Understanding the Impact of Exotic Wildlife,
and Utilizing Land Stewardship Programs
Part Two of an Exclusive Interview with Dr. Matt Wagner
Last week, in part one of this two-part blog post, I featured excerpts from my exclusive RANCHCAST interview with Dr. Matt Wagner, who I regard as the definitive expert on wildlife conservation, rangeland management, and the laws and policies governing them.
Dr. Wagner and I discussed the two biggest issues concerning wildlife conservation in Texas: the loss of connection between people and the rural lifestyle; and the distribution and allocation of water.
We also discussed the role that hunters can play in wildlife conservation; the coming convergence of the environment and the job market; and changing attitudes about open space and conservation.
[To read part one of my interview, click here.]
This week, Dr. Wagner and I will explore the impact of exotic wildlife and efforts to manage the population; statewide land stewardship programs; efforts to privatize white-tailed deer; and Chronic Wasting Disease.
Whether you are currently a rancher or simply someone who enjoys the ranching lifestyle, I know you’ll find these excerpts from my conversation with Dr. Wagner illuminating.
Private Ranch Owners and Hunters Are
the Key to Effective Wildlife Conservation:
Part One of an Exclusive Interview with Dr. Matt Wagner
Privately owned ranches play an important role in ensuring the well-being of wildlife and their habitats. Indeed, a growing number of Texas land buyers are electing to set wildlife and rangeland management as their primary objective.
For other owners, the care of wildlife and the maintenance of their environment is a secondary priority, or from some, merely a regulatory necessity.
Nonetheless, the more that ranchers know and understand about wildlife populations on their lands, the better prepared they will be to reach their goals and meet their obligations.
Dr. Matt Wagner knows more about wildlife conservation, rangeland management, and the laws and policies governing them than just about anyone who I know. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Biology Department at Texas State University, where he teaches Wildlife Law and Policy. He also works under contract as a project administer with the Wildlife Management Institute, which has supported game management, biological diversity, and ecology since its founding in 1911.
Ask Lem: Who Are Today’s Ranch Buyers?
While it’s been more than a dozen years since General Motors stopped manufacturing the Oldsmobile, many of us still remember its iconic 1988 commercial for the Cutlass Supreme:
A sporty-red Cutlass is speeding down a gravel road, coughing up a storm of dust as it weaves around mountainous curves. Quickly, the car merges onto a paved highway, barreling past an 18-wheeler as the driver shifts into high gear. The announcer introduces the all new Cutlass Supreme, featuring 4-wheel disc brakes, a multi-port fuel-injected V-6 engine, 4-wheel independent suspension, and “aerodynamic styling even the wind can’t resist.”
As the Cutlass blows past a 1940’s-era roadside service station, literally blowing the elderly attendant out of his rocking chair, the announcer emotes: “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.”
That slogan and the commercial come to mind every time I’m asked the question, who are today’s ranch buyers.
Prominent Ranch Economist Forecasts Muted
Texas Rural Land Price Increases in 2017
As Texas personal incomes go, so go Texas ranch sales and rural land prices.
As such, Dr. Charles E. Gilliland, the noted research economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, forecasts that ranch prices should continue to rise in 2017, although not as rapidly as in they did in the robust years of 2014 and 2015.
The outlook for ranch prices is one of several topics that Dr. Gilliland and I discussed during a recent conversation we recorded for RANCHCAST with LEM LEWIS, my new audio podcast designed to showcase the vital contribution that America’s ranchers make to our nation’s economy, and to provide ranchers insights and practical advice available nowhere else.
I have seen Dr. Gilliland speak at a variety of forums over the years and I read his book, Buying Rural Land in Texas. But having the chance to tap directly into his encyclopedia-like reservoir of knowledge on Texas and its economy was a special treat. I asked Dr. Gilliland questions that are on my mind, as well as some I frequently hear from my ranch clients.
While complete results for this year are not yet available, Dr. Gilliland says that “2016 prices look like they’re slowing down,” adding that “2017 will be a continuation of increasing prices but maybe at a slower level of increase than we saw in the 2014 and 2015-time frame.”