Neil Wilkins, Ph.D. (left), Doug Steele, Ph.D. (middle), Bill Buckner (right), sign a memorandum of understanding to officially establish the Center for Private Land Stewardship.
Neil Wilkins, Ph.D. (left), Doug Steele, Ph.D. (middle), Bill Buckner (right), sign a memorandum of understanding to officially establish the Center for Private Land Stewardship.

Three agricultural organizations officially formed a collaboration that will benefit private land owners across the United States.

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Texas A&M University’s Institute Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR), and the East Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding that formed the Center for Private Land Stewardship (CPLS). The signing took place Tuesday, Feb. 3, at the launch of the Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show in San Antonio Texas.

“Big movements begin with small moments,” said Bill Buckner, President and CEO of the Noble Foundation. “Today by signing this memo, our three organizations are committed to advancing private land stewardship and integrating the interest of land owners with community well-being.”

CPLS is designed to be the hub of education for private land owners and the public. It will create practical solutions for real-world problems facing land owners, while advocating for resource stewardship. Through activities such as land use forecasting, experiential learning, professional training, and policy innovations, the center will inform and demonstrate the value of proper stewardship of private lands. The CPLS will also conduct research on land use changes and other drivers affecting private lands.

“Nothing is more critical to the future of agriculture and society than the stewardship of our land resources,” said Roel Lopez, Ph.D., director of IRNR. “Our agricultural producers and land managers do an excellent job safeguarding this resource. However, CPLS will offer them more resources, practical tools to help handle the problems they encounter, while also bringing vital education to the public so they too are energized toward the cause of stewardship.”

The CPLS will continue to grow, forming collaborative relationships with other like-minded organizations to further address regional and national stewardship issues. “The work of private landowners in conserving natural resources is increasingly important. We expect that the three organizations starting this effort today will soon be joined by others who also understand private land stewardship,” said Neal Wilkins, Ph.D., President of the East Foundation. “This is just the beginning. I can’t wait to see where we go from here.”