On May 26th an agriculturally productive farm in the Mancos Valley was protected forever by the Humiston Family, in partnership with Montezuma Land Conservancy. With its gambrel barn and green fields framed by the peaks of the Southern San Juan Mountains, this scenic property embodies the slogan, “Where the West Still Lives,” which appears on a welcome sign as travelers enter the Mancos Valley.
The approximately 120-acre farm sits on the south side of the town of Mancos and is managed as an irrigated hay operation by family. The conservation of this iconic farm ensures the essence of Mancos’ rural heritage will never be lost to sprawl and development. The Property contains soils designated as Prime Farmland by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and a portion of the senior No. 2 water right will remain with the property for agricultural use.
In speaking about his reasons for protecting the property, easement grantor Glen Humiston said,
“This conservation easement is a way to keep the land together as a single family farm, and to keep it from growing houses.”
The need to protect the family parcel became urgent after the recent passing of Lois Humiston, who owned the property, along with her husband Everett, since the 1950’s. All four of Lois Humiston’s heirs came together and agreed the farm should be conserved, and a conservation easement was the tool to equitably achieve this goal. Funds from Great Outdoors Colorado and the NRCS Farm and Ranchland Protection program made the easement possible.
“Montezuma Land Conservancy works to protect properties like the Humiston farm that possess iconic views and heritage qualities that define our landscape and community in southwestern Colorado,” commented Juniper Katz of the Conservancy, “These types of irrigated properties close to town are increasingly threatened by growth and development.”
Since 1998, Montezuma Land Conservancy has partnered with local landowners to complete 66 conservation easements that protect 30,825 acres in Montezuma and Dolores counties. Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements that landowners use to protect important agricultural land, wildlife habitat, and scenic open space by limiting subdivision and residential development. Lands remain in private ownership and management, and public access is not required. Financial benefits can include reduction in state, federal, and estate taxes and continued agricultural property tax status. In certain cases, landowners may receive cash for protecting their land. For more information, call MLC at 565-1664.