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We are thrilled to announce the release of new ecosystem services research showing the long-term benefits of land conservation. The study has found that working lands conserved by the Rangeland Trust provides $1 billion in environmental benefits annually, and Rangeland Trust conservation easements return $3.47 for every dollar invested.

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Cindy Maddelana pushes a heard of cattle through a pasture of lush green grass


Sierra County is filled with majestic mountain tops, fertile valleys, and vast working lands. Considered one of the most scenic ranches in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Maddalena Ranch consists of 743-acres of working rangeland. The ranch is located in the southwestern part of the Sierra Valley where the California Rangeland Trust has conserved over 29,000 acres of open space.

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Big changes are happening at the California Rangeland Trust. After twenty years of service, CEO Nita Vail will leave her position at the end of April, passing the reins to Michael Delbar, who has been with the Rangeland Trust for ten years and currently serves as its chief operating officer.

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In an emotional confession, Merrie told of her promise to Don’s father regarding the ranch. “I made a promise to his dad on his deathbed, because his dad, his mother, and I were close. I made a promise to him, before he passed with cancer, that I would work my best to keep this a ranch and carry on his wishes that he was already doing. I told him I would do it. He knew I would keep the promise.”

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A bright, red barn embellished with the Certified Angus Beef, and Five Star Land and Livestock logos, greeted ranch tour visitors as they drove by pastures of black angus cattle onto Mark and Abbie Nelson’s property. As part of the California Rangeland Trust’s partnership with Raley’s and AT&T through the “Where Your Food Grazes and Grows” program, our last ranch tour of the year was nothing short of perfect.

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California Rangeland Trust has conserved more than 330,000 acres of land in its twenty-one years, a number we don’t take lightly. It is our responsibility to ensure the terms of each conservation agreement are being upheld and the land is well-preserved. We do this, in part, through an annual process called “monitoring.” where we visit each conserved property.

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Before starting my new role as the Communications Coordinator for California Rangeland Trust, I traveled three hours from my home in Visalia to attend the PT Ranch tour in Ione. The tour was part of a larger series of unique on-farm experiences offered through the Rangeland Trust’s Where Your Food Grows and Grazes program.

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California’s Super Bloom Brings a Magical Experience to the Keegan Ranch

On Saturday, April 20, over 100 guests stopped to smell the flowers during a tour of the Keegan Ranch. Hosted by California Rangeland Trust and ranch owner Jim Keegan, the event was sponsored by Raley’s as part of the “Where Your Food Grows and Grazes” program. It is designed to bring the farm to-fork movement to life for children and families from both urban and rural areas, and it gives them a unique opportunity to connect to healthy food and the land and people who produce it.

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Tim Koopmann: A Voice for Grazing

From Tim Koopmann’s ranch in Alameda County, he has watched the city grow. A shadow encroaching on the green hills, urban expansion has scratched at his horizon as long as he can remember. His small stretch of land is 50 miles from San Francisco, between Livermore and Fremont, right smack in the middle of one of the state’s most rapidly-developing regions. He’s been fighting for these open spaces all his life, battling pressure from developers, declining cattle prices, drought, enormous tax penalties triggered by the deaths of his father and grandfather, and negative public opinions against grazing.

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The Last Two Years, Two Months, & 18 Days

Conservation easements on the 2,502 acre Keegan Ranch and 1,547 acre Epperson Ranch add 4,049 acres to the existing 16,130 acre wildlife corridor in the valley – the already conserved Bear Valley and Payne Ranches. In collaboration with CRT, WCB and NRCS matched funds to conserve the two ranches.

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Rominger Brothers Farms: A Model of Sustainability & Stewardship

Bruce and Rick Rominger are fifth-generation farmers and ranchers. Their business, Rominger Brothers Farms, became a model of environmental sustainability through their commitment to growing crops and managing rangeland using sustainable practices. Partnering with California Rangeland Trust to forever protect their land allowed them to maintain numerous habitat-improvement efforts.

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Santa Barbara Ranchers: The Historic & Contemporary Coming Together at Reunir 2019

Purposefully hosted at the Santa Barbara Club—formed in 1892 to serve as a meeting place for area businessmen, especially the widespread ranching community— the event welcomed guests from both historic and contemporary ranching families to celebrate California’s strong vaquero heritage, the community’s deep connection to open space, and the California Rangeland Trust’s role in keeping our working landscapes just as they are, forever.

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2018 — Celebrates 20 Years of Impact & Hope

In 20 years of conserving rangeland, this year has topped them all for many reasons. California Rangeland Trust’s extensive impact has reached critical mass and Californian’s are getting the message — conserving rangeland is more important than ever for our quality of life. It’s an exciting and critical time, for all of us.

Join us as we share highlights from this monumental 20th year.

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Yolo Land & Cattle Company Carbon Cowboys Healing the Earth

In honor of World Soil Day on December 5th, we asked visionary ranching couple and California Rangeland Trust partners Scott and Karen Stone of Yolo Land & Cattle Company about their working approach to soil health and sustainability. New research is highlighting how vital soil health is to the future of our planet, but in the lives of ranchers like Scott and Karen, it’s a daily consideration.

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Skyrose Ranch: Serving California

Through the truck window, the rolling hills of California’s central coast are still covered with plentiful grass that stretches as far as the eye can see. The land is owned by philanthropist and real estate entrepreneur B. Wayne Hughes, Jr. who raises all-natural beef and hosts a veteran’s program on the 20,000-acre SkyRose Ranch. SkyRose Ranch was once the Deer Valley Ranch, graciously donated to California Rangeland Trust in 2010 and subsequently sold to Mr. Hughes and protected forever through a conservation easement.

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The Genasci Ranch

“The wonderful thing about the Rangeland Trust is they are ranchers and farmers,” Jim says. “They know ranching. I never feel like I have to look over my shoulder. They’re not there to run the ranch. They share the mindset we have—a love of the land.”

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El Chorro Ranch

Not all ranchers fit the John Wayne stereotype. Some look like Katie Isaacson Hames.

A young blue-eyed mother making a life on the Gaviota coast, Katie has a degree in biology with a minor in creative writing. She worked at a local school for eight years and met her husband Will at a farmer’s market. She is also a third-generation rancher.

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CRT Presents “A Common Ground” – A Short Film by Chris Malloy of Farm League

The California Rangeland Trust is thrilled to announce the release of a new short film, celebrating 20 years of protecting California’s open range. After 20 years of conserving life on the range, we were reminded that the stories of our partners in ranching conservation are our greatest capital. They’re stories about hope, healing, a better future, and a cleaner planet. They’re stories about stewardship and heritage.

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Celebrating a California Ranching Legacy: Walter L. Vail

Last month, our team was on site for an incredible film shoot with director Chris Malloy and his production company, Farm League. For all involved, this experience was an amazing time of learning from the ranchers and conservationists we profiled. We are so excited to share this short film with you soon!

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A Different Legacy…

A granite slab beside Memorial Rock honors the Sagehorns, who purchased this Mendocino County ranch in 1948. The boulder has long served as a sacred landmark—for the First People of the land, Native Americans who inscribed its face with markings of lost meaning, and later the Sagehorns, who chose this spot as their final resting place.

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