Land Stewardship Produces a Healthy Texas

Texas Wildlife Association has partnered with the Association of Texas Soil & Water Conservation Districts (ATSWCD), Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, and Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board to highlight the importance of voluntary land stewardship in Texas. The statewide campaign, “Land Stewardship Produces a Healthy Texas,” is the theme of this year’s Soil & Water Stewardship Week, which is April 24 through May 1.

This campaign aims to bring more awareness and support to voluntary land stewardship, because the way we manage our resources on private lands directly impacts the water resources available for public consumption. Voluntary land stewardship is the careful and responsible management of land and its resources, which is the keystone for preserving the natural resources of Texas. With land in Texas being approximately 95% privately owned, voluntary land stewardship is vital to keeping these resources healthy.

It all starts with a conservation plan and the foundation to any conservation plan is to focus on soil health. Farmers, ranchers, timber and other agricultural producers have been working with their local soil and water conservation districts for over 75 years receiving technical assistance to develop and implement conservation plans for their operations.

Soil health is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans,” said Rickey James, President of the ATSWCD.  “It is important to remember that soil contains living organisms that perform functions required to produce our food and fiber.” 

Soil and water conservation performed in urban areas can also help supplement land stewardship efforts in rural areas. “Some cities have brought the land stewardship concept into their own backyards, as urban agriculture, urban farming, native landscaping and community forests are becoming more popular,” James said. “This trend has positively impacted urban communities socially and economically, as well as educated and reconnected people to the land, if even on a small scale.”

Partnering organizations in the “Land Stewardship Produces a Healthy Texas” public awareness campaign includes the Earthmoving Contractors Association of Texas, Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas, Plains Cotton Growers, South Texans’ Property Rights Association, Texas Agricultural Land Trust, Texas Association of Dairymen, Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Grazing Land Coalition, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Poultry Federation, Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association, Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas Wheat Producers Board and Association, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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