Tomlinson Farms by Texas General Land Office

 

Tomlinson Farms is an 805 acre farm/ranch located 5.7 miles to the northeast of Palacios in Matagorda County. It is approximately 11.5 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and 6.5 miles from West Matagorda Bay. It is located approximately 1.5 miles from the 7,000 acre Texas Nature Conservancy’s Mad Island Preserve, 2.5 miles from the 9,000 acre Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Mad Island WMA and about 2 miles from the 160 acre property of Dr. Nabil Baradhi, which is protected through a perpetual conservation easement.

The property is an exceptionally productive and high quality farm. About 75% of the property has been precision leveled. This greatly improves water conservation and allows the farmer to hold an optimum water depth over an entire field. Precision leveled fields save up to 20% of the water that is typically used in a rice field during one growing season. In addition, the fields are surrounded by an excellent levee system, which serve as field roads and to hold water in the numerous wetland projects that have been constructed on the property. Aluminum pipes with flashboard risers control the water depth. Within the next few years all of the property will be precision leveled.

250-400 acres of rice are farmed on the property each year. Combined yields for the two crops of rice range up to 11,000 pounds per acre. Recently seed rice developed by RiceTec has been grown on the property. Generally, RiceTec wants their seed grown on high quality farms that have been precision leveled and have good water deliverability. This allows them to maximize the production and quality of their seed. Other crops such as soybeans and sorghum are grown when prices and good and when the rice fields are fallow. Almost all of the property is utilized to grow crops. The property is very well maintained with almost no woody or invasive species.

The general area this property lies within is an area that runs from the Colorado River on the east to Tres Palacios Bay on the west and from Robbins Slough Road on the north to Oyster Lake on the south. It is a stronghold of intense farming, especially rice, waterfowl habitat management, waterfowl hunting and rice farming. The protection of this area is imperative because of its immense and intertwined values to agriculture, recreation and wildlife A permit for a high volume agricultural water well has been obtained and will likely be drilled and completed within the next few months. This will allow the owner to farm rice on the property during dry years and to pump water for his waterfowl projects throughout the winter after the LCRA canal system shuts down in mid-October.

Cattle are grazed on the property. Winter pasture such as rye grass is planted during the fall to provide grazing for the cattle during the winter.

Waterfowl management is also integrated with the rice farming for waterfowl hunting. Seven wetland projects totaling about 425 acres have been constructed. The flooded rice and fallow fields provide habitat to hundreds of thousands of waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds and songbirds throughout the year. When all of the fields have been precision leveled it is likely about 550 acres of the property will be held in shallow water. This supplies excellent habitat for waterfowl, provides recreational opportunities for the hunting lessees and generates income for the landowner. Two of the upper tributaries of Mad Island Slough start, or run through, Tomlinson Farms. The tail water that leaves from the rice fields and wetland projects is of very high quality.

Threats:
1. Expansion of the South Texas Nuclear Project. The South Texas Nuclear Project is about 3 miles away to the north. This would impact the area through increased activity and property values.
2. White Stallion Coal Fired Electrical Plant. White Stallion is about 6 miles away to the north. This would also increase activity in the area and possibly cause property values to rise.
3. Unknown threats: Often threats can come out of nowhere to imperil agricultural lands. In 2007 Exelon almost built a new nuclear plant on the LeTulle Ranch, which is about 3-4 miles away to the south and in the middle of one of the largest rice farm in Texas.

White Stallion and the expansion of the South Texas Nuclear Project would also create huge increases in the demand for the water in the area.

Through the drilling of a high volume agricultural water well Mr. Tomlinson will ensure that water can be supplied to his rice farming operations and to the wetland/waterfowl projects.

Contribute to LandScope

Want to join, work with us or simply find out more? Learn how you can get involved.

Contribute

Copyright © 2017 NatureServe. All Rights Reserved.