The 19,000 acre Patterson Ranch near Kim, Colorado represents three generations of a family keeping their agricultural heritage and traditions alive in a remote and rugged portion of Southeastern Colorado.

For years, the family grappled with the challenge of estate planning and how they would transfer the family’s agriculture business from one generation to the next without facing crippling taxes and having to sell some or all of the ranch.

The Patterson family worked with CCALT and several other conservation partners to convey a conservation easement that enabled the Patterson family to reduce their estate tax liability, generate income and preserve the entire ranch as a viable agricultural operation. The conservation project was completed in 2000 and achieved all of the goals established by the family.

After years of operating with a conservation easement, the Patterson family is still going strong, valuing the partnership with CCALT that has enabled them to continue the family’s strong agricultural heritage in Southeastern Colorado. The Pattersons occasionally reminisce on the struggles they faced when deciding whether or not conservation was the right option for their family.

“Looking back, the decision was really very simple,” said Bob and Bunny Patterson. “We wanted to remain in agriculture and we wanted to pass the ranch on to our kids and grandkids. The conservation easement allowed us to do just that, and over the past decade, not much has changed. We continue to run the ranch the same way we did before the easement and the only thing that really did change is that now we have a better peace of mind as to what the future will hold.”