The Generations on the Land Summit, held in Austin, Texas in May of 2017, engaged those who will assume the mantle of stewarding Texas’ natural resources – from the young farmers and ranchers who will inherit the farm or ranch from their parents to those who can influence the development of policies that incentivize private lands conservation. The objective was to examine those challenges facing farmers and ranchers, and to highlight innovative programs and programs that will help ensure a vibrant future for Texas’ working lands and the families that steward them. A series of panel discussions examined why farms and ranches break up, focused on innovative ways to make the property pay for itself, and discussed what supporting organizations can do differently to help.
NORMAN R. GARZA JR. | Introductory Comments
Currently, Garza is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Government Relations for Texas A&M Engineering. Prior to joining the Texas A&M University System, he served as the Associate Legislative Director for Texas Farm Bureau, where he worked on ag and natural resource issues with agricultural producers in all of Texas 254 counties as well as state legislators and agency officials. He also gained experience working on the staffs of several state legislators.
Dr. Roel Lopez currently serves as Director of the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources where he provides leadership in the field of wildlife ecology, military lands, and natural resource management. Lopez works with stakeholders to develop priorities for research and extension programs to address high priority conservation and natural resource issues. He also oversees Texas Land Trends, a project that tracks the trends of farms and ranches in the state, and maintains an appointment as professor in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University. Roel is based out of the Institutes’ San Antonio office.
Dr. Mathis leads faculty and staff appointed to KRIRM and oversees teaching and outreach efforts of the Institute. He maintains and develops curriculum for the M.S. in Ranch Management degree program, which includes more than 42 hours of business and animal production coursework and intensive project work tacking issues on partnering ranches across the United States. Dr. Mathis works closely with the KRIRM Management Council to identify topics and speakers for the entire suite of KRIRM lectureships and the annual Holt Cat® Symposium on Excellence in Ranch Management.
Grant Giles grew up on a working ranch between Comfort & Fredericksburg, TX. After graduating from Comfort High School, he attended Tarleton State University where he earned a BS degree in Animal Industries. He is a fourth-generation rancher at Hillingdon Ranch with his wife Misty and two sons, Wade and West, and parents, Robin and Carol. Registered Angus cattle, Fine Wool sheep, Angora goats, and whitetail deer are central to managing the natural resources on this network of family and extended family land.
MARGARET VAUGHAN | Tools for Passing on Land / Agribusiness
Margaret Vaughan is founder and president of MCV Consulting, a consulting firm based in Houston, Texas specializing in multigenerational family legacy and leadership planning and corporate strategic planning. Business and wealth owning families–whether in their first generation, third, sixth or beyond – rely on Margaret to help them map the successful transition of the enterprise to the next generation.
Marshall Ayres Bowen, a native of Austin, Texas, is a member of the fourth generation of the Shield-Ayres family, which has been ranching in central and west Texas for over 70 years with a focus on land conservation. In addition to his work with the family ranching and philanthropic enterprises, Marshall has worked in strategic political and government affairs in many capacities over the years. Currently he and his wife Madison reside in San Antonio.
Stan Meador is The Earth Partners (TEP’s) manager of two mitigation banks in its growing portfolio of wetland and stream banks. He has 20 years’ experience in land and natural resource conservation and business operations, including key leadership positions in developing TEP’s work to create private markets in support of large-scale conservation efforts. Stan is also actively involved in the management of his family’s fifth-generation ranch near Eldorado, TX and is the founder and owner of X Bar Ranch Nature Retreat, a nature/eco-tourism enterprise.
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PATSY AND BEN TAGGART | Innovation: Pasture to Plate Direct Marketing
Patsy & Ben Taggart are the daughter and son of Jon & Wendy Taggart, co-owners of Burgundy Pasture Beef. Both grew up in the family business and are highly involved in it today. Ben, a graduate of TCU’s Ranch Management Program assists Jon in running the ranch in Grandview, Texas. Patsy, a graduate of Texas A&M University, lives in downtown Dallas where she runs the family’s second retail butcher market in the DFW area, Burgundy’s Local, with her identical twin sister, Charley Taggart.
KIM RATCLIFF | Opportunity: Coops, Programs & Funding
Kimberly Ratcliff is the manager of Caney Creek Ranch, a diversified ranching operation located in East Central Texas, started by her parents Wesley and Marie Ratcliff. Kimberly joined the ranch in 2007 after leaving her job with Bloomberg, a New York City financial firm where she was a Branding Specialist. Kimberly also serves as President of the 100 Ranchers Inc., and Board Member of Independent Cattlemen’s Association. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Computer Science from Long Island University, Ranch Management Diploma from Texas Christian University and is a recent graduate of the Texas Agriculture Lifetime Leadership Program.
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DUKE PHILLIPS | Stewardship: Playing the Long Game
Duke is a 4th generation rancher who grew up in Colorado. He graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in English. After finishing school, Duke traveled to Australia to work on some large scale cattle properties, mostly in Northern Queensland. At Ranchlands Duke is the General Manager, overseeing all of the agricultural aspects of the business. He also manages all of the hunting on the properties. Some of his passions are aviation, ranching, shooting, and fishing.
Neal Wilkins is President and CEO of the East Foundation, where he is responsible for leading the Foundation’s mission of supporting wildlife conservation and other public benefits of ranching and private land stewardship. With Headquarters in San Antonio, the East Foundation owns and operates about 218,000 acres of South Texas ranchland as a working laboratory for its research, education, and outreach programs. Before joining the East Foundation in 2012, Neal was a Professor of Wildlife Science and served as the Director of the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources and the Texas Water Resources Institute where he coordinated the programs of more than 45 scientists and professional staff.