Challenging Issues Landowners Face


The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will be presenting a seminar entitled “Land, Water & Wealth: A Legal Symposium for East Texas Agriculture” next month on Friday, May 20 at the Angelina County Office.

I love owning a small farm. I love the freedom, challenges and opportunities it brings. I get the chance to visit with numerous others around our area who share the joys and struggles. In my role, I get several inquiries from landowners that want to discuss how to take care of their land, make it more productive, and establish a legacy.
agriculture-1079299_1280One topic that is getting more and more interest statewide is water. Who owns what? True, you do own the groundwater below you, but who owns the water in the creek that flows you’re your property? What about the water in your pond? You may never have considered it, but legally the state owns the water in rivers and streams. And regarding that old well on you place, have you registered it with the local groundwater conservation district? If not in the system and on the map, then when a neighboring landowner wants to sink a large water well, they’ll be allowed to do so because there will be no known conflict.

A hot topic from time to time is eminent domain. Eminent domain is the power of the government or someone acting upon power granted by the government to take private property for public use. The power of eminent domain is recognized in both the United States and Texas Constitutions.

Negotiating agricultural leases is an often overlooked as an important issue, until something goes awry between the two parties. Looking at options and practices with ag leases will be covered.
Lastly, there is estate planning. Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate during a person’s life. Estate planning typically attempts to eliminate uncertainties over the administration of a probate and maximize the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses.
Addressing these issues are two outstanding attorneys: Jim Bradbury and Dr. Tiffany Lashmet. Bradbury is an attorney and counselor representing clients in real estate and business transactions. His areas of expertise include water, wetland mitigation and banking, water quality, land use, environmental and impacts to real property from oil and gas production. He serves on the board of the Texas Land Trust Council.

Dr. Lashmet is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist specializing in Agricultural Law with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Tiffany grew up on a family farm and ranch in Eastern New Mexico. Prior to joining Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Tiffany worked for four years at a law firm in Albuquerque practicing civil litigation. She is licensed to practice law in New Mexico and Texas. She writes a very successful Ag Law Blog that can be found at

This seminar will be an all-day program at the Angelina County Extension office. Valuable information on water law, eminent domain, estate planning, and negotiating agricultural leases are to be covered. Cost is $30 per person or $40 per couple. Call 936.634.6414 ext. 100 by May 13 to reserve a seat.

Sponsors of the event include the USDA, First Bank &Trust East Texas, The Advanced Financial Group, Heritage Land Bank, and AgriLife Extension.

Cary Sims
Cary Sims is the County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Angelina County. His email address is Educational programs of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.

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