**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.**
First off, we want to take the chance to thank all of Texas Agriculture Blog readers! This blog began with zero readers or subscribers at the end of June. Now, less than 6 months later, we have over 235 email subscribers and had over 1,800 readers last month. We appreciate your support! Please feel free to pass the website information on to others who might be interested.
If you have any requests or suggestions for posts you would like to see in 2014, please leave a comment below!
Now, on to the point of this post. On this final day of 2013, we wanted to take a look back on the most popular ag law stories this year.
1. Water. I suspect that water issues will continue to be the top agriculture story and concern for many years to come. This blog has written several water-related posts this year, including our series on Texas Water Wars, which looked at disputes between Texas and its neighboring states and Mexico. This blog also undertook to provide basic information about Texas water law as it applies to groundwater and surface water. We also closely followed numerous ongoing controversies impacting Texas water, including the San Antonio Court of Appeals’ decision in Bragg v. EAA, which found the EAA denial of irrigation permits to a pecan farmer to be a taking. In the upcoming year, we intend to continue providing information about basic water laws, as well as keeping you up to date on any current issues related to water.
2. AQHA Cloning Litigation. Each time that the cloning lawsuit is discussed on this blog, we get extensive feedback. In June, a federal jury in Amarillo found that the AQHA rules that ban the registration of cloned animals or their offspring violated federal and state antitrust laws. Although the jury awarded no monetary damages in the case, the judge ordered the AQHA to begin allowing the registration of clones immediately, although that has been stayed pending appeal. Read all posts here. This case is currently pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and we will be keeping a close eye on the litigation throughout the next year.
3. Right to Farm Laws. In addition to providing basic information about the Texas Right to Farm law, we also kept you up to date on a number of right to farm decisions coming down across the country this year, including an Indiana decision dismissing a suit against a hog farmer and Tennessee decision ruling that rock concerts were not considered farming. These blog posts led to several interview requests from reporters across the country who had never heard of right to farm laws.
4. Horse Slaughter Litigation. The litigation surrounding the opening of plants in the United States to slaughter horses for human consumption has been one of the most controversial topics of the year. It has also been full of twists and turns, including several court decisions and appeals. We will have more information on current happenings in this week’s Weekly Round Up. Read all posts discussing this issue here.
5. Importance of Written Leases. During the 2013 Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course, I was able to speak to a group of about 125 producers about the importance of written grazing and bull leases. Because of their great comments and interest during the session, I wrote a couple of articles discussing the importance of written leases. We received great feedback after articles were published in the Progressive Cattleman Magazine and the Clovis Livestock Market News newspaper. Blair Fannin with Texas A&M also wrote an article about my presentation that was published in over 20 different publications including Southwest Farm Press, Beef Magazine, and the Western Livestock Journal.