The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will hold a series of free workshops across the state to connect new rural landowners with land management resources and introduce land management agency personnel to the unique needs and potential land management goals of these new landowners.

The workshops, made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, will be held at the following locations:

Landowners are encouraged to register for the respective workshops at  

One general continuing education unit will be offered for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide applicator license holders.

Unique schedule and subject matter for each day

The first day of each workshop will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is focused on providing natural resource agency personnel with the knowledge and skills to develop collaborative relationships and meet the needs of new ex-urban landowners.

The second day of the workshop takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by a social. During this time, new rural landowners will receive foundational science-based information regarding the role of fire and grazing on their land. Community-building sessions will also be held with natural resource staff from agencies including Texas A&M AgriLife, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Texas A&M Forest ServiceTexas Parks and Wildlife Department and others. Through these sessions, landowners will meet key individuals who can assist them in achieving their land management goals. 

Workshops reflect trends in ex-urban rural land ownership

David Matarrita-Cascante, Ph.D., associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management, said since the 1970s, researchers have noted a trend in urban residents moving to rural areas either seasonally or permanently for a number of reasons.

“While these moves were traditionally linked to tourism and leisure recreation, there has been growth in urban residents moving to agricultural areas,” Matarrita-Cascante said. “This was greatly amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Matarrita-Cascante has studied these trends in relocation to rural areas for more than two decades and will facilitate the workshop.

Past research conducted by Matarrita-Cascante and others has shown these new landowners often purchase farms or ranches of smaller acreage, have little to no experience in agriculture, and display different demographic, economic and cultural characteristics in relation to the established long-term rural population.

Because these new landowners may differ from the traditional rural clients who natural resource agencies work with, Matarrita-Cascante said it’s important to bring the two groups together to foster education, understanding and, ultimately, land stewardship.  

“These workshops are a chance to get to know your community, get to know like-minded individuals who value conservation and stewardship, and become familiar with all of the resources and tools readily available for landowners looking for help,” said Morgan Treadwell, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension rangeland specialist and associate professor in the Department of Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management, San Angelo.

For questions regarding event details, email Treadwell at [email protected] or Casey Matzke, project manager with the Texas A&M Center for Grazinglands and Ranch Management, at [email protected].

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