A Playa Rehab on the West Texas Plains

Mark Hilliard of Hale County, Texas, bought the native grassland on which his playa sits from family members, then protected the playa and its grassland buffer with a permanent Wetlands Reserve Easement. He couldn’t be more happy with NRCS assistance removing sediment from the playa to improve its function and create bird habitat. Learn what’s involved in negotiating a perpetual easement.

Listen Now >>

Preserving Ranching Heritage in Kansas Hill Country

Chester Peterson, Jr., of Lindsborg, Kansas, owns grass and cropland on the western margin of the Flinthills, a rolling landscape of tall- and shortgrass prairie largely unchanged since settlers crossed it in the 1860s. He wanted to keep the land perpetually free from subdevelopment, petroleum wells, wind turbines and cellular towers. He contracted land easements with the Ranchland Trust of Kansas. That organization, created by the Kansas Livestock Association, is tasked with preserving Kansas ranching heritage and open spaces for future generations.

Listen Now >>

Conservation Easements Through Farm Bill Programs

Over its 80-year history, the federal government’s Farm Bill refined soil, water and habitat conservation programs. Along the way, its strategy changed from “let’s see how many we can sign up” to a more focused “best bang for the buck” approach to conservation, funding programs to conserve fragile landscapes. This episode examines programs available from the Natural Rescources Conservation Service offering landowners monetary incentives to place qualified land under long-term or permanent conservation easements.

Listen Now >>

Water Conservation in Northeast Colorado

When Denver physician and sportsman Kent Heyborne bought land in northeast Colorado, his intent was to leave it undeveloped as bird habitat. But, working with Ducks Unlimited along the South Platte River, he created a water-conservation project resulting in neighboring farms gaining additional irrigation credits. By putting the land under perpetual easement, he created a development-free zone spanning from one wildlife park to another, ensuring a corridor of waterfowl habitat several miles long. Plus, he earned state and federal tax credits along the way.

Listen Now >>

Conservation Easements and Land Trusts

More than half of western Great Plains farmers are near retirement age. Many are considering conservation easements as a way of protecting the land from development and subdivision long after they’re gone. The federal government, through USDA programs, negotiate easements on land meeting conservation requirements. Other organizations, called Land Trusts, have been created specifically for contracting with landowners to protect land from future development. Learn about the functions of land trusts and what they’re able to accomplish in this episode.

Listen Now >>

Landowner Enrolls Lagoon in Wetlands Reserve Easement

Dave Hilfterty grows dryland winter wheat and irrigated corn in Perkins County, Nebraska. Dave had a challenge that was perfect for a Wetlands Reserve Easement. Amongst his five irrigation circles there’s a lagoon, which he got tired of trying to farm through.

Listen Now >>

Wetlands Reserve Easement in Kansas

McPherson County landowner Dale Schmidt bought ground he intended to farm, but often it was too wet to plant or to harvest. He’s pleased he enrolled the land as a perpetual wetland easement. Schmidt and his NRCS District Conservationist Blake McLemore discuss the improvements made to the parcel.

Listen Now >>