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Landowners Association of Texas annual conference held

Landowners Association of Texas annual conference held

Story by Beverly Moseley

It was a strong lineup of speakers that attendees at the 26th Annual Landowners Association of Texas conference had the opportunity to hear.

Dr. Joe Leonard, assistant secretary for civil rights with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., gave the conference address.

�The rights that we have in this country make America special,� Leonard said. �People in other countries don�t come here for our jobs, they come for our rights.�

He explained that civil rights can range from discrimination to disability rights.

The landowners association works with community leaders, local, state and national government entities, along with farm and ranch organizations, to help provide information to underserved or nontraditional farmers and ranchers.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, (D-Texas), told the crowd it was critical that landowners understand the value of their land.

�We should not lose that family farm,� Lee said, adding that �other countries look to America because we can feed ourselves.�

She also stressed the need to continue encouraging young people to pursue farming and agriculture as a livelihood.

Benny Lockett, who has land in Grimes, Waller and Cass Counties, has actively been involved in the association for years. He is a retired Prairie View A&M University Extension administrator.

�I think they have done some good things for small farmers,� Lockett said.

He said efforts include programs that educate farmers and ranchers about passing on land to the next generation, along with keeping landowners up-to-date on Farm Bill programs.

�I encourage them to take part in those programs,� Lockett said.

Claude Ross, state program manager for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Juan Garcia, state executive director with the USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA), also spoke.

Ross explained that NRCS can help private landowners with conservation technical assistance, along with a conservation plan. These landowners can include socially disadvantaged, along with beginning and limited resource farmers and ranchers.
�The assistance is there for the asking,� he said.

He noted that in 2010, more than 7,000 conservation plans had been developed on an estimated 7.3 million acres.

Ross also provided highlights of the Farm Bill programs administered through NRCS, such as the Environmental Qualities Incentives Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CStP).
Attendees were able to visit with representatives from USDA agencies which included NRCS, FSA and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), who had booths at the event.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas), and Dr. Joe Leonard, assistant secretary for civil rights with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., spoke at the 26th Annual Landowners Association of Texas conference held recently in Humble, Texas.

Claude Ross, state program manager for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), spoke to attendees about USDA farm bill programs and initiatives.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas), and Dr. Joe Leonard, assistant secretary for civil rights with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., spoke at the 26th Annual Landowners Association of Texas conference held recently in Humble, Texas.

Claude Ross, state program manager for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), spoke to attendees about USDA farm bill programs and initiatives.

Dignitaries, speakers and event organizers gathered for a group photo. Floyd Nauls, Jr., NRCS district conservationist in Madisonville, Texas, visits with a landowner at the NRCS booth. Landowners had an opportunity to learn about USDA farm bill programs, along with initiatives such as the organic initiative during the two day conference.

Dignitaries, speakers and event organizers gathered for a group photo.

Floyd Nauls, Jr., NRCS district conservationist in Madisonville, Texas, visits with a landowner at the NRCS booth. Landowners had an opportunity to learn about USDA farm bill programs, along with initiatives such as the organic initiative during the two day conference.