(SACRAMENTO) – March 4th, 2020
Today, the California Rangeland Trust announced the permanent conservation of the 3,496-acre TS Ranch, owned by Don and Merrie Thompkins, in Yolo County.
Located in the hills of the Capay Valley, along Cache Creek near the town of Guinda, the TS Ranch is a mosaic of grassland, chaparral, and oak woodland habitat. It is also home to abundant wildlife species, including red foxes, black-tailed deer, grey squirrels, Swainson’s hawks, Bald eagles, and others. The Thompkins run a small cow-calf operation on the ranch and lease a portion of the property to a neighboring ranch operation. With the voluntary conservation agreement established on the TS Ranch, the owners are helping to ensure that the property will remain as a working landscape in perpetuity.
“Ranchers like the Thompkins are a perfect example of the benefits of privately-owned rangelands. They are hardworking and passionate people who care about every facet their land has to offer— to their community, to their family legacy, to agriculture, and to the surrounding ecosystem,” stated Nita Vail, CEO of the California Rangeland Trust. “In their decision to conserve the ranch, the Thompkins are permanently protecting wildlife habitat, natural resource benefits, and safeguarding open space in the scenic Capay Valley.”
The Thompkins had several reasons why they wanted to ensure the conservation of their ranch. “Not only because of the history but also to keep it as an open range and in ranching forever,” said Merrie Thompkins. “This is all ranchland for cattle. It has been that way since the early 1800s, and the conservation easement ensures it will stay that way for forever.”
The ranch has a wide-ranging history. What is now land for a cattle operation had ties to the famous Confederate Civil War General, Stonewall Jackson. A portion of the land was also a haven for an African American community who farmed the land as a source of income in the 1800s. According to the Thompkins who have kept in touch with decedents of these families, they grew tree crops and raised livestock on the same hills where the Thompkins’s cattle now roam today. The Thompkins are grateful that the longstanding history of the ranch will be honored and preserved in perpetuity.
Funding for the TS Ranch conservation project came from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, along with funds raised through private donations by the Rangeland Trust. A large portion of the easement value was also donated by the Thompkins.
“The Thompkins Agricultural Land Easement is an excellent example of good land stewardship”, said State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. “Partnerships like the one between TS Ranch, California Rangeland Trust and NRCS are ensuring California’s natural habitats are protected and continue to thrive into the future.”
The Thompkins have high hopes for the future of the land and find comfort in knowing that it will remain a working landscape thanks to the conservation easement held by the California Rangeland Trust.
The California Rangeland Trust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was created to conserve the open space, natural habitat and stewardship provided by California’s ranches. To date, the Rangeland Trust has protected more than 341,708 acres of productive grazing lands across the state through the use of conservation easements. For more information, visit www.rangelandtrust.org.