Conservation Easements at Risk in Nebraska

A bill was recently introduced to the Nebraska Legislature prohibiting perpetual conservation easements (CEs), and local land trusts maintain the legislation would undermine the benefits of easements and diminish landowner control.

Nebraska Proposes Limiting Conservation Easements

The proposed bill would limit the terms of CEs to no more than 99 years and give local elected officials greater authority to approve or deny future easements. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has been outspoken in his support of such efforts. 

98% of Nebraska is privately owned

While less than .5% is protected from conversion to non-agricultural use

The View of Local Land Trusts

The Nebraska Land Trust, part of the Partnership of Rangeland Trusts, (an alliance that our own Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust is also a part of), recently released a video in response to these increasing sentiments at the state capital. 

According to the film, 98% of Nebraska is privately owned, and currently, less than one-half of 1% of Nebraska’s private land is permanently protected from conversion to non-agricultural use. With rapid development comes the loss of productive agricultural land, wildlife habitat, natural resources, cultural ties, and family legacies. 

An Expression of Landowners’ Private Property Rights

Conservation Easements are voluntary legal agreements that allow private landowners, like farmers and ranchers, to permanently conserve their working lands. Landowners choose to limit certain uses of their land – like subdivisions – in order to retain its agricultural, wildlife, and conservation value. These types of agreements have proven immensely successful in Colorado and other parts of the country; they protect landscapes and keep working ranches working.  

Mirr Ranch Group supports a landowner’s property right to conserve their land. Conservation easements aren’t right for everyone, nor in every situation, but it should be the landowner’s decision. 

Check out and share the beautiful video below:

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