Landowners Attend Land Loss Prevention Workshop
Forty-two landowners and persons interested in wealth creation through land ownership were onsite to attend the Land Loss Prevention Workshop held on September 11, 2017 at the Crockett Civic Center in Crockett, Texas. The one-and-a-half day workshop, hosted by the Cooperative Extension Program (CEP)-AgNR and supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Renewable Resource Extension Act Grant, targeted rural communities with histories of land loss. The goal of the workshop was to provide tools to help stabilize land ownership across generations and to enhance family wealth by increasing income and land asset value through sustainable forestry.
The workshop began with attendees participating in a SWOT Analysis to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with their own operations. Lead by Dr. Nelson Daniels, CEP-AgNR Ag Specialist, Dr. Joshua Idassi, Natural Resources Specialist, North Carolina A&T State University, and Sam Cook, Executive Director, Forest Asset, North Carolina State University and VP Natural Resources Foundation Board, the exercise was meant to help the attendees to consider what works well and what adjustments may be needed.
A series of presentations followed, beginning with Marca Theresa Ewers, Attorney at Law, who gave a presentation on Estate Planning. Attorney at Law Mavis Gragg appeared via web-conference to speak on issues related to Heir Property. Next, Dr. Don L. Renchie, Associate Professor, Extension Program Leader and Coordinator with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service gave a personal perspective on Heir Property based upon his own experiences with the topics of partition sales, volunteer sales, sales contracts, warranty deeds, and mineral rights. Danette Millican, Houston County Tax Assessor/Collector, and Carey Minter, Houston County Chief Tax Appraiser, spoke about Property Tax Assessment and Ag-Use Exemption 1/D/1, respectively, giving the group an overview of the tax assessment and appraisal processes.
The first day wrapped-up with Sam Cook speaking on Land Utilization and How to Monetize Your Land, which included the benefits of hunting leases and agriculture and forestry production. This was followed by Billy Lawton, Program Leader, CEP-AgNR, who discussed Agriculture and Timber Sales Tax Exemptions.
The second day of the workshop commenced with Darvin Collins, County Executive Director, USDA-Farm Service Agency, followed by Willie Holmon, Soil Conservationist, USDA-NRCS, who spoke about the roles of their respective agencies, covering FSA Farm and Tract Requirements and USDA Conservation Programs. In his presentation, Dr. Joshua Idassi spoke about the growing opportunities available in Forest Agronomy. He was followed by Michael Easley, State Forester II, Crockett District, Texas A&M Forest Service, who discussed the process of Developing Forest Management Plans. Angela Moore, Extension Associate with Cooperative Extension-AgNR, spoke to the group about the Texas AgrAbility Project, a USDA-funded program geared towards helping farmers who have a disability continue to work in Ag production. Pat Shields, Senior Relationship Manager with Capital Farm Credit, rounded out the presentations with an overview of funding opportunities available through Capital Farm Credit. The workshop culminated with a Panel Discussion. The attendees were engaged and asked questions throughout the workshop sessions, taking advantage of the expertise available.
Of the 32 participants present on Day 1, 23 completed and returned evaluations. Eighty-seven percent of the participants who completed the survey stated that their understanding of two or more of the topics covered during the workshop was increased and that they probably will adopt some of the practices covered during the workshop
Of the 28 participants present on Day 2, sixty-eight percent of those who completed the workshop evaluation stated that their understanding of two or more of the topics covered during the workshop was increased and seventy-seven percent of the participants who completed the survey stated that they probably will or definitely will adopt some of the practices covered during the workshop.
The Cooperative Extension Program is grateful to Connie Lott and AgWorkers Insurance for its sponsorship of this program.
Extension Associate, Agriculture and Natural Resources