May 29, 2020 Weekly Round Up

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Thanks for joining us for another Ag Law Weekly Round Up!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. *CFAP program sign up is underway.  Sign up for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program is open through August 28, 2020.  For more information on this program, click here for the TAMU Ag & Food Policy Center overview of the program.  For sign up information and forms necessary, click here. *Sackett Clean Water Act litigation continues.  Back in 2012, the US Supreme… Read More →

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: What About Those County Roads with the Cattle Guards?

Question:  I live in a county with a stock law, so a livestock owner may not “permit” livestock to run at large.  There are several county roads that run through a pasture with cattle guards at both ends that are not fenced.  Are those livestock owners violating the local stock law? Answer:  This is a question I’ve gotten from several folks all across the state, including landowners and even a county judge.  Although it seems that those landowners allowing cattle to be on the county road would be… Read More →

Overview of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

On April 17, 2020, President Trump announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), designed to provide funding to partner with regional and local distributors to purchase fresh produce, dairy, and meat products and to provide direct support to agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted and to assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19. On May 19, 2020, the USDA released details of the direct support programs.  The… Read More →

Appellate Court Finds High-Speed Rail Meets Required Definitions for Eminent Domain Authority

A recent decision, Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure v. Miles,  from the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals  garnered substantial media coverage.  Are the companies proposing Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail, Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc. (TCRI) and Integrated Texas Logistics (ITL), considered “railroad companies” or “interurban electric railways”  such that they have eminent domain power? [Read full opinion here.] Background  This case revolves around the proposed high-speed electric-powered passenger train that would run between Dallas and Houston. In 2012, TXHS Railroad, Inc. was formed and in 2015, the company changed… Read More →

May 15, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the ag law front.  Here are some of the cases in the news. *Appellate court finds Texas Central Railroad is a “railroad company” and an “interurban electric railway.”  One of the main legal battles over the proposed high speed rail project in Central Texas has been whether the builder, Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc. qualifies as a “railroad company” or an “interurban electric railway.”  If so, the company would likely be entitled to use eminent domain to… Read More →

New Owning Your Piece of Texas Dates

After having to postpone two of our Spring events, we are excited to announce the dates for three upcoming Owning Your Piece of Texas programs this fall.  We appreciate your flexibility and patience with us during this time. Our remaining 2020 events will be:  Conroe (August 20); Burnet (September 15); Seguin (October 7). These day-long events focus on the key legal issues facing rural landowners and agricultural producers.  To find more information or to register, please click here. We will be looking forward to seeing you this fall!

50-State Survey: Liability for Pesticide Drift

Landowners who apply or contract for the application of pesticide may have concern over their potential liability should pesticide drift occur and cause damage to neighboring crops. Generally, lawsuits related to drift sound in negligence. However, there are two additional potential claims that may arise in these cases of which landowners should be aware.  Hannes Zetzsche, a third-year law student at the University of Nebraska, and I recently co-authored an article on liability for pesticide drift.  In particular, the article looks at two important questions and offers the… Read More →

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: Can One Co-Owner Grant an Easement to a Third-Party?

Question:  Can one co-owner of property grant an easement to a third party or is consent from all co-owners required? Answer:  “It is well settled that a tenant in common cannot, without the precedent authority or subsequent ratification of his cotenants, impose an easement or dedication upon the common property in favor of a third party.”   See Tex. Mortg. Co. v. Phillips Petrol. Co., 470 F.2d 497 (5th Cir. 1972) (applying Texas law).  In other words, without the consent of all co-owners, or their subsequent agreement to the terms… Read More →

May 1, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Happy May Day to all!  I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Here are some of the biggest ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. *Navigable Waters Protection Rule is published.  The WOTUS saga continues.  The Trump administration’s definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, newly named “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” was published in the Federal Register on April 21.  I’ll have a blog post discussing the details soon, but for now if you want to read… Read More →

US Supreme Court Decides Maui County Clean Water Act Case

The much-anticipated United States Supreme Court decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund was released last week.  It is a fascinating decision that results in the Court adopting a “functional equivalent” test.  [Click here.] Background Under the federal Clean Water Act, it is unlawful to discharge a pollutant from a point source into a Water of the United States without obtaining a federal permit.  The question before the US Supreme Court is whether a permit is required when pollutants originate from a point source, but travel through… Read More →