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Strategic Ranchlands at Risk in the Rocky Mountain West: Mapping the Threats to Prime Ranchland in Seven Western States

American Farmland Trust, Center of the American West, and The Nature Conservancy conducted a study to model and map prime ranchlands of the rocky mountain west (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico) and to assess the development threats to those lands over the next twenty years. This slide presentation was developed in conjuction with the report, Strategic Ranchland in the Rocky Mountain West.

Agricultural Mitigation Case Studies: Program Summaries and Stakeholder Perspectives from Seven Western Communities

This report attempts to answer questions asked by the community of Missoula County, Montana, including: how well different types of mitigation are working on the ground; how to calculate a value for conserved lands; how to ensure responsible management of conserved lands; and how mitigation works alongside voluntary land protection measures. The Land Use & Natural Resources Clinic at the has gathered information from seven western communities engaged in regulatory protection of agricultural lands.

Colorado Beginning Farmer Loan Program

The Colorado Agricultural Development Authority (CADA) loan program is known as the Beginning Farmer Program. The program involves a three-way transaction between the lender, the borrower and CADA. Through the issuance of a tax exempt bond by CADA to the lender, all interest paid by the borrower is tax exempt. The result is an interest rate to the borrower below commercial rates.  Because interest paid to the lender under this program is tax-exempt, the lender should be willing to charge interest rates substantially below commercial rates.

Guidestone Colorado Land Link Program

Colorado Land Link provides tools and services that can help new farmers and ranchers access agricultural land and assists retiring farmers and ranchers with farm transitions. The Land Link program serves as a resource and referral center for:

• Beginning farmers and ranchers looking to enter agriculture
• Prospective farmers and ranchers seeking land access and farm opportunities
• Non-farming landowners seeking farmers
• Retiring farmers and ranchers looking to develop farm succession and transfer plans

The Return on Investment: The Economic Value of Colorado's Conservation Easements

Conservation easements are the primary land preservation tool in Colorado, accounting for more than two-thirds of all conserved land in the state. The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) has partnered with The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and other conservation organizations to determine the economic value of Colorado’s conservation easements. Researchers found that $595 million investment in conservation easements returned $3.51 billion in public benefits. A return of $6 for every $1 invested.

Smart Growth Policies: An Evaluation of Programs and Outcomes

Despite the widespread adoption of smart growth principles, there has been little systematic assessment of their effectiveness or consequences. To fill this need, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy collaborated with 14 of the country’s leading public policy researchers and planners to measure performance in four states with statewide smart growth programs (Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, and Oregon) and performance in four states without such programs (Colorado, Indiana, Texas, and Virginia).

Colorado Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Pilot Program Enabling Statutes

The Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Pilot Program provides students in participating public schools with free fruit and vegetables. Interested school districts apply to the program through the Department of Education. Eligible schools are selected based on a variety of criteria, one of which is to ensure that a certain percentage of students enrolled in a particular school district are eligible for reduced or free lunch under federal law. The law also requires participating schools to use Colorado fruits and vegetables to the maximum extent possible.

Alternatives for Future Growth in the Tri-River Region

Increasing population pressures are threatening to strain current systems of growth and land protecton measures in Colorado's Tri-River Region. Delta, Mesa, Montrose and Ouray counties are home to some of our state's most valuable agricultural land and important conservation areas.

Using county and municipal data, analysts evaluated how land use policies might influence development patterns, and estimated their associated costs to local governments in Delta, Mesa, Montrose and Ouray counties in Colorado.

Conservation Tax Credits: A Landowner's Guide

The Colorado Conservation Tax Credit is a unique tool by which landowners can preserve their land for generations to come. Take, for instance, the Kehmeier family. Dorothy and Norman Kehmeier’s 300-acre Delta County ranch has been in their family for 110 years. They have always wanted to protect their ranch from development and eventually pass it to their children. The Conservation Tax Credit provided them with the financial opportunity to accomplish this goal.

The Last Roundup? How Public Policies Facilitate Rural Sprawl and the Decline of Ranching in Colorado's Mountain Valleys

Cattle ranching has throughout history been the heart and soul—and the economic mainstay—of the American West. Today, however, ranching in the Rocky Mountains is being transformed from a commercial activity into a lifestyle or pastime; a mere backdrop for outdoor recreation and the development that has followed it into the scenic valleys and foothills. Yet, cattle raising in the 32 counties comprising Colorado's mountain region still contributes one-eighth of the state's total agricultural output and employs one out of five agricultural workers in the state.

Rocky Mountain Agricultural Landowners Guide to Conservation and Sustainability

The Rocky Mountain Agricultural Landowners Guide is the product of a unique partnership between American Farmland Trust and Coleman Natural Foods through the Coleman Eco-Project 2015, a 10-year relationship that addresses the critical need to protect U.S. working farms and ranches. In this guide, you will find information outlining tools and federal and state programs to help farmers and ranchers conserve their land and maintain its long-term health for future generations.


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