Owners of small farms and ranches now have access to Web-based help for managing their land. Three online courses designed for agricultural novices are offered by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

The courses were organized to meet the demand for information from the growing group of small-acreage landowners. The number of Texas farms with 10 to 49 acres grew by 13 percent between 1997 and 2002, according to the census. By comparison, the number of farms with 2,000 acres or more remained about the same.

The new landowners are often city dwellers who buy rural property for retirement, an alternative source of income or a lifestyle change. The online courses were developed to help them learn more about managing their land with regard to conservation.

Courses being offered include: Resource Inventory; Beef Cattle Management and Pasture Management. There is a fee for the online classes.

Landowners should take the Resource Inventory course first, as it answers the question, ‘I’ve got this land, now what do I do with it?’

For more information, visit the Small Acreage Landowner Webcourse Web site. AgriLife Extension plans to expand the course offerings to include horse production and rainwater harvesting.