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Agricultural work at Southmost Preserve. © Erika Nortemann/The Nature Conservancy

Stories in Texas

Conservation Partnerships

Working with Farmers and Ranchers in Texas

Farmers and ranchers are vital to our way of life in Texas—they are stewards of our lands and are among our greatest conservation allies. The Nature Conservancy has worked closely with this dedicated group of Texans for decades to implement and promote agricultural practices that support healthy lands and waters through science-driven strategies.

With Texas’ population expected to more than double to 54 million people by 2060, the demand for food, energy and water will continue to rise. This puts enormous pressure on the same natural resources that have supported Texans for over a century, like our rivers, streams, aquifers and open landscapes.

We can conserve water and other key natural resources in Texas by making agriculture more efficient, productive and economically sustainable in parts of Texas. Improving irrigation efficiency and soil management, reducing water loss in delivery systems and shifting to less water-intensive crops are just a few practical and cost-effective solutions that can stretch a unit of water further while maintaining (or increasing) production and profits. 

By collaborating with ranchers, farmers and other stakeholders, The Nature Conservancy is looking to test and fine tune these practices in Texas so we can both feed a growing population and ensure clean and abundant water supplies and healthy lands, now and into the future. 

For more information on these strategies and programs, please contact Kyle Garmany.

Fast Facts:

To date, our work in Texas has enabled us to:

  • Treat 157,700 acres with prescribed fire
  • Conserve 1 million acres of land and water in Texas
  • Build 100 partnerships with private landowners
  • Protect 350,000 acres of lands through voluntary agreements with private property owners in Texas 
  • Protect 400,000 acres of public land through partnerships with park, wildlife and water protection agencies
Our Partnerships:
  • Rice farmers in Magatorda County
  • Citrus farmers in the Rio Grande Valley
  • Timber harvesters in East Texas Ranchers in South Texas, the Texas Hill Country and in West Texas
  • Ranchers in South Texas, the Texas Hill Country and in West Texas
  • State, federal and local agencies 
Our Projects:
  • Soil health & irrigation efficiency improvements
  • Organic crop conversions
  • Wildlife-friendly farming and ranching
  • Restoration of native fish in Hill Country rivers
  • Invasive species removal and control
  • Sustainable grazing & prescribed fire management
  • Policy work in support of the Farm Bill, the Texas State Water Plan and the Texas Farms and Ranchland Conservation Program
  • Protection of wildlife, critical lands and water through private landowner agreements like cooperative management plans and conservation easements 
  • Protection of public lands to increase national and state parks, refuge lands and wildlife management areas