As the average age of working landowners increases and younger generations increasingly choose jobs and lives in more urban or populated areas, the rural landscape is changing. And just as often as these changes present challenges, they present opportunities. While in Maine this spring, we visited two working farms that have addressed these types of challenges with creativity, making each challenge an opportunity to build community and connection around working lands: Wolfe’s Neck in Freeport and Aldermere Farm in Rockport.
We are endlessly curious about the connection between people and place. Undoubtedly the spaces we inhabit and the natural world that surrounds us shape who we are, how we connect with each other, and how we view our relationship to the plants, animals, water, and landscapes that around us. There are a handful of books that have greatly aided in our practice of broadening our perspectives.
There are a number of tools used across the country to connect people to land, promote ownership and equity, and preserve community values related to land-use. Community land trusts (CLTs) are one of these tools. Community land trusts are nonprofit, community-based organizations that aim to foster community stewardship of land.
Applications are due May 1st for the 2019 Montana State Hemp Program. The Montana Department of Agriculture’s Hemp Pilot Program included 58 hemp growers and included grew 22,000 acres of hemp in 2018, up from 550 acres in 2017. In 2018, Montana grew more hemp in terms of acreage than any other state.
Reducing Conflict with Grizzly Bears, Wolves and Elk, A Western Landowner’s Guide is now available. This informative landowner’s guide produced by Western Landowners Alliance features case studies from ranchers across the west that address the challenge of how to share and manage a wild, working landscape that sustains both people and wildlife.
At the recent Western Landowners Alliance Land & Livelihoods conference in Billings, Montana, Burke Teichert shared his thoughts and insights on what he calls the Systems Approach to land and cattle. The rules of thumb and short lists provided by Teichert distill a complex subject and complicated processes down to tangible action items and measurable indicators of performance. All of Teichert’s tools and rules really speak to the larger topic of profitable decision making.
The Upper Colorado River Commission System Conservation Pilot Program (SCPP) will be put on hold after this year. The program has funded 45 fallowing efforts at an average cost of $205 / acre-foot of conserved consumptive use in the first three years. In 2018, ranchers and famers in the upper basin will receive $3.9 million in payments through the program.
Private landowners in Montana now have another option when considering how to integrate hunting into their land management operations and stewardship strategies. The Montana Hunter Advancement Program promotes safe, ethical, and responsible hunting through its focused “Master Hunter” certification program, offered in partnership with forward-thinking private landowners across the state.
At the Western Landowners Alliance Legacy on the Land event, Howard Weiss from the US Trust broke down succession planning and governance to their component parts.Succession planning has many elements. Expressed as a formula, succession planning = farm and ranch management + ownership transition + estate planning.