The Owning Your Piece of Texas Agricultural Law Team was presented a Superior Service Award by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service on Jan. 9 at the annual Texas A&M AgriLife conference in College Station.
Tiffany Lashmet, AgriLife Extension agricultural law specialist, Amarillo, and Emmy Kiphen, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station, sought to create a handbook written for rural landowners outlining important laws and then hold five in-person meetings around the state, anticipating 125 people, total, would attend the five programs.
Exceeding all expectations, the in-person presentation reached nearly 800 participants at five programs over a four-month time period, according to the award nomination.
Lashmet wrote the “Owning Your Piece of Texas: Key Laws Texas Landowners Need to Know” handbook, the only one of its kind that gathers such a broad range of topics in one place, and is written not for attorneys, but for lay landowners.
Lashmet and Kiphen enlisted the help of Blake Bennett, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist and expert on special-use property tax valuation, College Station, to assist with presenting at the workshops. The team also invited a local attorney to speak at each of the five events.
As one landowner put it, “We wish to continue to attend these programs and are willing to pay for the continuation and expansion. This is a very useful manual and at $100, this program would still be a bargain.”
The nomination said data showed 98% of attendees who turned in evaluations reported they intended to implement something learned at the workshop in their operation, and 95% believed that attending this workshop will allow them to decrease risk in their operation.
Perhaps even more so than the numbers, the comments made by attendees tell the story, the nomination stated. One attendee in Lubbock wrote, “In addition to my agricultural interests, I’m a 30+ year veteran educator (public and higher education). As such, I have attended hundreds of presentations. Hands down, this is by far the single best, and most useful presentation/workshop I have ever attended.”
Another evaluation comment indicated that the team’s desire to help new landowners was achieved. A Crockett attendee stated, “I’ve always wanted to farm and just recently realized I didn’t have to grow up on a farm to farm as an adult. This workshop was very informative and helps me feel assured that as I move forward and make decisions in buying land, what products to produce, and other legal issues regarding farming, I will be able to run a successful agriculture business.”
Beyond landowners, the program was also successful in reaching many real estate agents who specialize in selling farm and ranch property, the nomination stated. “This is great information to help me help my clients,” said one realtor in the San Antonio area. Further, an attorney in attendance reported that “as continuing legal education, this course is worth $395-$500. One of the most informative events I have ever attended. Just excellent in every way.”
One additional interesting fact about these programs was the distance people were willing to drive to attend, the nomination stated. At each of the programs, there were attendees who traveled across the state to attend. This willingness to drive hundreds of miles further indicates the importance of this information to Texas landowners.
Demand for this information only continues to increase, the nomination concluded, adding the team has received numerous requests for live programs in 2020 from AgriLife Extension agents around the state.