Hiring & Firing on the Farm: What You Need to Know

I recently wrote an article for Progressive Forage magazine on considerations for agricultural employers when hiring and firing employees. There are a number of considerations for employers to keep in mind from thoroughly investigating applicants to ensuring proper paperwork is completed to knowing what question to ask (and not ask!) in an interview.  Additionally, if the time comes to let someone go, employers should be aware of the law regarding termination and ensure they play by the rules. My article is available here and I also recently interviewed… Read More →

September 15, 2017 Weekly Round Up

It has been a bit of a crazy week around here and I apologize to anyone who has called or emailed and not gotten a quick response from me.  On Monday, my two year old landed in the hospital after fighting a nasty stomach virus for two weeks.  He is home and doing much better now, but as you can imagine, work got put on the back burner.  I am back in the saddle now and here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. *Number… Read More →

Texas Rural Land Value Trends Published

I have received many calls recently inquiring about average land leasing rates across the state.  There are two major publications that offer this type of data to landowners.  In addition to the USDA NASS survey results I blogged about earlier this month, the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers publishes the Texas Rural Land Value Trends Report. This publication, which comes out each April, looks at land prices for the prior year across Texas, broken down into 7 regions and then into several sub-regions…. Read More →

Best Legal Blog Contest Nominations

The Expert Institute is currently accepting nominations for its Best Legal Blog Contest.  Of course, we would love for you to consider nominating the Texas Agricultural Law Blog for this honor if you enjoy our content. From now through September 15, 2017 readers can nominate their favorite legal blog and bloggers to be included on the list of nominees.  The blogs with the most nominations will then be included in the final round where the public is given the chance to vote for its favorite legal blog/blogger. The… Read More →

Landowners Leasing Property for Hunting Required to Obtain License from the State

With the fall comes opening day of several popular hunting seasons across the state.  For Texas landowners, this often means entering into hunting lease agreements that generate added income for the operation.  Under Texas law, a landowner leasing private property for hunting in return for any type of compensation is required to obtain a Hunting Lease License from Texas Parks and Wildlife  (“TPW”).  Note, this is separate from a hunting license that the hunter must possess. Under TPW rules, a private landowner or the landowner’s agent may not… Read More →

September 1, 2017 Ag Law Weekly Round Up

It has been quite a week here in Texas.  To those of you suffering the devastating floods, our thoughts and prayers are with you. To those of you joining us this week who attended the Ranchers Leasing Workshops in Lubbock and College Station, welcome to the blog!  Also, happy to have new followers from the estate planning program I recently spoke at in Longview. Here are some of the ag law stories making news this week. *WOTUS Rule repeal comment period extended through September 27, 2017.  The Environmental… Read More →

Prescribed Burning: Liability & Insurance Considerations

My friend and colleague, Dr. Morgan Russell, and I recently published a fact sheet looking at liability and insurance considerations when conducting a prescribed burn. With burning being a popular grassland management technique across Texas, landowners should take the time to understand the law regarding liability in the event a burn gets out of control and causes damage, to carefully review and comply with Texas’ limited liability statute for prescribed burning, and ensure they have adequate insurance coverage in case the worst does occur.  This fact sheet walks landowners… Read More →

New Rules for Agricultural Product Purchase Contracts

The Texas Legislature passed a new bill, the Producer Protection Act, effective September 1, that changes rules for purchase contracts for agricultural products.  The bill was sponsored by Representative Dustin Burrows and Senator Charles Perry.  It was signed by Governor Abbott on June 15, 2017 and takes effect September 1, 2017. Essentially, the new legislation does two things.  First, it requires a contract to state whether it is an acreage or quantity contract.  Second, it imposes limitations on lawsuits filed against producers using acreage contracts.  [Read full bill here.]… Read More →

August 18, 2017 Weekly Round Up

Last week I was in College Station to speak at the TAMU Beef Cattle Short Course.  Our session, titled “Ask an Ag Lawyer” featured Jim Bradbury, James Decker, Kyle Weldon, and myself and was quite a hit.  We recorded a podcast summarizing the session and sharing our favorite questions.  If you are interested in listing to that, click here.  A big thanks to Dr. Jason Cleere and his team for putting on such a wonderful event. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this… Read More →

Duarte v. Corps of Engineers: California Wheat Farmer Settles Clean Water Act Lawsuit

This week, it was announced that the parties have reached a settlement agreement in the Duarte Nursery v. Army Corps of Engineers.  This case has been a high-profile concern for landowners and agricultural producers across the United States. Background In 2012, Duarte Nursery purchased 450 acres land in Tehama County, California with the intent to farm the land, initially by sowing winter wheat.  The property, north of Sacramento, consists of rolling grassland.  Prior to 1988, the land had been farmed, but from 1988 until the Duarte purchased in 2012, the land… Read More →