Since 1995, The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) has partnered with landowners across Colorado to protect productive agricultural land. This work has helped agricultural families to achieve their estate planning goals, pay down debt, save for retirement, pay for long-term health care and college education, diversify and expand operations, and preserve their agricultural heritage. It has also helped to preserve the natural resources that make Colorado such a special place to live and visit.
On a recent trip to visit partners in Colorado, a topic of conversation was the importance of family land – families keeping their agricultural heritage and traditions alive through generations. The CCALT focuses exactly on this – and their work with the 19,000 acre Patterson Ranch near Kim, Colorado in Las Animas County is a success story in this remote and rugged portion of Southeastern Colorado. Here is that story, from the CCALT website.
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.”
CCALT is proud of the hundreds of thousands of acres that they have been able to conserve in partnership with landowners. Read more about these families, their love of the land, and their commitment to protecting Colorado’s heritage and way of life.