Private Lands, Public Benefits: Innovations to Sustain the Private Lands that Provide Food, Fiber and Water Policy
Significant public good results from the stewardship of privately-owned lands. Basic necessities, such as food, fiber, shelter, and drinking water, have their origins in working lands. Nationally, the sustainability of the lands that produce these goods has been recognized as a strategic priority. But in Texas, with one of the highest rates of rural land loss in the country, the role of agricultural lands in providing public benefits is not widely acknowledged: Large infrastructure projects, for example, are often planned without a cost-benefit analysis of the loss of productive agricultural lands and water planning efforts often ignore the role of privately-managed watersheds and agricultural lands. On December 7, 2011, TALT hosted a workshop to promote the need to conserve and protect Texas’ private agricultural lands and to explore strategies to do so. Co-hosted by with the Texas Department of Agriculture and Texas A&M’s Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, the workshop addressed the need for voluntary, incentive-based, non-regulatory approaches to land conservation issues. The following are recordings of each of the presentations.