UHV to host conference discussing land ownership issues

A Jan. 22 conference at the University of Houston-Victoria is designed to provide education and advice about five pressing landowner issues.

The UHV School of Business Administration, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension in Victoria County and De-Go-La Resource Conservation and Development are teaming up to present The Value of Land. The conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Walker Auditorium inside UHV University North, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St.

“This conference will pack a lot of useful information into one day to help landowners make decisions and plan for the future,” said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration. “The high-caliber presenters, combined with relevant topics, make this event worth attending. I’m delighted UHV can play a role in discussing these substantial issues.”

The conference’s focus is to make landowners aware of topics that might affect them in the future regarding landowner liability, family legacy and estate planning, Texas water law, easements and the science behind fracking and groundwater.

Farhang Niroomand

Jerry Pearce, executive director of De-Go-La Resource Conservation and Development, said the event is targeted to current landowners, people who recently have purchased land and those considering land purchases.

“We are bringing these topics up for educational purposes so people can better manage their land,” Pearce said.

A similar land ownership conference was well attended last year in Nacogdoches, he said. The Victoria event is patterned after that initial conference. UHV was chosen as the host because of its central regional location and facilities. The UHV Small Business Development Center and UHV Regional Center for Economic Development also are conference hosts.

“UHV is a good partner,” Pearce said. “It seemed like a natural fit to have this event there.”

Matt Bochat, Victoria County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agent, will be master of ceremonies for the conference. UHV Interim President Vic Morgan will kick off the day with a welcome. Then Jerry Fambrough, senior lecturer at the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, will talk about landowner liability.

At 10:30 a.m., a session about family legacy and estate planning will be led by James and Jason Henry, principals at Crossroads Wealth Management. That will be followed by a discussion about groundwater issues by Tim Andruss, Victoria County Groundwater Conservation District general manager.

“From time to time, we have landowners come to the district to ask questions about groundwater and what can be done to protect the groundwater for their family in the future,” Andruss said. “This conference is a chance to reach a broader group and get the word out about how the district can help families achieve their goals.”

After lunch, Susan Struver, a research scientist for the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, will discuss the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing.

“Ms. Struver will address what effect fracking has on groundwater and whether common concerns are fact or fiction,” Pearce said. “She is well known in her field, and we’re fortunate she will be presenting at this event.”

The day wraps up with a session by Allison Elder, San Antonio River Authority director of legal services, about developing conservation easements. Landowners can assign land for conservation use and receive payments for doing so. Several public and private programs are set up for those easements, including one by the San Antonio River Authority.

To register for the conference, email or call 361-703-5225. The event costs $40 a person or $50 a couple, and includes lunch. Registration is open until Jan. 15, although late registration is available for an extra $10.

The Value of Land Conference is sponsored by Crossroads Wealth Management, Victoria Groundwater District, Capital Farm Credit and the San Antonio River Authority.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro