Farming and ranching are a big part of our Texas heritage.
But these are tough times for people who live off the land, but one state officials is determined to make sure agriculture remains a viable industry in our state.
Texas farms and ranches are under pressure these days.
And the temptation from developers is great.
That’s why the farm and ranch lands conservation program was started.
“So far, two properties in which we have purchased from the landowner, the right to develop the property,” says Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. “That easement is held by an entity such as ducks unlimited, and what happens is the farmer or rancher has committed his land to stay in perpetuity in farming or ranching pursuits. Which maintains habitat, particularly for waterfowl down here on the Gulf Coast, and will never subdivide it. It’s a way of using the market, and allowing land that would otherwise be subdivided into ranchettes or subdivisions to stay in agricultural use.”
And for a rice farmer, for example, who has found himself limited on water due to the drought, this is a lifeline that might just keep his family on the farm, and that farm in one piece.
And no tax money is involved.
Patterson told us the program is only working in the coastal area right now, but will expand to the rest of the state in the next few years.