October 4, 2019 Weekly Round Up

Happy October!  It finally feels like fall in the Texas Panhandle and I’m sure enjoying it.  Here are a few ag law stories that have been in the news over the past couple of weeks. * Elder law podcast is a must listen.  I don’t usually share my own podcast episodes in the Weekly Round Up, but the interview I posted this week with elder law attorney, Kristen Porter, is one that I really think is so important, especially for farm and ranch families.  Kristen talked us through… Read More →

Case Offers Important Considerations When Purchasing Property

A recent case from the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals, Chapa v. Arrellano, caught my attention and offers the chance to talk through some important reminders for anyone purchasing land. Background In August 2017, Chapa purchased a piece of land from the Arrellanos in Hidalgo County, Texas.  She intended to build a home on the property.  Prior to purchase, she conducted a visual inspection of the land and saw no visible impediment for the construction of a home on the property.  She did not hire a title company or… Read More →

2019 USDA NASS State and County Cash Rent Survey Results

Today’s blog post contains maps developed by Dr. Justin Benavidez, our District Economist here in Amarillo.  Dr. Benavidez has been an outstanding addition to our AgriLife faculty and has even taught me–a lawyer–about economics, so you know he’s got to be good!  Dr. Benavidez has a blog, and you can subscribe to receive his posts as emails to you.  Click here to learn more.   If you’re curious what average cash rent rates are in your area, we’ve got the info for you! USDA NASS Cash Rent Survey… Read More →

September 20, 2019 Weekly Round Up

Hello and Happy Friday!  I want to welcome those of you joining us from our recent Owning Your Piece of Texas program in College Station and our Ranchers Leasing Workshop in Ft. Worth.  Also, welcome to those of you from Goliad County where I beamed in for a program yesterday. Here are some ag law stories in the news the past couple of weeks. *2015 WOTUS Rule Repealed.  You may have seen in the news that the EPA has issued the final rule repealing the 2015 WOTUS definition. … Read More →

Ag Law in the Field Podcast – Episodes 51-60

If you haven’t listened to our award-winning Ag Law in the Field Podcast yet, you are missing out!  Every episode I interview an ag lawyer or other expert on an agricultural law topic.  These audio files are free to listen and hear my chats with some of the absolute best in the business. Don’t let the technology scare you–I promise it’s not hard to listen in.  You can listen on your smart phone’s podcast app or on iTunes, or you can listen on your computer.  Below, if you… Read More →

2019 USDA Land Values Summary

The USDA recently released their 2019 Land Values Summary, which reports average agricultural land values across the United States.  To view the report, click here.   The report looks at the value of agricultural land across the country in several different categories.  Information comes from USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service survey responses. The broadest measure of land value in the report is the “farm real estate value.”  This measures the current market value of “all land and buildings used for agricultural production, including dwellings.”  For 2019, the average… Read More →

September 6, 2019 Weekly Round Up

You may have noticed I’ve been a little bit MIA here and on social media.  I spent three weeks in August in and out of the hospital with a medical issue, but I’m feeling much better and am back in the saddle.  I’ve got an overwhelming number of emails and voicemails from my absence, but am working on getting back to folks as soon as possible. I want to be sure and welcome those of you joining the blog from Beef Cattle Short Course, the Owning Your Piece… Read More →

Is Owner Liable for Injury Caused by Lamby the Guard Sheep?

Is the owner of a “guard sheep” named Lamby liable for injuries to a person allegedly headbutted by the sheep?  Let’s take a look at Gonzalez v. Ahrens, a recent case from the Houston (14th) Court of Appeals. Background Mr. Ahrens owns a farm near Yoakum, TX and has a number of species of livestock.  He kept one sheep that he raised as a bottle lamb, named Lamby as his pet and “guard sheep” due to prior break ins. Lamby slept in the house and was friendly, but… Read More →

Case Illustrates Important Rule When Protesting Property Taxes

In March of this year, the First Court of Appeals in Houston issued an opinion in Grimes County Appraisal District v. Harvey, which is a good illustration of an important legal requirement for persons protesting actions of an appraisal district related to property taxes. Background James Harvey owns 91 acres in Grimes County.  For the 2015 tax year, the property received agricultural use valuation and the tax bill was $138.13, which Mr. Harvey paid.  In early 2016, the Grimes County Appraisal District (GCAD) sought a re-application from Mr…. Read More →

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 →