Learning to Be a Land Steward

I’m so glad the Bennett Trust conference for ranch women is back at last. The conference started at 7 am and the wine hour was still going on when I left to watch football, along with my new friend, Mim, who’s originally from Rockdale. We bonded.

Post conference relaxation, with pumpkins.

Not only did the legacy of the Bennetts (very nice people who left a trust to pay for these events) pay for excellent food, but there were really interesting speakers on various aspects of taking care of your land. the keynote was on women and land stewardship, and April Sansom was inspiring to all of us who want to leave the land better than we found it.

She’s helped women use small agricultural projects to better their lives all over the world thank you the Peace Corps, and now educates people at the Selah Bamberger Ranch preserve (including Master Naturalists!). Her love of the planet shown through every word.

I heard a lot about how cost effective goats are to raise and sell. The speaker, David Anderson, even explained what all the types of livestock sales mean. Now I’ll understand the livestock report on KMIL better.

One fun segment was by a ranch land lawyer. She answered so many questions about fencing, trespassing, and the usefulness of forming LLCs.

Tiffany Dowell-Lashmet and her list of topics

Then, I learned more than I ever thought I would about wells and well water. Luckily, since I can’t remember it all, Joel Pigg gave us lots of excellent printed material that I can’t wait to read and share. Major learning: wells should be uphill from septic systems.

Also, your well should have a log.

Probably my favorite speaker was Morgan Treadwell, whose husband is from the family that owns a historic Texas ranch. She knows her brush removal and how to use fire. What I learned, though, was how to get rid of brush cost effectively.

Great quote.

Morgan really had a lot of information that was new to me. For example, weaken mesquite with a controlled burn, then bring in goats to eat new growth. Huh. Goats again. Also fire won’t kill them when over 3 years old, so do small maintenance often rather than a huge effort every decade or so.

Rules to live by

The final talk was by a woman named Megan Clayton. She talked about how newer land owners may want to do different things with their land, and that women play a huge role in new things like agri-tourism and farm-to-table operations.

How reasons for owning land change by generations.

Clayton shared a lot of fun websites with us, including a cow poop analyzer, which I must try out at home. She then paired people with mentors and mentees. I ended up being a mentor because no one wanted to admit they knew anything.

This made us laugh.

Anyhow, this was a lot, but I learned so much. And the food was so good! I enjoyed meeting a lot of interesting women and was pleased to see the diversity of attendees. I’m looking forward to a day of ranch tours tomorrow!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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