The Payoff of Conservation, Part 3 of 3

And now, here’s our final installment of the “The Payoff of Conservation” by Tommy Latousek:

Mirr Ranch Group believes that our clients – ranchers and those that buy ranches – care about these issues and want to see this special land type and the culture that supports it stick around for a long, long time. The proliferation and success of cattlemen’s state land trusts across the West is proof of this, as these folks now clearly see the conservation easement as a viable tool to keep themselves flourishing in a world that appears increasingly bereft of viable alternatives for agricultural producers. Areas in Utah featured in the New York Times article have even voted to tax themselves to protect the ranches and open land in their community, so widespread is the land protection movement. Land protection is no longer just an option for those of high net worth that need to shelter income.

But let’s talk about making money again. Mirr Ranch Group feels that being involved in land protection work connects us to the various local communities around the West that we work in and that doing so is intrinsically tied to good business performance. For MRG, and the various business managers in the New York Times article, green principles are ecologically-logical exercises that lowers costs, maybe not in the short-term, but in the long-term, which is what Mirr Ranch Group is in this business for – the long-term. In eco terms, what we sow and steward well, will grow and feed us. In dollars, we expect. We’re ranch brokers, not land brokers, not residential lot brokers, so ranchland is our product, what we help buy, sell, manage, steward, and protect. Once the land is subdivided it’s gone, never to be a ranch again, becoming the purview of other broker specialists, but not us. The buyers we represent are interested in intact historic, working landscapes, with clean water, unobstructed vistas, and healthy natural systems. Conservation easements help preserve all of this, hence, preserving the very product that is our livelihood. In fact, according to American Farmland Trust, we have 4.5 million acres of high-quality strategic ranchland at risk in Colorado. Nationally, we’re losing two acres of farm and ranchland per minute.To us, keep ranches and ranchers flourishing, and Mirr Ranch Group follows.

There are other ways to assist ranchers and their lands, too, with instrumental groups such as the New Mexico-based Quivira Coalition bringing ranchers, conservationists, public land managers and others together to show how ecologically-healthy rangeland and economic health can be compatible. Groups like Quivira do great work and help us do ours. And on the buyer side, Mirr Ranch Group and its stable of resource experts help many of the new ranch owners, many of whom haven’t owned or managed large acreage before, improve upon their sizable investment by helping them locate capable holistic resource managers, perhaps rehabilitating the resource and managing if for wildlife, etc., in doing so helping protect and enhance these clients long-term investment in the land.

Certainly as long-time residents of the West ourselves, we at Mirr Ranch Group experience the payoffs of conservation that we all receive, the pleasure of driving past a freshly-cut and baled hayfield set against a snow-capped mountain backdrop, the sight of deer and elk crossing a rancher’s fields, and just knowing that we can still go buy locally-produced food at the local grocery store and farmers’ markets. Preserve those things, those benefits, as well as our clientele and its product, and, we, perhaps selfishly, preserve our bottom-line. Again, it’s about the payoff from the investment. It’s about conservation.

By Tommy Latousek

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