State program makes conservation pay for farm, ranch owners

  • March 21, 2017
  • News

Floodwaters frequently prompt family members and an armada of cowboys for hire to round up their cows and move them to higher ground. Historic flooding on the Brazos last summer made much of the ranch accessible only by boat for weeks.

“You’d have to be crazy to want to put a subdivision here because of the flooding we get,” said Wilson Griffith. “About all the land is good for is ranching, and maybe growing a few pecan trees.”

Griffith and his brother, Jamie, have never wanted to sell the land, which their family has owned for more than 100 years. They want to give it to their children someday but worry about the tax implications.

However, thanks to a state program designed to assist landowners who want to conserve working farm and ranch lands, the Griffiths will be able to keep the property in the family in perpetuity, in exchange for promising not to sell it to developers. Keeping the ranch “as is” helps protect surrounding natural resources, such as wetlands that act like a magnet for migratory birds and soak up floodwaters… Read more from the Houston Chronicle