Court Determines Meaning of “Oil and Gas” in Century-Old Pipeline Easement

The Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston recently issued an opinion in Texan Land and Cattle II v. ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., a case involving a dispute over the meaning of the words “oil and gas” included in a 1919 pipeline easement agreement.  This case is a good reminder for landowners about the importance of drafting detailed easement agreements and the long-lasting effects these easements can have on property. Background Texan Land and Cattle (TLC) own a piece of land in Harris County.  In 1919, the prior owner of the… 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 →

August 2, 2019 Weekly Round Up

Welcome to August!  I’m not sure how the summer has flown by, but here we are.  These are a few of the ag law stories in the news this week. *Second round of Market Facilitation Program payment rates announced.  Last week, the USDA announced payments for round 2 of the Market Facilitation Program.  These payments are designed to provide assistance to farmers of commodities impacted by “unjustified foreign retaliatory tariffs, resulting in the loss of traditional export markets.”  Payment rates have been set per county for qualifying crops. … Read More →

Ag Land Sale and Grazing Lease Gone Wrong

The facts underlying the Austin Court of Appeals decision in Marek v. Lehrer are an agricultural real estate deal gone terribly wrong.  This case is a great example of why it is so important to have every agreement  put into writing and timely signed by the parties. Factual Background R.L. Lehrer, a cattle rancher in San Saba County decided to sell 257 acres of his property and to lease the property back to continue grazing his cattle.  He planned to use the proceeds from the property sale and from… Read More →

Ferrell Publishes “Understanding Solar Energy Agreements”

Many landowners in Texas and around the country are being approached by solar energy developers seeking to lease land to build solar projects. Recently, my friend and counterpart at Oklahoma State University, Shannon Ferrell, published a great guide looking at the law related to solar lease agreements through the National Agricultural Law Center.  Shannon is without question the national expert on renewable energy leases, so anyone considering a solar lease agreement should review Shannon’s guide. To download a copy, click here. Additionally,  if you want to listen to… Read More →

July 19, 2019 Weekly Round Up

It’s been a busy week on the ag law front in Texas.  Here are some of the stories in the news this week. *Texas water battle featured in Wall Street Journal.  A water fight in Pecos County was featured in a Wall Street Journal article this week.  The article does a good job illustrating the tensions between landowners, agricultural producers, oil and gas companies, and Texas law.  [Read article here.] *New law allows killing feral hogs without hunting license.  As of September 1, 2019, no hunting license is… 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 →

July 12, 2019 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news recently. *Texas Supreme Court grants petition for review in Garcia v. Pruski.  As you may recall from this prior post, the San Antonio Court of Appeals issued a ruling in a fence law case involving a bull out on a State Highway in Wilson County, which has a local stock law.  The appellate court found that both the “knowingly permit” standard applicable to state and US highways and the “permit” standard applicable in Wilson County pursuant to… Read More →

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

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 states.  For more information on state-specific regulations, click here. Background The ADT program began in… Read More →

Attorney General Opinion Sought in Fence Law Issue

Representative Poncho Nevarez has filed a request for an Attorney General Opinion to provide guidance on how stray livestock should be handled in an open range county. [Read request here.]  This is an issue not previously addressed by a Texas appellate court, on which there is a good deal of confusion, and on which I receive a lot of questions.  It will be very interesting to see what opinion the AG offers. Legal Background Presidio County, Texas is open range.  The county has never passed a local stock… Read More →