June 20, 2014 Weekly Round Up

This has been a busy week!  On Monday evening, I was in Wheeler, Texas giving a presentation on estate and succession planning.  County Agent Dale Dunlap invited me to come and I was impressed with the great questions from the audience on these important issues.

On Tuesday, I headed for Boston for the Universities Council on Water Resources Conference at Tufts, University.  I was fortunate to present on two panels at the conference.  On Tuesday, I spoke along with Dr. Ari Michelsen of Texas A&M and Dr. Brian Hurd of New Mexico State University on the potential impacts of the Texas v. New Mexico and Colorado Supreme Court lawsuit.  On Wednesday afternoon, I was part of the “Water Wars” session and discussed various interstate water disputes along with Jesse Richardson of West Virginia University, Drew Kershen of the University of Oklahoma, and Jim Bradbury, a practicing attorney in Ft. Worth.  It was a great conference and I enjoyed the chance to participate.

Water Wars presentation

Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.

* Texas Water Development Board Releases Draft Rules. The Texas Water Development Board has unveiled its draft rules for awarding SWIFT funding.  The SWIFT fund, approved by voters last November, will provide loans for water projects across the state.  Pursuant to statute, at least 10% of funds must be awarded in rural areas and 15% for conservation and reuse projects.  The draft rules propose a point based system for evaluating projects. Public comment will be solicited on the draft rules until September 1, 2014, including several public meetings across the state.  [Read article here.]

*Q&A with Water Attorney Martin Rochelle.  In this article, Martin Rochelle answers a series of questions regarding Texas water law, including how he believes policy decisions should be made, major issues coming across his desk, and the state of groundwater law.  [Read article here.]

* Ranching with Endangered Species.  Progressive Cattleman ran an interesting article this month on ranching with endangered species.  This is a timely discussion, particularly given the recent listing of the lesser prairie chicken as threatened and New Mexico jumping mouse as endangered.  [Read article here.]  In the next couple of weeks, I will be preparing a blog on the basics of the Endangered Species Act, so stay tuned for that information.

* Does Your Farm Have Adequate Liability Insurance?  The Southeast Farm Press published an article addressing this critically important question.  The article outlines various types of insurance and provides information about each of them.  [Read article here.]

* Are You Ready to Transfer Your Farm to the Next Generation?  This article offers 5 key questions for small business owners–including farmers and ranchers–to ask themselves about passing the farm to t he next generation.  It is critical that farm and ranch families consider the issues outlined here, including the need for income, the health of the family members, the financial situation of the family, and the desires of everyone involved, in forming a transition plan.  [Read article here.]

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