Tiffany Dowell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist and agricultural law specialist in College Station, has seen her Texas Agriculture Law Blog continue to gain popularity due to timely topics addressing issues affecting landowners across the Lone Star State.
"I continue to field many questions over the phone or at workshops dealing with oil and gas leases, as well as water law across Texas," Dowell said.
"Questions about pasture and hunting leases are also popular. To keep the latest updated information flowing on these topics, as well as others, the agricultural law blog is a central source of information that serves as a good reference."
The law blog can be found online at agrilife.org/texasaglaw/. It features a number of different topics, including updates on current ag-related litigation and events, information about basic laws in Texas, and information on specific legal issues such as pipeline easements and leasing.
In January, the blog had more than 2,100 visitors.
The source serves not only farmers and ranchers, but other Texas landowners as well, she said.
Site visitors can access information online or sign up for email subscriptions receiving the latest information as soon as it's posted to the site.
"Every Friday I provide a roundup of the week's hot topics and news with links to more information," Dowell said.
She also incorporates questions she receives via email and telephone calls and, while respecting confidentiality, shares those questions and answers with readers.
Some of the most recent topics Dowell has addressed in the blog include:
• Underground trespassing -- Earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that could determine whether Texas recognizes underground trespassing. This case involves a landowner drilling an injection well used to dispose of wastewater one mile underground, which then crossed over property lines to a rice farmer's neighboring land. The case could have major impacts on the oil and gas industry and landowner rights. The Texas Supreme Court currently is considering the case and no decision has been issued.
• Interaction of rights between surface owners and mineral owners -- Dowell has addressed what rights the surface owner has in the event the minerals have been leased and an oil company wants to drill on the land.
Other topics Dowell has previously addressed include eminent domain and water law.
"Water law continues to be a hot topic," Dowell said. "This along with pasture leases is what I've been doing a lot of presentations on across the state."
Prior to joining AgriLife Extension in 2013, Dowell was an associate attorney with the law firm of Peifer, Hanson and Mullins in Albuquerque, N.M. She received her law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law and bachelor of science in agribusiness from Oklahoma State University.
Dowell grew up on a family farm and ranch in New Mexico.
"Agricultural law has always been my interest and my background has prepared me well for this type of work," she said.