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farm and ranch lands protection program

Key Sage Grouse Habitat Protected in Colorado through a Conservation Easement Partnership

The recent conservation easement on the Yust Ranch in northwestern Colorado represents not only the preservation of a five-generation ranching entity, it also illustrates the vitality of partnerships that expand federal programs and initiatives aimed at protecting wildlife habitat, particularly for species of concern.

Conservation Easement Protects a Vital Stock Trail in Wyoming

Cattlemen, woolgrowers, anglers, hikers and hunters will continue to enjoy Beartrap Meadows in the Big Horns of Wyoming thanks to a conservation easement that will forever protect a stock trail used by many ranchers.

The project conserves part of a stock trail, or stock rest, in western Johnson County that has been used by agricultural producers for almost a century.

Located high in the southern Big Horn Mountains near the headwaters of Beartrap Creek, ranchers in the region rely on the area as a stopover for rest for their cattle and sheep while driving them to summer grazing pastures. More than 20,000 head of livestock travel the trail annually to take advantage of the area’s plentiful water and forage.

Conservation Easement Enables Landowners to Restore Wetland, Help Protect Fish

Through conservation easements, people like Dave Budeau are able to protect and restore important landscapes, like wetlands, grasslands and farmlands.

Budeau wanted to restore and protect a wetland. When the wildlife biologist searched for a new home in 2003, his passion for wildlife and nature led him to purchase what may have seemed to some as an unfriendly plot of land for wildlife. But a conservation program helped him change that.

The recently passed 2014 Farm Bill continues to provide financial and technical assistance for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners wanting to put their land into easements. But rather than separate programs, the major easement programs offered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service have been bundled into one – the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, or ACEP. One additional easement program, the Healthy Forests Reserve Program, remains separate.

NRCS Helps Preserve Wyoming Ranching Family's Way of Life with Conservation Easement

A large, family-run ranch in Wyoming was recently placed in permanent conservation easement with the help of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and The Conservation Fund. The efforts of other partners were also key.

The ranch, which is one of the oldest operating ranches held by one family in the Green River Valley, will be permanently protected under NRCS’ Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP). The 10,000-acre ranch is actually two homestead properties owned by the Budd-Espenscheid family, near the town of Big Piney, and will be protected under two easements.

Home on the Range

Cowboys are known for being good story tellers, and Roy and Steve Breuklander are no exceptions.

Roy might tell you how his grandparents homesteaded in Cherry County back in the 1880s. Roy’s son, Steve, might share how his family started one of the first canoe outfitters in Niobrara Valley.

Conservation Partnership Helps Family Farm Thrive

Allen and Becky Clark have been farming for 17 years. When they started their small business, they grew flowers, pumpkins and corn stalks. Four years ago, they began raising goats for milk and cheese and eventually started making soap as well. The Clarks had long wanted to expand their farm but couldn’t afford the high cost of land. But thanks in part to the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), they recently realized their dream. 

Conservation on the Ground in Kansas

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is a federal agency that provides one-on-one conservation assistance to farmers, ranchers and other private landowners. We help landowners grow food and other crops in more efficient, environmentally friendly ways to protect the natural resources that we all depend upon—water, soil, air and wildlife. With 70 percent of land in the lower 48 states in private hands, the choices these landowners make truly determine the health of the environment.

USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan Celebrates Farm Preservation

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited Rhode Island last Friday to celebrate the preservation of Ferolbink Farm, one of the State’s most iconic coastal farms. The event highlighted the success of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, which allows for conservation easements on farmland, ensuring that such farms are preserved for the benefit of present and future generations.