By Gary Joiner
TFB Radio Network Manager
When it rains in Texas, it falls predominantly on a privately-owned farm, ranch or timberland. How that land is managed will have consequences for the future of Texas water.
That’s a cornerstone message of “No Land No Water,” a new public awareness campaign of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust (TALT). The campaign promotes conservation of private working lands is key to protecting the state’s water resources.
Social media sites, billboards and a new website are bringing attention to the campaign and how the conservation of private working lands impacts our water, according to TALT Chief Executive Officer Blair Fitzsimons.
“We wanted to draw that connection between the water that comes out of taps in San Antonio, Austin and Houston and the farm and the ranch in rural lands. We wanted to raise awareness of the importance of the link between the two,” Fitzsimons said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Radio Network. “Our agricultural lands not only provide food and fiber, which are very important things for our existence and quality of life, but they also protect our water resources.”
TALT points to the fact that Texas is losing agricultural lands at one of the fastest rates in the country. For every 1,000 people who move to Texas, the state loses about 200 acres of farm or ranch land. When these farms and ranches cease to exist, they no longer capture rain, and no longer help recharge aquifers or fill rivers, streams and lakes.
“The billboards have generated a lot of discussion, and we’ve gotten lots of questions. There’s a sense of excitement about it,” Fitzsimons said. “The ‘No Land No Water’ website is where people can go to learn more about the issue, how they can engage and what policies may be developing around the land/water issue.”
TALT promotes the conservation of open space, wildlife habitats and natural resources on Texas’ private working lands. It was created by farmers and ranchers for farmers and ranchers. Leaders from Texas Farm Bureau, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and Texas Wildlife Association convened a steering committee in 2006 and drafted by-laws and a certificate of incorporation for TALT.