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News Release

NRCS and the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program - Helping to Protect a Piece of Colorado History

Scenic FRPP Photo

Contact: Petra Barnes
NRCS State Public Information Officer
Office Number: 720-544-2808
Fax Number: 720-544-2965

Recently, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Colorado contributed nearly $1.2M thru its Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) to a partnership that helped preserve one of the most historic ranches in the state.  The FRPP program provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses. Working through existing programs, USDA partners with State, tribal, or local governments and non-governmental organizations to acquire conservation easements or other interests in land from landowners.

“The Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program allows us to protect some of our most precious landscapes,”states David Colburn, NRCS Easements Coordinator, Denver.  “Thru FRPP we can preserve the sustainability and quality of life we’ve all come to know and enjoy and that’s hugely significant to the state and the natural resources within it.”

NRCS partnered with the Trust for Public Land and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT), Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), Chaffee County, and the Colorado Parks & Wildlife Habitat Protection Program to purchase two conservation easements on 470 acres.  The land enrolled within those easements coupled with an additional 180 acres donated by a long-time ranching family brought the total protected acres to 650.

“We are thrilled to have played a role in the preservation of this important property,”Colburn goes on to say.  “The entire property totals 700 acres and with the completion of this collaborative effort to protect this property, we along with the Hutchinson family, and numerous other natural resource partners have ensured that 650 of some of the state’s most desirable and endangered places will never be fragmented or subdivided for development.”

The Hutchinson’s original homestead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been donated to the town of Poncha Springs.  The original homestead as well as the entire ranch is on the list oftop five most prestigious and most endangered properties by the Colorado Preservation Incorporated.  The six generation ranch is one of the last working cattle ranches in the areaand is the oldest family-owned ranch in the Upper Arkansas Valley.

The USDA’s NRCS manages and administers the FRPP program. To date approximately $41M have been invested in a total of 83,537 acres and placed in easement utilizing the farm bill program.  For additional information about NRCS and the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program, please visit