Local farmers will soon be able to try and bid on a plot of land next to the Nueces County Airport in Robstown.
Nueces County Commissioners approved the method of procurement at a Nov. 14 meeting for the leasing of about 122 acres of county-owned land adjacent to the airport for a duration of three years.
Purchasing agent Elsa Saenz said the county will lease the land for agricultural purposes only, just as it has in previous years, but must do so every time the lease expires.
"It's been leased for years," Saenz said. "But when the lease ends, we have to go back out for bids."
Previously, the land in question was leased to Boyd Liska Farms. Liska, who said he used the land to plant cotton and milo, said Monday that he does plan to bid again on the land once the proposal is advertised.
Harvey Buehring, agricultural demonstration assistant for Nueces County, said it is not uncommon for farmers to lease land from a public entity, but added there are risks involved for the type of land being proposed.
"Rain tends to run off the runways and flood the fields," Buehring said. "Because of that, you can't fly any insecticide treatments in and the grounds may be too wet to send in harvest machines."
In addition, Buehring said the Federal Aviation Administration doesn't allow harvesting at night because "they don't want any lights interfering with air traffic control."
Despite the risks, Buehring added, most farmers are willing to lease property for agricultural purposes.
"It is productive land," Buehring said. "It's just that you have restrictions on access and what you can send in there."
Saenz said there is no timeline for when the request for proposals will be advertised since it must first be approved by the county attorney.
However, county officials said they hope to have a lease in place by December.