Texas Landowner’s Guide to the Endangered Species Act

Do you have questions about exactly what the Endangered Species Act is and how it applies to you as a private landowner?  We’ve got a fact sheet for that! Dr. John Tomacek, Kathryn Smith-Hicks, and I recently wrote a publication to help landowners get up to speed on the basics of this important, and complex, federal law.  Although the title focuses on Texas landowners, since this is a federal law, the fact sheet should be applicable to use and useful for landowners across the country. You can download… Read More →

January 19, 2018 Weekly Round Up

Welcome to those of you joining from the program I did in Clarendon on Wednesday and those of you who attended the Caprock Crops Conference at the Floyd County Friends Unity Center. Here are some of the biggest ag law stories in the news this week. * Article summarizing speeches at American Farm Bureau Convention.  I was honored to be included in an article summarizing presentations made at the recent American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in Nashville.  The article mentions presentations given by my friend Paul Goeringer and… Read More →

How Will Tax Reform Affect Agriculture?

Many people are wondering exactly how the sweeping “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” will impact their personal tax returns and what the law might mean for agriculture. I’m no tax law expert, but luckily, I know someone who is!  I was fortunate to have Kristine Tidgren from the Iowa State Center for Ag Law and Taxation join me on a recent episode of the Ag Law in the Field Podcast to discuss the ins and outs of the new tax reform law.  You can listen to the podcast… Read More →

Egg Production Practices Subject of Supreme Court Lawsuits

It is not all that often that agricultural issues make their way before the Justices of the United States Supreme Court, but recently two lawsuits were filed in the High Court involving state laws governing egg production. Background In 2008, California voters passed Proposition 2, the “Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act,” which mandated minimum cage sizes (116 square inches of floor space per chicken) for egg farms in the state of California.  The regulations were intended to allow hens to lie down, stand up, turn around, and… Read More →

January 12, 2017 Weekly Round Up

It was a busy week around here as I traveled to Nashville to speak at the American Farm Bureau Federation Conference.  It was my first time to be on the same agenda as the President, so that was quite exciting!  To those of you joining from that conference, welcome to the blog!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.   * US Supreme Court will not hear Endangered Species Act case involving Utah prairie dog.  You may remember a case in Utah where… Read More →

Pipeline Easement Negotiation Checklist and Podcast

If you’ve ever gotten notice that a pipeline company is planning on coming across your property and you found yourself facing the task of negotiating an easement, you know how intimidating that can be.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that you, as a landowner, do have rights!  You can and should take time to really negotiate with the company to ensure you are receiving adequate compensation and have included terms in the agreement to protect your property. In the last couple of months, I’ve… Read More →

9th Circuit Ruling on Idaho “Ag Gag” Statute

The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit issued a ruling on the constitutionality of Idaho’s Interference with Agricultural Production (commonly referred to as an “ag gag”) statute.  The Court affirmed in part the lower court decision holding a portion of the statute unconstitutional but upheld two specific statutory provisions.  [Read full Opinion here.] Background After an undercover video showed abuse at an Idaho dairy, the Idaho Legislature passed the “Interference with Agricultural Production” law in 2014. The statute was drafted by the Idaho Dairymen’s Association with a… Read More →

January 5, 2018 Weekly Round Up

Hello and Happy New Year!  I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful holiday.  We’re back in the saddle and here are some of the top ag law stories in the news this first week of 2018. *US Supreme Court gears up for oral argument in Texas v. New Mexico.  On Monday, Justices will hear oral arguments at the US Supreme Court in the water law case Texas v. New Mexico.  This case involves a 1938 Rio Grande Compact that requires New Mexico to deliver water at the Elephant Butte Reservoir… Read More →

2018 Estate Tax Changes

With the start of a new year and the passage of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” there are important changes to the federal estate tax.  Everyone should take time to understand the current and any new estate tax law and to evaluate his or her estate to determine if estate tax liability may be an issue. Federal Estate Tax Basics The federal estate tax is essentially a tax on a person’s right to transfer property at death.  If a person’s taxable estate is valued over the exemption… Read More →

Happy Holidays!

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year!