CE Size: 8,435 acres (Crow Creek)
Location: Colfax County
Eco-Region: Southern Rockies and Southwestern Tablelands
Conservation Values: NRCS “Grasslands of Special Significance,” Agriculture, Scenic Open Space, Wildlife Habitat
Type of Project: Purchased Conservation Easement
Date Completed: December 2018
CS RANCH | A Succession Success Story
–A Legacy Ranch Reaps the Benefits of a Conservation Easement
In December 2018, NMLC proudly and gratefully completed its first easement project on the legacy CS Ranch in northeastern New Mexico, conserving 8,435 acres of NRCS-designed “Grasslands of Special Significance” [GSS].
A combination of estate planning and long-term land management goals ultimately led to the decision to move forward with the easement, which took nearly two years all told to complete. Funding from NRCS and the tax benefits of the easement enabled the Davis family to fulfill an important aspect of their succession plan by making it possible to consolidate shareholder holdings and reduce debt, thereby keeping the ranch itself whole and in the family.
The 110-acre ranch, founded in 1873, is still a working cattle ranch and continues to have an significant impact on the ranching community and rural economy in northeast New Mexico. The ranch is a lot of shortgrass prairie land in very good shape, thanks to the Holistic Management grazing planning the family has been practicing since the ‘80s. The ranch is rich, too, with wildlife — big game, birds, and small and large mammals — and a number of rivers run through the property which extends up into the piñon juniper foot hills.
More recently, the family has added a hunting operation, which is an important part of their overall business. And the next generation is considering a specialized grassfed beef operation and tourism opportunities on the ranch.
CS Ranch is another stronghold of intact shortgrass prairie in the northeast, and this easement gives added support to NMLC’s strategy in this important grasslands region.