Happy Friday from the cold, snowy Texas Panhandle.  Here are a few of the ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks.

Photo via Maddie Ford, Allison, TX

*United States Supreme Court to review Sackett v. EPAThe US Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in Sackett v. EPA in order to answer a very important question under the Clean Water Act:  What is the proper tests for courts to use in determining whether a wetland is considered a Water of the United States?  The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit applied Justice Kennedy’s “significant nexus” test, but the Sacketts argue it should be Justice Scalia’s “relatively permanent body of water with a continuous surface connection.”  [Read article here.]  If you want to delve more into the current WOTUS situation, stay tuned for Monday’s blog post!

*Texas Supreme Court sets oral arguments in Hlavinka and Pape cases.  Two cases of consequence to rural landowners in Texas will be argued in the coming months before the Texas Supreme Court.  Hlavinka v. HSC Pipeline Partnership will be argued on February 23 and  involves an eminent domain issue on determining when a pipeline sufficiently proves its common carrier status and an evidentiary issue about lay damage testimony.  To read my summary of the appellate court opinion, click here.  Pape Partners, Ltd. v. DRR Family Properties will be argued March 24 and involves the question of whether the TCEQ has the authority to grant surface water rights ownership in disputes between parties.  The appellate court held the TCEQ does have this jurisdiction, while the Pape’s argue they do not.  Be sure you are subscribed to this blog, as I will keep you posted once the rulings are issued.

*Carbon contract interviews and articles.  You may recall a couple of weeks ago I released my blog post discussing key carbon contracting considerations for rural landowners and ag producers.  That generated a number of interview requests.  To hear me chatting about this topic with the Texas Standard, click here.  To hear my interview with Ag News Daily, click here.

*Do you have sufficient uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage?  This is not a recent article, but there is some great information from the Texas Tribune that everyone should consider when looking at your auto insurance policies.   UM/UIM motorist coverage is something that is easy to overlook, but can be an extremely important protection in certain situations. [Read article here.]

*Article discusses suicide and farm family.  If you have been here for a while, you know that the issue of mental health and agriculture is one near and dear to my heart.  By sharing stories of our own mental health challenges, we can help decrease the stigma surrounding mental health in rural America.  Maddie Caldwell did just that in a recent article from Pork Business.  To read Maddie’s difficult, but important story, click here.  (Please note, this article does discuss the topic of suicide.)  To listen to several podcast episodes I have done on the topic of mental health and agriculture, click here.

Upcoming Presentations

Next week, I’ll be hitting the road for our Owning Your Piece of Texas program in Conroe on Monday, Feb. 7 and our Ranchers Leasing Workshop in Brenham on Feb. 8.  We are sold out for Conroe, but remember we do have an online course option available.  If you are interested in joining us in Brenham for the Ranchers Leasing Workshop, click here.

On Wednesday, Feb.12, I’m going to be joining a panel discussion on carbon markets hosted by Sonja Begemann at SeedWorld Group.

The following week, you’ll find me in Hereford to talk estate planning on Feb. 15 and back on my home county in Tucumcari, New Mexico on Feb. 19 for their Annie’s Project course.

As always, you can see my complete speaking schedule here.

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