Past Chairman, San Antonio, Texas
As a rancher, a banker and a ranch real estate professional, Steve C. Lewis knows first-hand that Texas is losing productive agricultural land at an unprecedented rate.
“Our legendary wide, open spaces are falling victim to urban sprawl and fragmentation,” he said. “While it’s hard to imagine Texas without farms, ranches or elbow room, it is becoming a reality with each passing day.”
Steve, who is actively involved in managing his family’s ranches near Boerne, Yancey and Eldorado, was not always a proponent of conservation easements. Over time, he came to appreciate their usefulness and eventually agreed to serve as TALT’s first president.
“We stewards can stand and helplessly wring our hands or we can use the tools at our disposal to conserve our working lands,” he said. “One practical solution for keeping ag land in families hands is a conservation easement, a tool that offers tax and estate planning benefits, while keeping land in production for perpetuity.”
In addition to his ranching operations, Steve is Senior Chairman of the Board of Jefferson Bank and Chairman of the Board of Jefferson Bancshares, Inc., San Antonio, Texas and owner, Steve C. Lewis Ranch Real Estate. His commitment to education and wildlife is demonstrated in his volunteer activities that include leading the Texas Wildlife Association and the Texas Wildlife Association Foundation, the AgriFood Education Council and the Texas Youth Hunting Association.
“There is nothing more satisfying than standing out on a ranch as the sun is rising and watching the world come to life,” Steve said. “In that moment, the importance of keeping open space open now –- and forever — is crystal clear. It’s not just the land, but the water, the air, the wildlife and the life-giving productivity. It’s bigger than us all.”