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Financial, Ecological Benefits Of Conservation Easements On Working Lands

Financial, ecological benefits of conservation easements on working lands

A recent report by the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, Texas Water Resources Institute and Texas Land Trust Council shows state-funded conservation easements in Texas provide numerous financial and ecological benefits. The purpose of the 2020 Evaluation Report was to examine the benefits of conservation easements established on privately-owned lands under the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program, TFRLCP, a state-funded program that purchases development rights from willing and interested landowners. Read more from Texas Water Resources Institute here.

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New SA Company Aims To Encourage Cattle Ranching With Eco-friendly Tactics

New SA company aims to encourage cattle ranching with eco-friendly tactics

It’s 6:30 a.m., and the Texas sky is just starting to lighten from the black of night to the gray-blue of dawn. Dressed in a flannel shirt, work jeans, and lace-up boots, Schertz resident Zachary Platt is already loading up his Kawasaki Mule and heading out on the 374 acres of land he ranches and farms for a living. Platt drives the off-road utility vehicle to the spot where his 85 cattle – all females with their calves, aside from…

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Laurels Ranch

Laurels Ranch

David K. Langford loves the Texas Hill Country land that his family has cherished for five generations. His passion for the land has informed his career as a professional photographer, and he has been a tireless advocate for working lands conservation and private property rights his entire adult life. He was among a small group of private landowners who got their heads together in the 1980s to form the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) to raise the profile of private land…

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A Growing Texas Means Loss Of Working Lands

A growing Texas means loss of working lands

Farm and ranch acres in Texas are disappearing. The land is not gone, but its use is. You’re probably not surprised. What may surprise you, however, is the rate at which the land is being converted. The Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute says in the 20 years from 1997-2017, Texas lost about 2.2 million acres of working lands. The rate of conversion accelerated in the last five-year period, with over 1.2 million acres lost during that time. That’s over 650…

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How 45 Million Hunters And Anglers Are Aiming To Bypass Hollywood

How 45 million hunters and anglers are aiming to bypass Hollywood

The ideological fault lines running between the coasts and the American heartland, turning red and blue to code words, are manifesting in everything from politics and religion to television and films. For many middle Americans who are so often portrayed as uneducated rubes by coastal content companies, there’s a move afoot to leave media giants behind and chart their own path forward... “There are more than 45 million Americans who hunt and fish,” says Liberatore, “that’s more people than live…

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The Wine Industry Continues To Expand In Texas Hill Country

The wine industry continues to expand in Texas Hill Country

When I polled Texas Hill Country wineries and growers on the major changes in the region over the last two years Julie Kuhlken, co-owner and founder of long established Pedernales Cellars, said “The continued growth in the number of wineries and vineyards”. January Wiese, executive director of Texas Hill Country Wineries(THCW), the region’s winery trade group, ran the numbers and found that since March 2018 THCW winery membership has  increased 40%, adding 17 members and making 60 in total. The…

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Bill Neiman: A Sculptor Of Seeds And Soil

Bill Neiman: A sculptor of seeds and soil

A sculptor molds, carves, shapes, and ultimately creates. They may work in different media and are adept with their tools. In addition to shapes, lines, and colors, some incorporate motion —an interrelationship of objects. Bill Neiman is a sculptor. For more than four decades, his medium has been plants and Texas soil. In 1974, at age 19, he started his own landscaping company with a borrowed shovel, rake, and lawn mower. Today, Neiman’s family and a dedicated team run Native American…

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What’s At Stake When We Pave Over, Fragment And Otherwise Fail To Protect Texas Farmland From The Disruptions Of Development?

What’s at stake when we pave over, fragment and otherwise fail to protect Texas farmland from the disruptions of development?

Millions of acres of America’s agricultural land were developed or converted to uses that threaten farming between 2001 and 2016, according to “Farms Under Threat: The State of the States,” a new report by American Farmland Trust. The report’s Agricultural Land Protection Scorecard is the first-ever state-by-state analysis of policies that respond to the development threats to farmland and ranchland, showing that every state can, and must, do more to protect their irreplaceable agricultural resources... The report found that Texas was the most threatened state in the nation due to…

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7.7 Million Young People Are Unemployed. We Need A New ‘Tree Army.’

7.7 million young people are unemployed. We need a new ‘Tree Army.’

Nearly 7.7 million American workers younger than 30 are now unemployed and three million dropped out of the labor force in the past month. Combined that’s nearly one in three young workers, by far the highest rate since the country started tracking unemployment by age in 1948... As our country’s leaders consider a range of solutions to address this crisis, there’s one fix that will put millions of young Americans directly to work: a 21st-century version of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Read more from Collin O'Mara,…

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Resources For New Landowners: Aldo Leopold’s Five Tools Of Wildlife Management

Resources for new landowners: Aldo Leopold’s five tools of wildlife management

Aldo Leopold - author, philosopher, conservationist, and so-called “Father of Wildlife Ecology” -  is a pillar of the modern-day wildlife conservation and management movement. His revolutionary musings on the value of land and wildlife and his intentional management techniques often appear in the discourse on wildlife management. In Game Management, Leopold wrote, “Are we too poor in purse or spirit to apply some of it to keep the land pleasant to see, and good to live in?” This conveys a…

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