Welcome to June! I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather and sure pray we get some rain soon here in the Texas Panhandle. Last week, I traveled to Quanah to do a presentation on hunting leases at an Extension Wildlife Conference. Welcome to those joining from that event.
Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.
* NM State Land Commissioner alleges that Texas landowners are stealing NM water and selling it back across the border for fracking. The Texas Tribune published an article this week in which NM State Land Commissioner, Aubrey Dunn, alleges theft of New Mexico groundwater. Dunn claims that groundwater pumping along the boarder is depleting the shared aquifer with wells in Texas and then selling it back over the border to oil and gas companies in New Mexico who could not get the proper pumping permits to drill in New Mexico. This presents an interesting issue of how neighboring states with differing legal approaches to groundwater can co-exist and manage withdraws along the border. In Texas, a landowner owns his groundwater and use is governed by the rule of capture, but in New Mexico, prior appropriation rules and a person has to obtain a permit from the state to use groundwater. Further, in Loving County, Texas, where this pumping occurs, there is no local Groundwater Conservation District to manage or permit groundwater pumping. [Read article here.]
*John Deere sues AGCO and Precision Planting over alleged patent infringement. John Deere claims that AGCO and Precision Planting’s new high-speed planters infringe on patents held by John Deere for their ExactEmerge planter. As attorney Todd Janzen points out, because the Deere patent is so recent (2014), this case has a lot of dollars at stake and will likely be extremely hard-fought by both sides. [Read Complaint here and blog post here.]
* Senate Ag Committee releases draft of Farm Bill. Just this afternoon, the US Senate Ag Committee released its draft of the Farm Bill. As you can imagine, it is lengthy and I have not yet made my way through the text, but I wanted to provide you a link to the draft bill if you’d like some weekend reading on farm policy. [Read draft bill here.]
*Articles discuss feral hog problem in Texas. Feral hogs were the topic of an interesting Texas Standard article this week. Andy Uhler published an article called, Feral swine, “the worst invasive species we’ll ever see.” It provides a good overview of the issues that feral hogs cause for landowners and ag producers across the state and outlines the various methods attempting to control this issue. [Read article here.]
*Registration open for the American Agricultural Law Association Conference. Registration is officially open for the AALA Conference this year in Portland, Oregon on October 25-27, 2018. This organization is near and dear to my heart and has allowed me to meet some of the most brilliant ag lawyers across the country, who are now some of my best friends. If you’re involved in ag law, you need to be there! I’m happy to answer any questions you have! [Find more info here.]