SAGUACHE, Colo (March 2, 2020) – The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) is pleased to announce a generous grant from the Trinchera Blanca Foundation to help make additional conservation in Colorado’s San Luis Valley (the Valley) possible in 2020 and beyond. The Trinchera Blanca Foundation’s support will advance CCALT’s San Luis Valley Conservation Strategy, a program designed to address increased demand for conservation tools from landowners in the Valley.
“Working farms and ranches are paramount to the character and economy of the Valley,” said Louis Bacon, chairman of The Moore Charitable Foundation and its local affiliate, Trinchera Blanca Foundation. “CCALT’s San Luis Valley Conservation Strategy program will give local landowners facing increased development pressure and other uncertainties a viable option to conserve their farm and ranch lands now and for future generations.”
Geographically, the San Luis Valley is nearly 8,000 square miles, bordered on the west by the La Garita Mountains and the San Juans, and to the east by the Sangre De Cristo Mountain Range. With fertile soil and a favorable growing season, agriculture has been the predominant economic driver in the Valley for generations. Large farming operations and family ranches make up the fabric of the communities in the Valley, and ranchers and farmers produce multiple crops and products including beef, bison, potatoes, quinoa, and lettuce.
An influx in development in recent years, combined with drought and economic pressures on farming and ranching families, has increased the importance of conservation in the region. For many ranchers and farmers, conserving their land is the only way to keep their properties in agricultural production. To date, CCALT has partnered with multiple families to conserve more than 9,000 acres in the Valley, and more than 41,535 acres in the region, protecting agricultural lands, key wildlife habitat, and 17 miles of stream frontage along Saguache Creek. While this work is impressive, there is still more to be done.
In 2020, CCALT hopes to complete four conservation projects in the Valley (adding an additional 5,862 acres of conserved land to the region), expand our operating presence in the Valley, and increase funding opportunities for landowners interested in conservation. The San Luis Valley Conservation Strategy will drive these projects and objectives forward with support from the Trinchera Blanca Foundation.
“The San Luis Valley is an integral part of Colorado’s western heritage and agricultural history. The farming and ranching families of the Valley have a strong conservation ethic. These family farms and ranches are worth conserving for the future of Colorado, and CCALT is proud to be a partner in this work,” said Erik Glenn, CCALT executive director.