Rick Peebles was born into a family who harbored deep feelings for land and for livestock. The earliest generations sank their roots into East Texas soil and developed farms and ranches in and around Polk County. In the 1920s, they attempted to expand their holdings with a foray into West Texas, but a deadly outbreak of anthrax ended that dream and caused the next generation to start again.
During his childhood, Rick worked on his parents’ farm that expanded from five acres to 100 acres. In the process, he was inculcated with the desire to steward his own property. His father suggested that he pursue another career to finance his passion for land and livestock.
“My entire life, I’ve tried to put a portion of my earning into land holdings and keep that land as productive agricultural property,” Rick, who is an attorney in Baytown, said. Today, he owns and operates ranches in Polk, Burnet and La Salle counties.
“I know first-hand how hard it is to put land together, so I am really passionate about keeping land intact,” he said. “Without productive land, we’re ruined.”
His love of agriculture has prompted Rick to serve on the board of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s International Committee, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Board of Directors. He has been inspired by the people he has met in the world of agriculture.
“Unfortunately, we’re losing the generation of people who were connected directly to the land, making it even more difficult to communicate the urgency of this issue,” Rick said. “Personally, I can’t comprehend the thought of losing the ag industry in Texas.”
He was drawn to TALT because it helps raise the profile of land trusts with the public and with agricultural producers.
“Before TALT, the ag industry generally characterized conservation easements as bad news,” Rick said. “To overcome that perception, we’ve helped people understand that TALT is not about taking, but about giving. With the advent of TALT, landowners have been given a viable option to keep their land in the family and in production to prevent the loss of another piece of America.”