Happy New Year! Now that we’ve turned the page on a new year, I wanted to share the most popular blog posts and podcast episodes from 2022. I also thought it might be fun to share some of my biggest projects from last year as well.
Top 5 Texas Agriculture Law Blog Posts
I started the Texas Agriculture Law Blog almost 10 years ago, and it remains one of my favorite projects. I love the chance to write about cases and various legal issues that impact rural landowners and agricultural producers. Thank you to our 2022 sponsors, Capital Farm Credit, Lone Star Ag Credit, Texas Corn Producers, Texas Farm Credit, Texas Forestry Association, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Insureberry (a division of Ag Workers Insurance), Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Association, Texas Land Associates, and Texan Title for their support this year.
Here are the most read blog posts of 2022…
- Transferring Property Prior to Death: Pros, Cons, and Alternatives: Interestingly enough, the most popular blog post of the year is actually an oldie but a goodie, written in 2020. This post is a practical look at the decision of when and how best to transfer property as part of one’s estate plan. Should you transfer property before you die? What are the pros and cons of doing so? What other alternatives might you consider? This blog post was written to answer these questions.
- Texas Water: Basics of Groundwater Law: This post continues to find its place on the Top 5 list year after year, despite being written nearly 10 years ago. Clearly, groundwater law remains an important issue for Texas landowners. To learn more, check out podcast episodes on Texas Groundwater Law and on Groundwater Conservation Districts.
- Ft. Worth Court of Appeals Decides Dispute Over Cow Sale: I got lots of comments and feedback on social media about this post from February 2022 which gives the story of a cattle rancher suing a local sale barn for breach of contract, misrepresentation, and deceptive trade practices.
- Easements 101: Easements are another topic on which I get a lot of questions. If you own land in Texas, you need to understand the basic law regarding easements and should take the time to investigate what existing easements encumber your property. This post is a good place to get started. For more information, check out this prior podcast episode with James Decker.
- Eastland Court of Appeals Rules Oil Company Not Liable for Dead Cows. It’s another case involving cattle that lands in the fifth spot. This case involves cattle that were killed after getting into an oil production site and ingesting oil and saltwater. As the court explains, there is no requirement under Texas law for the operator to fence the cattle out, leaving the cattle owner with no legal recourse. To hear more about the law applicable to surface owners and oil companies, we have podcast episodes with Parks Brown and with Benjamin Needham.
Top 5 Ag Law in the Field Podcast Episodes
It has been a big year for the Ag Law in the Field Podcast as we have seen download numbers greatly increase this year. Thank you all for sharing this with your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and family! Thank you, also, to our podcast sponsors for 2022: Capital Farm Credit, Lone Star Ag Credit, Texas Corn Producers, Texas Farm Credit, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Ag Workers Insurance, and the Texas Cattle Feeders Association.
Here were our most popular episodes of the year.
- #125 – Clint Robinson (Questions to Ask When Buying Rural Land). Our most popular episode of the year was with my friend and rural real estate agent, Clint Robinson. I am not surprised this was the most downloaded episode as I knew when we landed on this topic it would be a good one. Clint walks us through key considerations and questions to ask when purchasing rural property.
- #126 – Leah Davis (Using Entities in an Estate Plan). Here’s another episode that is not a surprise to see at the top of the list. Estate planning attorney, Leah Davis, offered some really practical information and examples about how and when entities like trusts, LLCs, and limited partnerships might be useful in a farm or ranch estate plan.
- #122 – Trace Blair (Texas Limited Liability Statutes Update). Landowner liability is hands-down the topic I speak on the most and get the most questions about. There are three limited liability statutes in Texas that offer critical protection to rural landowners, and my friend and Jourdanton-based attorney, Trace Blair, joined me on this episode to walk us through the details of each one.
- #124 – Emily Unglesbee (Pesticide/Herbicide Hot Topics). I loved having Emily Unglesbee on the show. She has changed jobs since this episode aired, now serving as the Director of Outreach & Extension for GROW. I still maintain there is no one who does a better job of following and explaining pesticide legal issues than Emily.
- #123 – Jim Bradbury (WOTUS Update – Biden Proposed Rule). Last but not least, we have our resident WOTUS scholar, Jim Bradbury. Since the podcast began, Jim has joined us each time there has been an update on the WOTUS Rule. This episode released in February 2022 and offers a look at the Proposed Biden WOTUS definition.
Top 5 Projects of 2022
I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of my biggest projects of the year.
- Our “Where’s the Beef? Legal & Economic Considerations for Direct Beef Sales” handbook and programs launched this year to overwhelmingly positive response. To get a free PDF of our handbook click here. (Hard copies may be purchased by calling Lacrecia at 806-677-5600.) We will have registration up and running soon, but I will go ahead and share our 2023 live program dates and locations: San Antonio area (exact location TBA) – April 12; Montgomery – May 8; Decatur – September 12.
- Next up, in June we published an updated version of our fence law handbook, Second Edition – Five Strands: A Landowner’s Guide to Fence Law in Texas. There have been a number of key cases and other updates since we published the original version in 2017, so we were excited to put together this updated version. You can download the free PDF here or if you want a hard copy, contact my assistant, Lacrecia. To learn more about Texas fence law, check out this podcast episode with Kyle Weldon.
- Speaking of updated handbooks, we also released an updated version of our popular “Owning Your Piece of Texas: Key Laws Texas Landowners Need to Know” handbook in February. We are really proud of this publication, and were glad to get it updated with a few key statute and case law changes. To download a free copy, click here. To purchase a hard copy, contract Lacrecia. Also, here is some breaking news…we have set three dates for our 2023 live programs. We will be in Rosenberg on March 13, Dripping Springs on April 14, and Emory on September 26. Registration will be available soon, so stay tuned. If these dates and locations do not work for you, we have an online course option that is available at your own pace anytime. For more information, click here.
- Next up, I co-authored a law review article, “Turtles All the Way Down: A Clearer Understanding of the Scope of Waters of the United States Based on the U.S. Supreme Court Decisions” that takes a deep dive into the history of the WOTUS definition. It is likely more than anyone besides Jesse Richardson and I want to know, but it was really interesting to research and write. I guess now we should also refer to this as our “award winning” law review article as it was named the Professional Scholarship Award Winner at the American Agricultural Law Association Conference this year.
- Last, but certainly not least was my continued work in the area of agriculture and mental health. This is a topic that is really important to me, and I know from our conversations and your responses that it is important to many of you as well. This year, I worked on three projects, all of which I am extremely proud. I worked with my colleague, Miquela Smith, to help develop this video for National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month featuring Slaton-based farmer, Grant Heinrich. I will forever be in awe of the way Grant so honestly and selflessly shared his story. I also visited with Maddie Caldwell in an really powerful podcast episode. She shared her story of recovery after two suicide attempts. Then, for Mental Health Awareness Month, my friend, Shannon Ferrell, joined me on the podcast for a really informative episode about mental health and agriculture, which he concluded with a heartfelt message: “This world is better with you in it.” May we all carry that sentiment through into 2023.