April 1, 2022 Weekly Round Up

Happy April! We’ve got lots of happenings in the agricultural law world today. *US Supreme Court will hear case challenging constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12. The United States Supreme Court has granted the Petition for Certiorari in National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, a case challenging the animal confinement provisions and corresponding product sales limitations imposed on pork producers. Lower courts dismissed the challenge brought by the National Pork Producers Council and American Farm Bureau Federation claiming that the law runs afoul of the Constitution. [Read article here.]… Read More →

Are Your End of Life Documents in Order?

Recently, I’ve gotten a number of requests from folks wondering what end-of-life documents they should have in place and whether there are forms they can use in order to do so.  For Texas residents, there are actually a number of statutory forms that can be used for many of the end-of-life documents one should have in place. Importantly, understand these are merely end-of-life documents.  There are many other considerations to consider as part of a broader estate plan for which statutory forms do not exist.  This includes wills,… Read More →

Southern Ag Today

For those of you interested in agriculture across the southern United States, we have an exciting new project!  Southern Ag Today is a collaboration between 13 universities across the South, including Texas A&M.  Each weekday, there is a short article on a topic of interest to southern agriculture. Topics range from crop and livestock marketing to policy, farm management to co-ops, international trade to forestry, rural development to agricultural law (obviously my favorite!)   Check out the website and subscribe to hear from some of the best economists… Read More →

March 18, 2022 Weekly Round Up

It has a been a wild couple of weeks around here with seven presentations since the last Weekly Round Up.  Like my schedule, it’s been a busy couple of weeks in the ag law realm as well. * Parties continue settlement discussions in Texas v. New Mexico.  As noted last week, the Special Master overseeing the litigation in Texas v. New Mexico postponed the trial date and gave the parties until March 1 to report back on settlement negotiations.  The parties have asked for additional time to continue ongoing negotiations and will… Read More →

Force Majeure

It is rare seemingly obscure phrases from law school find their way to the news, but recently, that was the case with the phrase “force majeure.” When Bayer announced it would be declaring force majeure in contracts related to glyphosate, there were many questions about what these words meant and the legal impact of a force majeure clause in a contract. Emily Unglesbee from DTN Progressive Farmer interviewed me on this topic and wrote a great article offering the details about force majeure clauses in contracts. To read… Read More →

Case Outlines Texas Requirements for Executing Valid Will

An opinion from the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals last year is a great review of the legal requirements to execute a valid will in Texas. Background Pedro Vera passed away in August 2018.  In October 2018, his former neighbor, Mr. Sanchez, filed an application for probate of Mr. Vera’s holographic (handwritten) will.  Sanchez produced a holographic will purportedly drafted and signed by Mr. Vera on November 25, 2010, during a Thanksgiving dinner. Mr. Vera’s brother, Hector, contested the probate application, claiming that the signature on the holographic… Read More →

March 4, 2022 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  There have been a number of agricultural law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. *Texas Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Hlavinka v. HSC Pipeline Partnership.  The Texas Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in an important eminent domain case analyzing what a pipeline must show in order to claim common carrier status and the ability of a landowner to testify regarding other pipeline easement values.  To read my summary of the court of appeals’ decision being reviewed by the Supreme Court, click… Read More →

Eastland Court of Appeals Rules Oil Company Not Liable for Dead Cows

When over 100 cattle died after exposure from oil and saltwater from oil and gas operations, their owner sued the oil company.  The Eastland Court of Appeals affirmed a take nothing judgment and dismissal in Foote v. Texcel Exploration, Inc. Background Mr. Foote leased property in Knox County, Texas on which he grazed 650 head of cows.  He hired Mr. Cypert to care for the cattle on the lease. Foote traveled to Knox County, met with Cypert, and went to look at Cypert’s facilities and operations.  Foote did not… Read More →

Who Determines Ownership of Water Rights in Texas?

The Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on March 24, 2022 in Pape Partners, Ltd. v. DRR Family Properties LP, a case posing the question of who determines ownership of water rights in Texas, the courts or the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality? Background In 2014, the Papes purchased farmland. As part of the purchase, sellers conveyed surface water rights to the Papes.  The Certificates of Adjudication for the surface water rights was originally in 1986 as part of a judgment in a lawsuit under the Texas Water… Read More →

February 18, 2022 Weekly Round Up

It has been another busy couple of weeks in the agricultural law world.  Here are a few of the stories in the news recently. *Bayer declares force majeure in glyphosate contracts.  Earlier this week, Bayer announced it would declare force majeure in glyphosate contracts due to mechanical issues.  A supplier of an ingredient used in glyphosate is facing mechanical difficulties, which Bayer says it expects to take three months to remedy.  The declaration of force majeure typically excuses the declaring party’s obligations under a contract due to an… Read More →