Conservation easement accepted in Weld County
April 14, 2006
Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust
Weld County ranchers John and Gina Cox became the first Weld County landowners to donate a conservation easement on their ranch, the “Savage Ranch” located in Keenesburg, Colo., to the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT).
They specifically want to see more productive agricultural lands stay in agriculture to preserve the agricultural character of the landscape and the community they live in.
It was their desire to improve the Return On Investment (ROI) from their ranch that led to the creation of the easement.
John explained that the easement was just one piece ” albeit a major one ” of a puzzle which will result in better economics for their ranch.
“We improved our revenues over the past few years through better marketing of our beef calves and our grass hay,” said John. “However, the ROI still was not competitive with alternative investments.
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“Our primary investment was in land. The land value can be broken into different components: agricultural and development. In our case the ag value and development value were roughly equal. Importantly, the only income we were receiving was from the ag side; the development value is realized only at sale.
“To increase our ROI, we needed to reduce our capital investment. We decided to develop a few building sites for sale and to donate the conservation easement which reduced our investment by about 50 percent. When you cut the denominator in halt: you double the ROI.”
Jay Fetcher, president of this unique statewide land trust said, “The bottom line for all ag operators has to be their business and its profitability. CCALT was created with the primary interests of these individuals in mind. Its mission is to help Colorado’s farmers and ranchers protect their agricultural lands and encourage continuing production “
For more information contact CCALT at (303) 431-6422 or e-mail at email@example.com.