Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
Rural Lands At Risk As Ranchers Prepare For Retirement
Outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming is an 8,900-acre former ranch where cattle and horses once roamed. Now it's just open land with nothing but grass. When the owner passed away he didn't have a succession plan. With no obvious heirs, a family member sold it. It eventually became subdivided and a realty company now advertises it for redevelopment primarily as retirement or vacation properties.
Lesli Allison, executive director of the Western Landowners Alliance, doesn't want to see more huge ranches like this one broken up into pieces, each with houses and utilities.
"Then that landscape then is fragmented and is really not available to support agriculture or wildlife and the other values we care about in these landscapes," she says. "All the projections call for a massive transfer of land in the next decade," says Allison. "We're going to see many, many millions of acres of land change hands as these farmers and ranchers age."
In 2012, the average age of farmers and ranchers hit 58 years old, higher than the past two centuries — it's also up about eight years from three decades ago. According to a National Young Farmers Coalition report, 63 percent of farmland will need a new farmer in the next 25 years as older farmers retire...MORE
One thing we don't need is another gov't program to address this issue. If they want to have a positive impact then reduce the regulatory and tax burdens on these families. Otherwise, the DC Deep Thinkers should stay out of it. These lands are in private hands and their future should be determined by private decisions. The landowners and the public will all be better off if these tranfers are accomplished by private individuals rather than some collective entity. But mark my words, this NPR piece could be the opening salvo for those who just can't stand for the private sector to make these decisions. We'll be watching...