It is hard to believe we have reached the end of April, but here we are!  Lots of agricultural law news happening around the country.

Photo by Bailey Alexander on Unsplash

*Article highlights nuance with 10% cap on residence homestead tax.  My colleague, Dr. Blake Bennett, recently published a fact sheet looking at a nuance within the Texas Property Code related to the 10% cap on the yearly increase for residence homestead taxes in Texas.  The Texas Property Code places a 10% limitation on the amount a County Appraisal District may increase the appraised value of a residential homestead from one year to the next.  Critically, however, that exemption does not take effect until January 1 of the tax year following the first tax year the owner qualifies the property for the exemption.  Dr. Bennett’s article offers several examples to show how this plays out.  This is great information, particularly as people are currently receiving Notices of Appraised Values and determining whether they wish to protest.  [Read article here.]

*Texas Central Railway allegedly behind $600,000 in property taxes.  A number of Texas counties have filed an amicus brief in Miles v. Texas Central Railway alleging that Texas Central has failed to pay approximately $600,000 in property taxes on the parcels of land for which the company is listed as owner.   [Read article here.]

*US Supreme Court will not review ruling striking down Kansas “ag gag” law.  The United States Supreme Court denied Kansas’ Petition for Certiorari to review a Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision holding the Kansas law unconstitutional.  I did a prior blog post on the Tenth Circuit opinion here.  [Read article here.]

*Arizona cage-free mandate requirement pushed back to 2025.  Arizona egg producers will have additional time to prepare to comply with a state law mandating that all eggs sold in the state come from cage-free hens.  Initially, the law was set to go into effect in May 2023, but the Arizona Department of Agriculture has pushed that deadline to January 2025.  There is a minimum floor space requirement that will be imposed in the interim, going into effect from October 1, 2022 through the end of 2024.  [Read article here.]  Do keep in mind that all eyes are on the United States Supreme Court and the Constitutional challenge to California’s Prop 12.  [Read prior blog post here.]  The outcome in that case certainly could have significant impacts on this Arizona law as well.

*Widow offers advice on what to do after losing a spouse.  I read an article offering a seemingly simple tip after someone dies: Be sure to get bills out of their name.  Additionally, the article also highlights the importance of having a valid will and designating an executor of the estate as ways to help simplify the process for loved ones left behind.  [Read article here.]

*Study shows that longer-term leases likely to increase conservation measures.  DTN Progressive Farmer recently highlighted the results from an Iowa State University study looking at the adoption of conservation practices on leased land. Not surprisingly, the study found that farmers are more likely to implement conservation practices on leased land when the lease is for a term of more than 2 years.  This is likely because it is difficult for a farmer to  reap the benefits and recover the costs of implementing these practices in a two-year time frame. I think that is an interesting consideration for both landowners and tenants when negotiating lease agreements.  [Read article here.]

Upcoming Programs

On Monday, I’ll be in Kansas City presenting on carbon contracts with Dr. Jordan Shockley at the CIPA Meeting.  On Thursday, I’ll be headed back to the homeland with an opportunity to speak on carbon contracts with Dr. Justin Benavidez in Clovis, New Mexico.

Also, we are excited to have registration up and running for our “Where’s the Beef: Legal & Economic Considerations for Direct Beef Sales Businesses” programs!  These FREE events will offer a deep dive for anyone interested in selling beef directly to the consumer.  We’ll be in Amarillo on June 17 (register here) and in Brenham on August 26 (register here).

As always, find my full upcoming program list here.

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