A new voluntary study is being conducted in southeast Colorado to better understand natural resource, economic, and social issues facing agricultural landowners.

A new voluntary study is being conducted in southeast Colorado to better understand natural resource, economic, and social issues facing agricultural landowners. The study will help identify ways to improve land conservation practices that help landowners increase their economic viability. The study is being conducted by Colorado State University faculty in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, Palmer Land Trust, and Colorado Cattlemen’s Agriculture Land Trust.

It has long been recognized that healthy and productive lands and waters provide the foundation for our quality of life in Colorado. These lands contribute to our health, food production, recreation and our very economic prosperity. The project partners hope to better understand the connections between land conservation and people’s livelihoods. Examples of issues the partners are hoping to learn more about include the high cost of land, challenges to generational succession, access to skills and materials for innovative conservation and management techniques and ways to improve economic livelihoods.

“The ultimate goal of this project is to create greater understanding of the issues facing landowners in southeastern Colorado and develop new tools that landowners can access to achieve their individual goals,” said Erik Glenn, executive director of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust.

The partnership has sent letters to randomly selected landowners throughout southeast Colorado to request participation in the project. They hope to speak to 30 to 50 landowners who would be willing to be interviewed by a professional social science contractor. All responses will remain anonymous and will be analyzed to create a report that will be used exclusively by the project partners to develop practical solutions to identified issues and to advance the scholarly understanding of lands in the American West.

“Many of the same challenges that impact the future vitality of ranching families and communities also pose a challenge to conservation and natural resources,” said Matt Moorhead, The Nature Conservancy in Colorado’s southeast Colorado project director. “Through this effort we hope to identify ideas and strategies to maintain vibrant southeast Colorado communities for both people and nature.”

If you would like to participate in the study, please contact: Jennifer Herrington at jherrington@tnc.org or Matt Heimrich at matt@palmerlandtrust.org.