The first MJ Hanna Foundation Range and Pasture Plant Identification and Range Evaluation contests drew 57 contestants from all over Texas.
Private Land Stewardship Academies
Texas has a long history of private land ownership where 95 percent of the state is privately owned. The role of landowners as stewards of our state’s private lands and the public benefits derived from them is paramount. Most often successful land stewardship begins when natural resource professionals convey good land stewardship practices and techniques to private landowners.
As part of the Private Land Stewardship program and through collaboration with the Noble Foundation and East Foundation, NRI offers Private Land Stewardship Academies as a professional development opportunity to enhance natural resource professionals’ expertise in applying private land stewardship. These week-long, field-based academies are taught by leading experts in the field and review strategies for addressing private land challenges as well as current and future emerging issues in natural resources and private land conservation. The program offers valuable “hands-on” experiences to natural resource practitioners.
We have developed and hosted in partnership with the Center for Private Land Stewardship five Private Land Stewardship Academies. We hosted one academy for 13 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county agents, and one for 25 Texas NRCS conservationists. We also assisted Noble Foundation with three academies for 125 NRCS conservationists from 30 states.
Former President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson once said: “Saving the water and the soil must start where the first raindrop falls.”
In Texas, where about 95 percent of the land is privately owned, and 83 percent of that land is rural farms, ranches and forests, it is essential that all Texans understand the interconnection of land and water to ensure the healthy stewardship of both, according to natural resource professionals.
At Long Acres Ranch, we have teaching opportunities that link youth with lessons revolving around the ranch’s natural resources. Recently, we partnered with the Seven Lakes High School FFA, located in Katy I.S.D. in Ft. Bend County, to fabricate a structure called a Rainfall Simulator.
Not surprisingly, about 94% of Texas is privately owned—84% of that land is considered working lands (farm, range and timberland) making private landowners the stewards with the largest influence over natural resources compared to public lands. As we watch Texas experience the largest inter-generational change in landownership ever experienced, how landowners continue the legacy of land management is up to them, making education the first priority.
At Long Acres Ranch in Richmond, TX, we are looking forward to the response of native grasses and forbs planted in a demonstration field in the spring of 2018. We would love to jump to the future and see the results of our 30-acre planting that is full of potential for a variety of life. Even so, we know we will have to wait. As the saying goes, native grasses seem to sleep the first year as they develop their root systems, they creep in the second year with a little more obvious growth, and if we are lucky with rainfall, they leap with growth in the third year.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has developed a variety of resources, including a phone application to assist those with an interest in prescribed burning.
The plant community on a property determines what habitat types are available for wildlife and how it can be grazed, so familiarity with those plants is essential for any land steward. Here we provide tips and tools that will help you learn to recognize your resident plant species and incorporate that knowledge into an effective management plan.
Soils are the foundation of healthy habitat and can make or break any land management plan. Regional differences in soil structure and composition play a major role in determining which management strategies will succeed or fail, and familiarity with your soil is the first step toward meeting your land stewardship goals. Here we provide contacts and resources to help you take that step.
A recent tax appraiser and tax assessor training for land management for wildlife and livestock was a success, according to Brian Hays, Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI) program manager.
“The 34 participants attending found the training useful and unanimously agreed the information presented would help them in their job,” Hays said.
At the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI), promoting and supporting private land stewardship is a core part of our mission, values and daily work. So what does land stewardship actually involve?
To highlight the importance of voluntary land stewardship in Texas, the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) and the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI) are partnering with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB), Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Texas Agricultural Land Trust, Texas Wildlife Association, and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. The statewide campaign, “No Land No Water ™,” is the theme of this year’s Soil and Water Stewardship Week, April 30 through May 7.