Almost 2,000 acres of productive ranchland in Crook County will remain in agriculture thanks to a conservation easement on the Wood Ranch donated in part to the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust by landowner Jackie Griffith. The project’s closing on October 22 complements two completed conservation easements in Crook County
held by the Stock Growers Land Trust. The Wood Ranch conservation easement ensures the ranch’s compatibility with agriculture and prevents the ranch from being converted to non-agricultural uses in the future.
The Wood Ranch was founded in 1895 by Jacob Wood and remained in the Wood family for many generations. Jackie Griffith, the current landowner, purchased the land from the Wood family in 2000 and continues to utilize the forage for livestock grazing. At the location of the original homestead, a cabin was erected in Jacob’s honor and is used today as a Pastor Day Retreat, where religious leaders may have a quiet place to reflect, pray and study.
The Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust completed the Martin Place project conserving 840 acres of productive rangeland in Sublette County. The Martin Place conservation easement, which closed on September 26, complements 14 conservation easements in Sublette County held by the Stock Growers Land Trust and results in a new total of 38,312 acres under easement in that county. This total includes three easements already completed by landowner Maggie Miller as part of the Sommers Grindstone project. As with the others, the Martin Place conservation easement will ensure the ranch’s compatibility with agriculture and prevents the ranch from being converted to non-agricultural uses in the future.
Citizens of the North Platte Valley and beyond turned out in record numbers to support area charities at the “Valley Strong” benefit concert put on by Brush Creek Ranch at the Community Center. Thanks to the generosity of Bruce and Beth White, 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales were distributed to 21 different charities as designated by those who purchased tickets.
The main beneficiary of the event was the Corbett Medical Center Foundation which graciously shared the evening’s proceeds. Michael Williams, chief operating officer for Brush Creek Ranch, told the audience of 400 plus people that nearly $300,000 had been raised, with more than $250,000 going to the foundation that supports the Platte Valley Medical Clinic.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a charitable giving bill - H.R. 4719 – that reinstates and makes permanent a federal income tax deduction for voluntarily conserving agricultural lands. This provision, introduced as H.R. 2807, enhances the deductions for gifts of conservation easements that permanently conserve working farm and ranch lands. Conservation easements retire development rights on private lands while allowing continued agricultural production. Thanks to Representative Cynthia Lummis who spoke in favor of the bill on the floor of the House last week http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4504028/lummis-house-floor-conservation-easements
Since 2006, an enhanced income tax deduction has allowed family farmers and ranchers to receive a significant tax benefit for conservation easement donations. This 2006 tax incentive expired at the end of 2013, but the recently passed House bill would make the enhanced deduction permanent and more favorable to agricultural landowners with modest incomes.
Director, Pam Dewell and Business Manager, Margaret Cox are members of the Kiwanis Club of Cheyenne. Kiwanis Club serves up pancakes each year during Cheyenne Frontier Days. This year the Kiwanis Club served 27,938 people in three days! That is a lot of pancakes!