos River dispute. Texas v. New Mexico was on the docket to kick off the United States Supreme Court term this week.  This case, involving a dispute over the Pecos River between Texas and New Mexico, is the first time the Justices will rule on a decision made by a… Read More →

2020 USDA Land Values Summary Report

In August, the USDA released its Land Values Summary Report for 2020. [View Report here.] The report indicates that nationwide, land values were stable, showing no change from the 2019 report.  For “farm real estate value,” which takes into account the value of all land and buildings on farms, the average value was $3,160.  For cropland, the average value was $4,100/acre.  For pastureland, the average value was $1,400/acre. The report also looks at various regional measurements. Farm real estate average value is the highest in the Corn Belt… Read More →

Navigable Waters Protection Rule (aka the New WOTUS Rule)

Disclaimer–This blog post is really detailed.  If you’re not into all the nerdy legal technicalities, I’d read the Background, Summary of WOTUS Rule v. NWPR, and What Happens Now and go on about your day.   If you have been around for a while, you know we have been following the saga surrounding the definition of “Waters of the United States” or “WOTUS” for several years.  On April 21, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency published the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), the newest regulatory definition of WOTUS.  [Read… Read More →

September 25, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  Here are a few of the ag law stories in the news. * Sign up for CFAP 2 program begins.  The USDA has announced a Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2, which will provide payments to qualifying farmers and ranchers.  The application period is open now through December 11.  Many of the main commodities in our area, including cattle, sheep, sorghum, wheat, cotton, and corn are eligible.  For more information and a full list of eligible commodities, click here.  Our District 1 economist, Dr. Justin Benavidez, recently… Read More →

Transferring Property Prior to Death: Pros, Cons, and Alternatives

I frequently field questions where a landowner is trying to decide whether it would be better to transfer his or her property to the next generation (or their identified heir) while the landowner is still living, or wait until the landowner has passed away.  I always try to outline the pros, cons, and highlight two other options here in Texas that may allow a landowner to receive the pros and avoid the cons of a transfer prior to death. Pros of Transferring Property Prior to Death There are… Read More →

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: Resources

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  This is an issue that is close to my heart and a topic on which rural America absolutely has to do better. Suicide rates are higher in rural America than in urban America, and that gap steadily increased between 1999 and 2015. In that time frame, the rate of suicide between Americans age 25-64 rose by 41%, with rates being 25% higher for those living in rural America. Those involved in agriculture have one of the highest suicide rates in the… Read More →

September 11, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  We’ve had quite the cold snap come through the Texas Panhandle this week–when I was feeding on Wednesday morning, it was a brisk 36 degrees!  Here’s wishing everyone a big of a warmer weekend. Here are some of the ag law stories over the past couple of weeks. *Court dismisses western cattle groups lawsuits against NWPR Rule.  An Oregon federal court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, Washington Cattlemen’s Association and New Mexico Cattle Growers Association challenging the Navigable Waters Protection Rule,… Read More →

2020 USDA NASS Cash Rental Rate Survey Results Published

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service recently published their 2020 Cash Rental Rate Survey results.  This report provides average cash rental rates by state and by county for irrigated cropland, non-irrigated cropland, and pastureland. Keep in mind these numbers are merely averages based on survey responses provided to USDA.  The lease rate for a particular property will depend on a number of factors such as the quality and quantity of grass, health of the soil, the existence of and quality of fences, access to water, brush situation, average… Read More →