Keeping Texas Big,
Wide and Open
Created by landowners for landowners, TALT's mission is to protect private working lands, thus conserving Texas’ heritage of wide open spaces.
Photo © D.K. Langford
History of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust
Created by landowners for landowners
Known throughout the world for its vibrant rural lands, Texas has 142 million acres of privately-owned farms, ranches and forestlands. These working lands produce food and fiber, host diverse wildlife habitats, and provide clean, abundant water. They support rural economies and a multi-billion outdoor recreation industry. Yet Texas leads all other states in the loss of rural lands. A recent study by Texas A&M University (www.texaslandtrends.org) reveals that Texas lost 2.1 million acres of farms, ranches and forest land between 1997 and 2007.
While suburbanization plays a role in rural land loss, fragmentation is also a serious threat. As large properties are divided into smaller parcels they can no longer support agriculture. Fragmentation leads to loss of wildlife habitat, water quality problems, and higher demand for county services.
To address this challenge, American Farmland Trust, a national non-profit, in November 2005 brought together leaders of Texas’ statewide agricultural, wildlife and landowner organizations. The group concluded that a Texas agricultural land trust, created by landowners who understand the day-to-day challenges of farming and ranching, will help stem the irreversible loss of rural lands.
Leaders from Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Wildlife Association, and Texas Farm Bureau convened a steering committee, and drafted by-laws and a certificate of incorporation. In developing the philosophy, mission and principles for the new land trust, careful attention was given to recognizing the landowner’s property rights and to ensuring that those rights will not erode over time.
The result was the creation of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust (TALT), a Texas non-profit organization. Modeled on agricultural land trusts in Colorado, Wyoming and California, TALT promotes the conservation of open space, wildlife habitats, and natural resources on Texas’ private working lands. Governed by a Board of Directors comprised of men and women who own land themselves, TALT today has partnered with landowners to conserve 144,000 acres of prime working lands. Created by farmers and ranchers for farmers and ranchers, TALT is proud to play a role in conserving part of Texas’ legacy of wide open spaces.
Protect. Conserve. Pass On.