Western Ranchland Trusts Top In The Nation In Conservation

Partnerships with more than 1,000 farms and ranches protect 1.8 million acres.

Published on: Apr 25, 2012

According to a recent Land Trust Alliance survey, agricultural land trusts are the top performers in the nation.

The most successful of these trusts belong to Partnership of Rangeland Trusts. PORT is an alliance of seven state-wide ranching land trusts that have close and strong affiliations with their state livestock associations.

America's ag producers are taking the lead in permanently protecting the nation's best working lands,  the places that not only provide incredible scenery, water quality and wildlife habitat, but also produce the safest and most reliable source of food in the world, says Pamela Dewell, Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust executive director.

Maggie Miller of Grindstone Cattle Co., Daniel, Wyo., looks over land in agricultural trust.
Maggie Miller of Grindstone Cattle Co., Daniel, Wyo., looks over land in agricultural trust.

PORT members have accomplished never before seen levels of land conservation, she adds. The next several years will be critical in securing the future of our nation's working farms and ranches, says Dewell.

The landowner led, private land efforts of the rangeland trust are an exciting new way for our country to accomplish meaningful national conservation goals, she believes.

Rangeland trusts in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Oregon as well as in California, Kansas and Texas collectively hold more than 1,150 permanent conservation easements on more than 1.8 million acres today.

These efforts are only possible with the partnership land trusts have formed with landowners who have had the commitment to protect land for new generations.

PORT has many federal policy priorities which have the opportunity to benefit working family farmers and ranchers and advance private land conservation. These initiatives include:

n  The Grassland Reserve Program and Farm and Ranchland Protection Program.

n  Legislation making the federal conservation easement income tax incentive permanent.

n  Abolishment of the Estate Tax.

"PORT has an important and effective voice at the national level, championing the cause of agricultural land  conservation in a way that promotes maximum impact of these programs," says Lynne Sherrod, Western Policy Manager for the Land Trust Alliance.