Among his fellow New Mexico ranchers, Sid Goodloe is
known as a contrarian (HCN,
4/15/96: Raising a ranch from the dead)
. His newest
project, the Southern Rockies Agricultural Land Trust, is keeping
that reputation intact. Goodloe hopes to convince his neighbors
that conservation easements - voluntary legal agreements that
prohibit development of private land - are a fine idea. "I've spent
44 years improving this outfit," he says of his ranch in
south-central New Mexico, "and I don't want to subdivide. I'll do
anything I have to, to avoid it." Though his three-year-old land
trust hasn't completed any easements yet, the group has drummed up
some local interest and support. It's also enraged the leadership
of the New Mexico Cattlegrowers' Association, which views
conservation easements as a violation of private property rights.
"Sometimes I feel like I'm going to a Baptist convention and
supporting abortion," Goodloe says of the cattlegrowers' meetings.
He argues that conservation easements, which often carry tax breaks
for landowners and their heirs, help keep ranchers' options open.
Says Goodloe, "This is for people who don't want the IRS to decide
the future of their property."
Southern Rockies Agricultural Land Trust at 505/354-2379 or