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The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) was created just 28 years ago by Colorado farm and ranch families to conserve working agricultural lands. Through private landowner partnerships, CCALT has surpassed three quarters of a million acres in Colorado conserved forever.
June 11, 2023
LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Today the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) announced it has surpassed the milestone of 750,000 acres of conserved working lands in Colorado with more than 765,000 acres conserved to date. As a statewide land trust, CCALT has partnered with over 400 families to complete conservation easements. CCALT trailblazed a new conservation model to become the leading land trust in Colorado and now ranks third nationally in total acreage conserved under easements.
“Reaching this 750,000-acre landmark is a testament to the exceptional partnerships we’ve built with landowners and communities across Colorado,” said Erik Glenn, Executive Director of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust. “At CCALT, we aren’t just pioneering an innovative approach to land conservation, we are crafting a shared legacy that places people, livelihoods, and the vibrant rural communities at the heart of our work. Our mission is not simply to conserve land, but to cultivate a bright future for agriculture in Colorado.”
CCALT completed a successful merger with northwest Colorado’s Yampa Valley Land Trust in 2019 that contributed more than 55,000 acres from 79 conserved properties. The Delhi Ranch Conservation Easement helped CCALT reach the 750,000-acre mark in March 2023 with more than 27,000 conserved acres from the UE and Iron Springs Ranches. This CCALT-held easement is one of the largest in its history, spreading across three southeastern Colorado counties. Additional landowner partnerships in northeast, northwest, the Front Range, and southern Colorado marched CCALT forward to conclude its fiscal year with 765,000 conserved acres.
Conservation easements are personal, voluntary choices landowners make to limit future development on their lands. Collectively, CCALT-landowner partnerships now conserve working land acreage exceeding the amount preserved in all National Park Service land units in Colorado (excluding national historic trails). This nonprofit organization’s success stems from disrupting the conservation model by focusing on people and communities first.
CCALT was the first land trust in the nation born from an agricultural producer organization. The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) was established in 1867 to be a voice for landowners. CCA’s membership created the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust in 1995. This model has been replicated in 11 states across the West and Midwest through the Partnership of Rangeland Trusts resulting in more than three million acres of working agricultural lands conserved in the region.
“When the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association membership established Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, we embarked on a groundbreaking path for land conservation in the United States,” said Erin Karney, Executive Vice President of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. “This achievement underscores the unwavering dedication and stewardship of Colorado’s farm and ranch families, who play an indispensable role in land conservation.”
CCALT is a land trust designed for landowners by landowners with the intent to benefit all Coloradans through sustained agricultural productivity. Since its founding, CCALT has led and influenced Federal Farm Bill and State of Colorado Tax Credit policy changes that have made conservation financially feasible for working agricultural operations. This milestone was recognized by Senator Michael Bennet of the Centennial State’s congressional delegation.
“Congratulations to the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust for the extraordinary achievement of conserving three quarters of a million acres of working lands and wildlife habitat in Colorado,” Senator Bennet said in a statement. “I’m grateful for the invaluable work they do to bring Coloradans together to protect our landscapes. In Washington, I’ll keep working to write a Farm Bill that makes our conservation programs work better for Colorado’s farmers and ranchers.”
CCALT currently has 31 active projects on over 61,000 additional acres. While continuing to deliver conservation easements on working lands, CCALT has perpetual obligations to support landowner stewardship on all easement properties. A burgeoning CCALT Additive Conservation Program is in place to expand additional conservation services and resources for landowners.
About the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust
The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) is a nonprofit land conservation organization whose mission is to “…conserve Colorado’s western heritage and working landscapes for the benefit of future generations.” CCALT has partnered with hundreds of ranching and farming families to conserve more than 765,000 acres to date.