Food, Drug, & Agriculture

For those of you following along with the ongoing saga surrounding the definition of “waters of the United States” pursuant to the Clean Water Act, there have been several recent rulings and happenings of which you will want to be aware. Photo by Luiz Felipe Zirbes on Unsplash Background  The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, gave federal jurisdiction to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (COE) over “waters of the United States.”  Essentially, a person who wishes to do certain activities in a water of the United States—such as point source discharge of pollutants or…
September is National Suicide Prevention Month.  This is a topic that is very important to me, so I wanted to do a podcast episode discussing mental health in the agricultural context.  I was joined by Ted Matthews, a counselor who has spent his career working with farm and ranch families as Director of the Minnesota Rural Mental Health Specialists.  Ted offered some great insight about mental health on the farm.  To listen to our conversation, click here. Additionally, we’ve compiled a list of resources related to mental health that I’d like to share. Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline:  833-600-2670…
The Tyler Court of appeals recently affirmed a nuisance verdict and resulting permanent injunction against an East Texas poultry farm. (UA System Division of Agriculture photo by Fred Miller) Background Plaintiffs each own rural property in the Malakoff area of Henderson County, Texas.  In 2015, Defendant Steve Huynh bought 231 acres of land in Malakoff to build a chicken farm.  Steve previously owned and operated chicken barns for Defendant Sanderson.  Both Defendants Timmy Huynh and Thinh Nguyen, relatives of Steve, were approved as growers for Sanderson, and Steve’s Henderson County property was approved as a barn site. Timmy and Thinh…
With deer season coming up soon here in Texas, I’ve started to get a lot of questions and interview requests about hunting leases.  We’ve got a variety of resources–many free–that offer great information for landowners interested in allowing others to hunt on their land.  I thought it might be useful to write a post just outlining and providing links to those various resources in one place. With regard to the two handbooks mentioned below, I’ve linked the free PDF versions, but if you would like to order a hard copy, we have those available for sale by calling Lacrecia at…
Unfortunately, I’ve received several questions recently from people needing to know what end of life documents they need to have in place if a loved one ends up ill or incapacitated.  These topics are never fun to think about, but they are extremely important for everyone to have in place.  While there is countless information about the various tools that can be used and options for someone to consider in determining how best to leave their estate, there are a couple of end of life documents that everyone needs to have in place.  If you’d like to hear more about…
We’ve made it through another week!  I know many of you are new readers thanks to my surprisingly popular post on Monday about brand registrations.  If you missed that post, click here. Photo via Laura McKenzie/Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing and Communications Here is a look at some of the ag law stories recently in the news. * Appellate courts rule on three “ag gag” statutes.  I am going to have a more detailed blog post on this coming in the next couple of weeks, but there have been three decisions from federal appellate courts related to “ag gag” statutes…
In Texas, if a livestock owner uses brands, earmarks, tattoos, or electronic devices to mark their cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, or horses, they must register the brands with the county clerk.  See Texas Agric. Code Sections 144.001; 144.041.  Brands must be registered at the county clerk’s office in any county where the livestock resides.  See Texas Agric. Code Section 144.041.  For example, if we have livestock both in Carson County and in Gray County, we will need to ensure that our brand is registered at both of those county clerk’s offices.  The registration will require identifying the brand itself, along…
After my blog post about amendments to the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act, my email inbox was bombarded with questions about the various signs that landowners should consider having, what the differences are between the signs, and where to purchase the signs.  I thought it might be helpful to do a rundown on the common signs landowners should consider having from a liability protection perspective. Rural landowners should consider hanging two signs from a liability protection perspective: The Texas Farm Animal Liability Act sign and the Texas Agritourism Act sign. Additionally, although not liability-related, rural landowners often have questions related…
It is time for another recap of some of the key agricultural law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. Photo by Vlad Chețan from Pexels * Court orders Maui County to obtain NPDES permit for injection wells on remand.  You all likely remember the US Supreme Court decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, in which the US Supreme Court held that NPDES permits are required for both direct discharges into waters of the United States and for indirect discharges that are the functional equivalent of a direct discharge.  On remand, the trial court…
A recent situation involving the immediate seizure of cattle in Goliad County brought a lot of attention to the laws regarding when livestock can be seized when allegations of animal cruelty have been made. Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels Background  When Mr. Franke, an 81-year old Goliad County cattle rancher died, he left 100 head of cattle and a portion of land to the Padillas, a couple who had worked for Mr. Franke caring for his livestock for years.  Mr. Franke’s children challenged Mr. Franke’s will, arguing they should be entitled to the cattle rather than the Padillas. While…