December 2, 2022 Weekly Round Up

Happy December! We are back with a number of updates for you with regard to agricultural law news around the country. *Lesser prairie chicken listed under Endangered Species Act.  On November 17, the US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a press release that it will be listing the lesser prairie chicken as threatened in the northern distinct population segment (including areas in southeastern Colorado, southcentral and western Kansas, western Oklahoma, and the northeastern Texas Panhandle.) and endangered in the southern distinct population segment (including areas in eastern New… Read More →

Texas Court of Appeals Grants Motion to Change Venue in Grape Growers Dicamba Lawsuit

A Beaumont Court of Appeals decision in Timmons v. Monsanto will result in a lawsuit filed by Texas grape growers against Bayer, BASF, and Monsanto for alleged damage from dicamba drift being moved from Jefferson County to counties where the plaintiffs’ vineyards are located.  Factual Background In June of 2021, fifty-seven Texas grape growers and four grape processors filed suit against Bayer Crop Science, Monsanto, and BASF in state court in Jefferson County, Texas. [Read Complaint here.]  The lawsuit was related to alleged drift damage caused by the dicamba… Read More →

IRS Announces 2023 Estate & Gift Tax Exemption Amounts

Recently, the IRS announced the 2023 estate and gift tax exemption amounts.  These amounts change slightly each year, and are an important consideration in a person’s estate planning process. As we have previously discussed the IRS sets a certain amount that a person is allowed to give during their lifetime or at death without estate or gift tax liability.  [Read prior blog posts here and here.]  The IRS adjusts the amount each year.  For 2023, the exemption amount will be $12.92 million per person, up from $12.06 million… Read More →

Ag Law in the Field Podcast: Episodes 111- 140

Well, as you might have seen from the title here, I got a bit behind on my usual podcast recap that I do every 10 episodes.  In light of that, we’ve got some reviewing to do today! If you aren’t familiar with Ag Law in the Field or with podcasts in general, don’t panic.  This is simply another resource that I have available for you to learn more about Texas agricultural law.  Each episode is audio-only, and I interview an ag lawyer about a specific topic.  The best… Read More →

November 11, 2022 Weekly Round Up

Happy Veteran’s Day, and thank you to all who have served. We’re back again with a number of developments in the agricultural law world over the past few weeks. *PRF Deadline December 1.  Don’t forget that the deadline to sign up for Pasture, Range & Forage insurance (commonly referred to as “rainfall insurance”) is coming up on December 1.  To read more about this insurance option, click here.  For a detailed discussion of PRF and the decisions a landowner must make during sign up, click here for a… Read More →

Pasture, Range, and Forage (“Rainfall”) Insurance Deadline December 1

The Pasture, Range, and Forage Insurance (PRF) deadline to sign up for coverage for 2023 is on December 1.  Often referred to as “rainfall insurance,” this product can be a useful risk management tool for landowners and livestock producers.  The product provides insurance coverage for grazing pastures, rangeland, and perennial forage acres. Essentially, PRF allows a landowner to insure a certain percentage of historic rainfall in the area where they own property.  If the actual rainfall in the area falls below the insured percentage, the landowner receives an… Read More →

What Happens When You Are Late Probating a Will?

When a widow was told by an attorney she did not need to probate her husband’s will, but learned 11 years later she should have done so, what happens?  This was the issue facing the Austin Court of Appeals in Castillo v. Castillo-Wall.  [Read Opinion here.] Applicable Law Section 256.003(a) of the Texas Estates Code provides:  “A will may not be admitted to probate after the fourth anniversary of the testator’s death unless it is show by proof that the applicant for the probate of the will was not… Read More →

Webinar – Fence Laws: Corralling Legal Issues & Livestock

Fence law is one of the topics about which I get the most questions.  It is also the topic about which I think there may be the most misinformation.  In light of that, I teamed up with Rusty Rumley from the National Agricultural Law Center to host a webinar about fence law.  You can view the recording here. For those of you in Texas, we’ve got a couple of additional resources. First, we have a short handbook written for Texas landowners and livestock owners outlining the key fence… Read More →

October 14, 2022 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  It has been a busy couple of weeks in the ag law world. *US Supreme Court hears oral argument in two key cases.  The US Supreme Court heard oral argument in two key ag-related cases.  First, on October 3, 2022, the Justices heard argument in Sackett v. EPA, a case looking at the proper test for determining whether a wetland is considered a “water of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.  [Read more here.]  To listen to the recording of this argument or read the… Read More →

Did the Life Estate Conveyance Include the Minerals?

In 2020, the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in ConocoPhillips Co. v. Ramirez, 599 S.W.3d 296 (Tex. 2020), a case involving the interpretation of a life estate and whether the creation of the life estate applied only to the surface interest, or to the minerals as well. Background  Ildefonzo Ramirez died in 1941. He left his two children, Leon Juan and Felicidad, a total of 7,016 acres in Zapata County. Not all tracts of the estate were contiguous. Months after Ildefonzo’s death, the two siblings partitioned the surface… Read More →