Kinnan Golemon, the senior member of the environmental law team at Brown McCarroll in Austin, remembers the first time a law partner called him an agriculturalist. He wasn’t sure what to make of the term at first. But when he heard the definition, he was on board.
“He told me once that an agriculturist is someone who makes his money in the city and spends it in the country,” Golemon says. “I certainly qualify.”
Golemon, 68, invests much of his money, if not as much time as he’d like, on his 600-acre cattle ranch near Brady, 125 miles northwest of Austin. He has more than 150 head of Corriente cattle, a small, agile breed that’s used mostly as sporting cattle.
“I was a town boy growing up southwest of Austin, but I had friends whose families owned rural properties, and occasionally on weekends I’d go out and help ranch. Now my day job supports my cowboy habit,” he says. His wife, Jacqueline, manages the ranch (along with hired help) while he spends the workweek in Austin.
Golemon has nearly four decades of experience in the environmental field and has represented clients in state and federal legislative forums on environmental issues since 1969. From 1992 to 2006, he served as the general counsel for the Texas Chemical Council, the association representing the approximately 90 chemical manufacturers located in Texas. He’s a common figure at the Capitol during legislative sessions, lobbying hard for eco-friendly laws.
“Some people paint me as being Darth Vader, but I’m a conservationist at heart,” he says. “I believe strongly that we have an obligation to leave a place better than how we found it, whether it’s property or our own society.”
Environmental issues are seldom black and white, but too often are treated as such, Golemon says. “Most of the people who deal in absolutes in the environmental arena,” he says, “tend to be wrong. If you want to have a robust economy, that usually involves people making something and mining something. The main thing is not to impose costs on your neighbor.”