May 25, 2018 Ag Law Round Up

Good morning from sunny Lubbock, Texas!  I am here for the 12th Annual John Huffaker Ag Law Course, a legal education symposium for attorneys.  I had the privilege of discussing farm and ranch leases yesterday and have really enjoyed the other fantastic speakers on the program. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news over the last couple of weeks: *New Mexico files counterclaims against Texas and United States in water law suit.  The New Mexico Attorney General has filed the State’s Answer to the… Read More →

Water Wars in the US Supreme Court: Why Should Agriculture Care?

I recently did a webinar with my friend and WVU law professor, Jesse Richardson, talking about the various interstate lawsuits at the US Supreme Court dealing with water. We provided an overview of equitable apportionment, walked through four cases–Mississippi v. Tennessee, Florida v. Georgia, Montana v. Wyoming, and Texas v. New Mexico–and then drew some conclusions based on each of these cases, including why agriculture is at the center of each of them. The webinar was recorded, and can be viewed by clicking here.

$50 Million Nuisance Verdict in NC Hog Farm Case

In recent weeks, the big buzz in agricultural law was a verdict in North Carolina, finding a Smithfield Foods subsidiary liable for nuisance and awarding $50 million in damages to neighboring landowners.  Today, we will take a look at that case, discuss why the Right to Farm statute did not apply, and consider how this might have played on in Texas. Background Smithfield Foods and subsidiary Murphy Brown, LLC contracts with a number of hog farmers in North Carolina to raise pigs.  Each farm raises the animals, but… Read More →

May 11, 2018 Weekly Round Up

We’ve made it to another Friday!  To those of you joining from the Montague County Fence Law Meeting yesterday, welcome!  Here are some ag law stories in the news this week. *NC Judge significantly limits award in nuisance lawsuit.  You may recall last week we mentioned the $50 million nuisance verdict in favor of neighbors against Murphy Brown hog farms in North Carolina.  This week, the trial court judge limited the damage award to $3.25 million, which would equate to $325,000 per plaintiff.  This decision was based on… Read More →

Article on My Family’s Operation

The New Mexico Cattle Growers Association recently published this article on my family’s farm and ranch in Eastern New Mexico.  I thought I’d share so you all can know a bit more about where I come from and why I love doing what I do! Dowell Farms Celebrates Earth Day Every Day For ranchers like the Dowell family, who operate Dowell Farms in Quay County, Earth Day is not a one-day event, it’s a way of life. Every day across New Mexico, ranchers care for their land and… Read More →

Syngenta Settlement: What Producers Need To Know

Disclaimer:  This blog post offers only a summary of the detailed information included in the Proposed Settlement and Class Notice.  Producers should review the official documents, which are linked below, for full details. The federal court handling lawsuits filed by farmers against Syngenta over genetically modified corn seed has granted preliminary approval to a proposed settlement agreement.  [View Order here.]  This means that corn farmers meeting the requirements to be considered class members will soon receive notice in their mailbox and instructions on how to proceed. Background In… Read More →

May 4, 2018 Weekly Round Up

Hello and welcome to May!  This week I had a bit of a break and was not on the road.  My friend Jesse Richardson and I did a webinar called Water Wars (discussing several interstate water disputes before the US Supreme Court) for the National Agricultural Law Center.  It was recorded and I’ll do a blog post soon sharing the link for you to listen if you missed it. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. *USDA says GMO food labeling rule… Read More →

EPA: No Animal Waste Emissions Reporting Required for Agriculture

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a new website to make clear the agency’s position on air emissions reporting for animal waste.  You can access that webpage here. As you may recall from this prior blog post and this prior podcast episode, this issue came to the forefront when a federal court held in 2017 that agricultural operations were required to report air emissions under federal law upon finding that the EPA did not have the authority to create an exemption for agriculture.  There are two federal… Read More →

New Texas Rural Land Value Trends Report Published

The most recent Texas Rural Land Value Trends Report (2017) has been released by the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. For a copy of the 2017 Report, click here. This is an extremely useful resource for Texas landowners. According to the Report, state-wide average land values were up to $2,644/acre, the strongest growth since 2014.  In order to assist landowners in analyzing their land values, the Report breaks the state into 7 regions (and even further by sub-region) and discusses land values, average… Read More →

April 27, 2018 Weekly Round Up

Welcome to our final Weekly Round Up post for April.  How can it be May already?  This week, I traveled to Canadian to present at the Hemphill County Beef Conference and then gave online presentations to groups in Kerrville and Cameron County.  Welcome to those of you joining from those events! Here are some ag law stories in the news this week. *Judge gives preliminary approval to Syngenta settlement.  Earlier this month, the federal judge presiding over the Syngenta class action litigation granted preliminary approval of the parties’… Read More →