Commission Agenda Item No. 13
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program
Transfer of Program to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
November 5, 2015

I.       Executive Summary: House Bill (HB) 1925 transfers the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program (FRLCP), first established by the legislature in 2005, from the Texas General Land Office (GLO) to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).

II.     Discussion: In June, 2015, HB 1925 became law, directing the transfer of the FRLCP from the GLO to TPWD. To accomplish this transfer, the act specified that a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between GLO and TPWD be entered into no later than November 1, 2015 and that the actual transfer of “all powers, duties, obligations, rights, contracts, leases, records, real or personal property, personnel, and unspent and unobligated appropriations and other funds relating to the administration” of the FRLCP occur on January 1, 2016. The 84th Legislature also appropriated $2 million to TPWD to fund the program. The goal of the program is to assist Texas land trusts with the acquisition of conservation easements on working lands that conserve water, protect native plant and animal habitats, or are threatened with development.

HB 1925 also makes changes to the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Council (FRLCC), which will now include 12 members. Six are Ex Officio members and 6 are appointed to staggered six-year terms by the Governor. The act calls for two vacancies to be filled no later than November 1, 2015.

The FRLCP will be administered within the Land Conservation Program. TPWD staff is working with GLO staff to transfer copies of all FRLCP records for review and archive. TPWD staff is working on revising FRLCP policies and procedures, grant selection criteria and application forms. Staff is also collaborating with partners to identify potential opportunities to leverage FLRCP funds. TPWD tentatively plans to convene the new FRLCC and begin soliciting grant applications early in 2016.

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – FRLCC List of Members

Commission Agenda Item No. 13
Exhibit A

Texas Farm & Ranch Lands Conservation Council

The Council consists of twelve members, six Ex-Officio members and six appointed by the Governor of Texas. The specific affiliation of each member is outlined in the legislation, and is as follows:

Ex-Officio Members (6)

  1. TPWD Presiding Officer of the Commission (or designee) – Honorable T. Dan Friedkin
  2. Commissioner of Agriculture (or designee) – Mr. Sid Miller
  3. NRCS State Conservationist (or designee) – Mr. Salvador Salinas
  4. Soil & Water Conservation Board (Executive Director) – Mr. Rex Isom
  5. TAMU Institute of Renewable Resources (Executive Director) – Mr. Roel Lopez
  6. Texas Water Development Board (Chair or designee) – Mr. Bech Bruun

Appointed by the Governor (6)

  1. Statewide Agricultural Representative– TBD
  2. Farm or Ranch Landowner – TBD
  3. Farm or Ranch Landowner – Ms. Pam McAfee (term expiration Feb 2017)
  4. Statewide Agricultural Representative – Mr. George D. Scott (term expiration Feb 2017)
  5. Agriculture Banking or Lending Organization – Mr. John Zacek (term expiration Feb 2019)
  6. Statewide Non-profit/Land Trust Representative – Mr. Thomas R. Kelsey (term expiration Feb 2019)

REQUIREMENTS for Governor Appointments

Agriculture Banking or Lending Organization (1 Appointee)designated  representative of an agricultural banking or lending organization and who has significant experience lending for farms and ranches or lands encumbered by conservation easements.

Farm or Ranch Landowner (2 Appointees) Member must operate a farm or ranch in this state.

Statewide Agriculture Representative (2 Appointees) designated representatives of an agricultural organization in existence in this state for not less than 10 years.

Statewide Non-profit/Land Trust Representative (1 Appointee)a designated representative of a statewide nonprofit organization that represents land trusts operating in this state.