U.S. Ag Secretary signs agreement with Gov. Abbott protecting Texas’ private & public lands


US Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue signs a Shared Stewardship agreement with Gov. Abbott on Thursday, July 17. (Wes Rapaport/Nexstar)

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visited the Capitol Thursday to sign an agreement with Governor Greg Abbott aiming to improve the health of public and private lands throughout the state.

Perdue explained the Shared Stewardship Agreement formalizes existing relationships between local, state and federal agencies in order to better respond to wildfires, natural resource concerns and ecological challenges.

The USDA, National Forest Service, Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department were all included in the agreement.

“These agencies will work to collaborate to assist Texas forest landowners protect and strengthen forest academies and to provide stewardship strategies for our publicly owned resources,” Gov. Abbott said Thursday.

“This is a formalization of what’s been taking place and between our federal partners in the forest service and, and your folks here, the state forestry department, as well as the recreation area as well,” Perdue said.

Gov. Abbott said the partnership is critical in preventing and learning how to better respond to wildfires, specifically.

“We are concerned about the possibility and the threat of fires that could be arising here in the coming days and weeks. And so it’s important for everybody to be working collaboratively together right now, to make sure we do all that we can to prevent forest fires from taking place,” Gov. Abbot said Thursday.

“How do we share that responsibility? Because honestly the boundaries of public, private, state, federal lands, passed by a fire, know no boundaries and just continues to ravage across the land,” Perdue added.

The agreement also builds on the work the Texas Forestry Council, which has been addressing forest resource issues across the state for more than a decade.

Texas is the 15th state to agree to the stewardship framework.

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