February 12, 2016 Weekly Round Up

I kicked off the week at the Southern Agricultural Economics Association meetings in San Antonio.  Fellow ag lawyers Paul Goeringer, Ashley Ellixon, and I presented on undercover videos and private property rights at the meeting.  We enjoyed some great discussion from attendees about a variety of issues facing agriculture!

Photo by Terry Griffin

* Big Data: Big Potential, Big Problems.  Big data has been a hot topic of conversation in agriculture for the last couple of years.  [Read prior Big Data blog series here.]  As we see more and more data collection capabilities, there are countless possibilities for how this data can be useful and valuable to farmers and ranchers, but also a host of potential difficulties could arise as well.  News OK recently published an article discussing these issues, and featuring my friend (and photographer as you see above), Terry Griffin.  [Read article here.]

Horse slaughter case over in New Mexico.  The legal battle over a New Mexico packinghouse that sought to slaughter horses has come to an end.  Although Congress effectively ended any attempts to conduct horse slaughter in the US with a provision in the budget prohibiting funding for required federal inspectors, the case remained pending in New Mexico courts.  Now, a New Mexico trial court judge has entered a permanent injunction against Valley Meats Company from conducting horse slaughter in the state.  [Read article here.]

* Biggest mistake executors make.  The Wall Street Journal recently published a great article offering advice for executors. Serving as the executor of an estate can seem really daunting, so this kind of practical advice would be very useful for folks finding themselves in those shoes.  The article’s advice includes not paying bills too early, not playing the market too aggressively, carefully handling real estate, and keeping track of tangible assets.  [Read article here.]

* Preparing for the unexpected visitor at the fair.  Now that we’re in the midst of major stock show season in Texas, I thought that a recent article published by Hoards Dairyman about preparing for an animal rights activist in the stands at a fair was really important.  The article explains that recently, activist groups have stepped up protest activities and recently staged a protest at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.  The article offers some great advice about how to prepare for the situation if it arises at a stock show, including having law enforcement aware of a potential issue, having a spokesperson designated, having a plan in place, and implementing an animal handling and care policy for participants.  [Read article here.]

* Reminder: FREE Oil and Gas Leasing Workshop in College Station February 22.  We’ve gotten a great response from folks excited about the program we will be hosting in College Station a week from Monday.  We will be addressing a variety of issues to help landowners and mineral owners negotiate with oil and gas companies.  There is no fee and not registration requirement, but if you are planning to come, feel free to shoot me an email (tdowell@tamu.edu) or phone call to let me know for head count purposes (806-677-5668).  For more information, click here.

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