The Colorado Future Farmers of America Foundation will operate the site as an immersive agricultural experience for youth and the public
Recently the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) board awarded a $1,500,000 grant to Trust for Public Land (TPL) to acquire a 226-acre farm and its water rights adjacent to the Little Thompson River near Berthoud. The property will be protected via a conservation easement immediately prior to TPL’s acquisition and continue operations as a working farm with an added focus on educational opportunities in partnership with agricultural and youth organizations. The grant is part of GOCO’s Land Acquisition program, which supports urban and rural landscape, waterway, and habitat protection priorities across Colorado.
The easement will be held by the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT), and the property will be owned and managed by the Colorado Future Farmers of America Foundation (Colorado FFA Foundation).
“As Colorado continues to grow at an unprecedented rate with increased pressure on our limited land and water resources, it is critical that all Coloradoans understand the importance of working agriculture to our state. This project will play a critical role in illustrating how rural and urban communities benefit from land and water conservation, ensuring that our state continues to be a great place to live and visit,” said Wade Shelton, senior project manager at TPL.
“CCALT is proud to be part of this coalition to conserve prime farm ground along the Little Thompson River. The farm will be an incredible asset to FFA students across Colorado, the local community, and the State as a whole,” said Molly Fales, staff attorney at CCALT.
The Colorado FFA Foundation will operate the site as an immersive agricultural experience for youth and the public along Colorado’s Front Range in collaboration with traditional agricultural youth organizations like 4-H and Colorado Future Farmers of America while broadening their reach and collaboration with organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, Scouts, Thompson and St. Vrain School Districts, CAM’s Ag Academy at Colorado State University (CSU) College of Agricultural Sciences, CSU Spur Campus, Groundwork Colorado, and Environmental Learning for Kids, to name a few. These opportunities will illustrate the value of land and water conservation to the public.
“Our Foundation is extremely excited to be a part of this project and expand our mission to offer educational opportunities for people to learn hands-on about agriculture,” said Don Thorn, executive director of the Colorado FFA Foundation.
GOCO funds will be matched by $2.625 million from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, $280,000 from Larimer County Open Space, and $50,000 from Gates Family Foundation, and will also be supported by an ongoing private fundraising effort led by the Colorado FFA Foundation in collaboration with TPL and CCALT.
To date, GOCO has invested more than $61.7 million in projects in Larimer County and conserved 68,287 acres of land there. Funding has supported the Dakota Ridge land acquisition, Longview Corridor Trail, and Ben Delatour Scout Ranch, among other projects.
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,500 projects in all 64 counties of Colorado without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.
Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) is a nonprofit land conservation organization whose mission is to “…protect Colorado’s agricultural land, heritage and families for future generations by conserving working rural landscapes.”
Colorado Future Farmers of America Foundation (Colorado FFA Foundation) seeks resources – human, financial, and in-kind – to support agricultural education in Colorado, including students (Colorado FFA Association, CSU Ag Education), adult agricultural education (CYFEA), agricultural education teachers (CVATA) and alumni (Colorado FFA Alumni).