The Texas A&M Law Review Fall 2018 Symposium, Agriculture 2.0: The Changing Legal Landscape for Texas Agriculture, invited prominent scholars and practitioners from across the nation to present and comment on current issues in the law of agriculture. Topics included the current trade climate for the ag industry and possible results of the Trump Administration's trade policy changes on producers. Protection of agriculture and rural land was also a common theme throughout the day.
The day began with a panel on environmental policies, highlighting current innovations and efforts relevant to the national and local ag industry. Panelists included Steve Dauphin of the Kirchner Group, Charles Maguire of the United States Environmental Protection Agency - Region 6, and Environmental Counsel Scott Yager of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Afterward, Chelsea Good, General Counsel for the Livestock Marketing Association, presented updates on policies and laws regulating animal traceability.
The morning concluded with a panel discussing backlash surrounding recent court decisions on the right to farm. Panelists on this topic included Rusty Rumley of the National Agricultural Law Center (“NALC”), Ashley Ellixson of United Dairymen of Arizona, and Paul Goeringer from the University of Maryland.
Over lunch, Kristine Tidgren from Iowa State University walked guests through the 2017 Tax Reform Bill and its likely effects on the agriculture industry, and Harrison Pittman of NALC provided an expansive overview of other legislative updates pertinent to the ag industry .
The early afternoon panel, which focused on the current trade climate surrounding the ag industry, discussed ideas for possible policy based solutions and forecasting effects on producers. Panelists for this topic included Dan Hunter of the Texas Department of Agriculture, John Gilliland with Akin Gump, and Colin Woodall of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
The final panel discussed land and water conservation in Texas and the threats of fragmentation and loss of productive land as a result of increased urban sprawl. Panelists here included Billy Howe of the Texas Farm Bureau, Victoria Messer Whitehead with High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1, and independent legal practitioner Jason Hill.