With more than half of the farmers and ranchers in the western Great Plains at or past retirement age, significant acreages are destined to change hands in the near future. Land will be sold off to other producers and developers, passed down to heirs, and rented out to other operators. But what about landowners who don’t want to lose control of their land, don’t have heirs and don’t want to see it lost to development? That’s where land trusts come in.
Land trusts can help preserve the natural legacy of land forever. They do this by entering into conservation easement agreements with landowners that place permanent limitations on land use, like prohibiting development. Landowners can either sell or donate easements to trusts, generating income and multiple tax benefits at the same time conserving their land.
It is important to understand that these easements are contracts, which can be changed or modified to help both parties achieve their goals. If landowners are interested in the benefits that can come from providing an easement, we encourage a thorough review of each land trust in your area before picking one that you feel most comfortable with.
There are several land trusts that operate in the Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV) region. Below is a partial listing. The Land Trust Alliance can provide more information about protecting farm and ranch land through easements, as well as a complete listing of land trusts in each state.
- The Nature Conservancy
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Ducks Unlimited
- Pheasants/Quail Forever
- American Farmland Trust
- Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
- Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust
- Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas (CO)
- Colorado Open Lands
- Southern Plains Land Trust (CO, NM)
- Ranchland Trust of Kansas
- Kansas Land Trust
- Sunflower Land Trust (KS)
- Nebraska Land Trust
- New Mexico Land Conservancy
- Taos Land Trust (NM)
- Land Legacy (OK)
- Natural Area Preservation Association (TX)
- Texas Agricultural Land Trust