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Farmers, Ranchers Learn to Protect Their Properties

Ninety people turned out for a one-day workshop desiged for rural landowners trying to preserve their property for future generations. The event was hosted by conservation groups.

A Feb. 15 workshop on preserving rural properties for future generations drew 90 landowners interested in protecting their lands and passing down a “conservation ethic” to their children.

The one-day event at Anhalt Dance Hall in Spring Branch provided farmers, ranchers and other landowners with information about “Saving Family Lands: Tools for Landowners in Comal County.” It was sponsored by Comal County Conservation Alliance (CCCA) and facilitated by Carolyn Vogel with Texas Conservation Connection.

“The event featured well-informed speakers who covered a wide range of topics related to land conservation—from the basics of a conservation easement to tax advantages,” said attendee Martha Bersch. “The information will be valuable in my family’s discernment regarding the future of our land.”

Speakers presented on a variety of topics including the case for conservation in Comal County; wildlife and open space valuation; financial tools and programs for landowners; conservation easement basics and tax benefits; and the role of land trusts. The workshop ended with a panel discussion with local landowners and conservation easement donors. The presentations generated many questions from the audience.

“It was an excellent landowner workshop,” said attendee Steve Hixon. “We got very useful information on conservation easements to help protect our family ranch for future generations.”

Elizabeth Bowerman, president of CCCA, said in a press release issued after the event that some Comal County residents live on land that’s been in their family for six or seven generations.

“These lands are an important part of the culture and the rural fabric of our area, and the CCCA is happy to be able to help these ranchers and landowners find ways to preserve their land for future generations,” she said.

The workshop was conducted with assistance from Alamo Resource Conservation & Development Area Inc., Anhalt Hall, Blair Wildlife Consulting, Braun & Gresham Family of Companies, Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust, Hill Country Land Trust, James D. Bradbury PLLC, Plateau Land Group, Plateau Land & Wildlife Management, Ranch Connection LLC, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Texas Wildlife Association, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Wimberley Valley Watershed Association.

The Comal County Conservation Alliance (www.comalconservation.org) is a nonprofit organization working to protect land, water, and wildlife in Comal County. The Hill Country Alliance (www.hillcountryalliance.org) is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise public awareness and build community support around the need to preserve the natural resources and heritage of the Central Texas Hill Country.

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