Local businessman donates easement rights to keep his land in ranching.


(FRESNO COUNTY) – August 25, 2021

California Rangeland Trust is pleased to announce the permanent conservation of over 7,000 acres in Fresno and San Benito Counties, known as the Mercey Ranch. Mercey Ranch is owned and operated
by local businessman, Chris Mathys.

The Mercey Ranch is located outside Firebaugh, CA. The lead up to the ranch is surrounded by orchards seen for miles. The edge of the trees stop and open up to vast fields littered with rolling, spiny hills
and ridge-top views. The ranch serves as the home to Mathys’s organic, commercial cattle operation that he partners with John Eade to manage.

Mathys has been partnering with California Rangeland Trust since 2009 when he conserved the first 6,628 acres of the Mercey Ranch. Over the years, Mathys has conserved another 900 acres, continuing and strengthening this valuable partnership with the Rangeland Trust.

For years, Mathys has watched the area leading up to the ranch be converted from its natural state to other uses like sub-divisions for housing and lots for solar energy production. He pursued an easement with the Rangeland Trust to ensure that his ranch avoids a similar fate.

The development rights on the ranch were generously donated by Mathys himself through multiple conservation easements. By conserving the ranch, Mathys is ensuring the landscape will stay in ranching
forever. Mathys knows and sees the value in protecting California’s working lands that are vital to California’s economic, social and cultural well-being.  “Ranching is vital to the health of California – land that is in agriculture needs to stay in agriculture,” Mathys stated.

It is because of ranchers like Mathys that the Rangeland Trust has been able to conserve nearly 345,000 acres of productive rangeland. Maintaining a strong environmental ethic, ranchers work hard to keep
the land viable not only for themselves but for those that follow.

Michael Delbar, CEO of California Rangeland Trust, said, “As the Rangeland Trust looks forward to the future, we are excited to continue to build valuable relationships with the state’s landowners, like Chris Mathys, to keep California’s working landscapes working for the benefit of all Californians.”

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 nearly 345,000 acres of productive grazing lands across the state through the use of conservation easements.