The Payoff of Conservation, Part 1 of 3

“It’s not about being an environmentalist or a conservationist,” he said. “I care a lot about that. But it’s really about dollars and business. If this place is ruined, this company and others will go.” – Peter Metcalf – President/CEO, Black Diamond Equipment

Mirr Ranch Group agrees with Mr. Metcalf of Black Diamond Equipment, the Utah businessman whose quote above appeared recently in a New York Times article describing how environmentally-efficient and ecologically-sensitive business principles are taking hold even in places like Utah, where folks largely mistrusted such ideals in the past. With many enterprises, exercising sustainable business practices might mean cutting emissions or recycling materials, but for Black Diamond – and Mirr Ranch Group, too – this means resource protection, for its companies like us that “will go” if the very product that we assume will always be there some day is not. You might’ve noticed that Mirr Ranch Group’s website, ads, and general branding all espouse saving working landscapes and the ranching culture. But let’s not try to fool anyone. We market ourselves this way, yes, to a certain extent because we personally believe in these principles, but largely because, like Mr. Metcalf says above, it’s “about dollars and business,” ie., making money.

For Mirr Ranch Group, believing in the preservation of ranchland and the ranching culture is just good business sense. Far from “greenwashing,” in which corporations “talk the talk,” but don’t “walk the walk” where the environment is concerned, Mirr Ranch Group is very sincere about its commitment to land protection. This is evident in the fact that its principal, Ken Mirr, is the new President of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts Board of Directors, and another colleague, Tommy Latousek, is one of the very few ranch brokers in the West with actual land trust experience, having negotiated dozens of easements as a manager with Mesa Land Trust, the nation’s oldest agricultural land trust, based in Grand Junction, CO. So, yes, like Mr. Metcalf, we “care a lot about that (“being a . . . conservationist”),” but our involvement is still mostly a business decision, and one that’s not without risks. While we have many clients that hire us for our conservation expertise – today’s buyers and sellers are increasingly “green” themselves and well-aware of the benefits of conservation easements – we also know that there are potential clients out there who might not agree with such ideals.

By Tommy Latousek

Stay tuned next week for the rest of the series, “The Payoff of Conservation.”

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