Community Agriculture Alliance: Learn about land stewardship in 6-week course

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Todd Hagenbuch

— “Sustainable” seems to have become the catchword of the decade and for good reason. But long before “sustainable” became the term of choice to denote an activity that could be replicated indefinitely without negative impact, the term “stewardship” was used to indicate the same thing, especially in regard to land and agricultural practices.

In the spirit of sustainability and stewardship, the Community Agriculture Alliance and CSU Extension are teaming up to offer a land stewardship class this fall to anyone interested in learning how to better manage property. The course is offered Monday evenings from Sept. 9 through Oct. 14 and is ideal for small-acreage owners, rural property owners and real estate agents who deal with transactions that involve land.

Participants will learn early in the course to become aware of their surroundings and familiar with how to identify plants, weeds, grasses and trees in the area. They also will learn how interactive relationships between soil, plants and water affect what grows in specific areas.

Ranching stewardship will be discussed at a ranch location that will enable participants the opportunity to learn how several types of irrigation systems work, how animals play a role in stewardship activities and how plants grow in the Yampa Valley. Local experts who have been stewards of property in the area for multiple generations will be on hand to teach the class and to provide examples.

The water stewardship class will allow an opportunity for participants to see how nature and humans can alter or improve waterways and also will cover basic Colorado water law from local experts.

Multiuse stewardship conversations will focus on land lessor/lessee relationships and how to protect and manage your interests as a landowner when dealing with grazing rights, mineral rights, development rights and more.

Diving further into the relationships between plants and animals, the grazing and habitat stewardship class will focus on weed control, conservation practices, grazing strategies and wildlife considerations.

Wrapping it all together in the final class about integrating stewardship, participants will discuss how soil, water, animals, plants and air should be considered when making plans to manage property; how Colorado fence law impacts property owners; and what property tax implications landowners might have if they choose to manage their property one way instead of another.

Land stewardship is a responsibility that we owe not to the generations before us but to those who come after us. The land stewardship course will help participants learn how to become a better steward of property, benefiting anyone who calls the Yampa Valley home.

For more information or to register for the class, call the Community Agriculture Alliance at 970-879-4370. The course costs $90 for Community Agriculture Alliance members and $100 for nonmembers.

Todd Hagenbuch is an agriculture agent for the CSU Routt County Extension.

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