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New Farm Animal Liability Signs
Raising cattle is both a business and a way of life that is fraught with danger and unpredictability. There are many aspects of a rancher’s job that we have little control over, from the weather to cattle prices. We've all become accustomed to this lack of control to the point that we rarely consider the most unpredictable of all—the livestock themselves.
  
Working with livestock, especially large animals like cattle, is inherently a risky business. That’s why the Texas Legislature passed the Farm Animal Liability Act back in 2011. Simply put, the Act was designed to protect livestock producers and others from liability for property damage, injury or death that results from the fundamental risks associated with farm animal activities.

Unfortunately, the legal language was a ambiguous and was challenged in court soon after it became law. In fact in 2013, a ranch hand was trampled to death by a bull. Although, the ranch hand had worked on the ranch for eight years and was fully aware of the hazards of the position, his family sued the rancher for wrongful death. The rancher, on his part, claimed that the Farm Animal Liability Act exempted him from liability.

The case was heard before the Texas Supreme Court after navigating its way through the courts. The Texas Supreme Court ruled in June 2020 that the Farm Animal Activity Act does not extend to ranchers and ranch employees in a 6-2 court decision.
 
As a result of the ruling, if you did not have worker’s compensation insurance and one of your farm or ranch hands happened to be injured by livestock, you could have been held liable. This was a tremendous legal risk for cattle producers that I knew must immediately be addressed. As a rancher, attorney, and member of the Texas House of Representatives, I filed House Bill 365 to amend the Farm Animal Liability Act to definitively provide adequate legal protection for the farmer and ranchers that need it. House Bill 365 was passed by the Texas Legislature, has been signed by Governor and, starting September 1, 2021, will become Texas law and will proactively clarify that the liability limitations afforded in Farm Animal Liability statutes apply to farmers, ranchers and their workers.
 
House Bill 365 Signage Requirements
Caption: Notices must reflect the information shown above.
As a component of the new legislation, farms and ranches are required to ensure that appropriate notices are provided on their farms and ranches. Landowners and lessees can make their signage, and various organizations are currently distributing them; the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and Texas Farm Bureau are among them. Since the language will change on September 1, I strongly recommend obtaining a sign that has the most up-to-date statutory language to ensure proper liability coverage.

Ranching is a hard way of life, but one that is absolutely essential. Many of the risks and challenges faced by cattle producers every day are out of their control, but we can control legal liability. Many family livestock operations simply could not weather an unexpected lawsuit and continue to feed America at the same time. I am proud that HB 365 was signed into law so we can help producers get back to the business of raising our food, and I urge all those involved in the livestock industry to get the appropriate signage to ensure they are protected.
Senator Springer and I at Governor Abbott's signing ceremony for House Bill 365. 
Farm and Ranch Survey
Farms and ranches are the backbone of Texas and a key component in our local economies throughout Texas. Many of these farms and ranches are often passed down through generations of families and represent some of the key values associated with being a Texan -- hard work, determination, a commitment to conservation, and deep respect for Texas heritage. This session, I authored multiple pieces of legislation aimed at addressing issues in the Ag appraisal process and worked closely with Senator Charles Perry on Senate Bill 1245. SB 1245, which takes effect on September 1, takes strong steps towards ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the Farm and Ranch Survey for both landowners and chief appraisers so land used for agricultural purposes can be best appraised for tax purposes. In preparation, the Comptroller published the proposal for the 2021 Texas Farm and Ranch Survey and request comments.

To view the proposed Farm and Ranch Survey, click here.
Republican Andrew Murr is proud to represent Bandera, Crockett, Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Llano, Mason, Medina, Menard, Real, Schleicher and Sutton Counties in the Texas House of Representatives.  
Contact Information

Capitol Address:
Room E1.308
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Phone (512) 463-0536


District Address:
507 Earl Garrett
Kerrville, Texas 78028
Phone (830) 257-0432
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