CONSUME & CONVERSE
with Blair Fitzsimons & Dr. Roel Lopez
Texas Financial Partners’ next Consume and Converse event will feature Blair Fitzsimons, CEO of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust (TALT), and Dr. Roel Lopez, Director of the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute. Blair and Roel will share their insights on preserving working lands across the generations at the April 25th event.
Last October, the TFP team was pleased to participate in a TALT-sponsored seminar on the topic of “Saving Family Lands.” At that seminar, we learned that 84% of Texas acreage is comprised of privately-owned working lands. As Texas’ population grows, open spaces are increasingly threatened by appropriation and fragmentation. It is TALT’s mission to protect working lands in Texas by using various tools to preserve them across generations. Some such tools include conservation easements, which can help families preserve lands by dedicating a portion of them to public use.
Many Texas families own farms and ranches, and it is important to our clients to keep them in the family. For this reason, we are eager to hear Blair and Roel’s insights on how families can secure their working lands from one generation to the next, and how their financial advisors can help them do that.
Texas Financial Partners hosts periodic Consume and Converse events to facilitate conversation and the sharing of ideas among life insurance and financial services professionals. We look forward to hosting Blair and Roel and learning better ways for providing continuity of service to our land-owning clients.
Blair Fitzsimons serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust, (TALT) a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of agricultural lands, wildlife habitats and natural resources in Texas. Founded in 2007 by leaders from several statewide agricultural and landowner organizations, TALT today holds conservation easements on over 227,000 acres of working lands throughout Texas. Previously, for American Farmland Trust (AFT), Blair spearheaded the legislative effort to establish a Purchase of Development Rights program in Texas, and worked with Texas A&M’s Institute for Renewable Natural Resources to create a database documenting rural land loss and trends in Texas.
Prior to her work for American Farmland Trust, Blair worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to establish a $100 million Texas High School Project, and chaired the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board; a $1.5 billion fund established by the Texas Legislature to make grants for telecommunications to rural schools, hospitals and libraries. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Land Trust Alliance and is a former committee member for Terrafirma, a land trust industry insurance program. She also plays a role in the development of the state’s water plan through her service as an agriculture representative on the Region L water planning group.
In addition to Texas Agricultural Land Trust, Blair supports her husband and sister-in-law with the management of the family’s cattle and hunting ranch, located along the Texas-Mexico border. In 2005, the ranch was named the regional winner of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s environmental stewardship award. The Fitzsimons were also awarded the 2015 Harvey Weil Conservationists of the Year Award. Blair and her husband, Joseph, have three grown children.
Dr. Roel Lopez
Dr. Roel Lopez is Director of the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute and Professor in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University. He has over 20 years of natural resource and land management experience with academia, federal and state agencies, and private industry. His research focuses on endangered and fragmented wildlife populations, sustainability of military lands, and rural land trends and demographics.
April 25, 2019
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
San Antonio Country Club
4100 N. New Braunfels Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78209