Conservation easements hit record pace

Laramie, WY – Wyoming land trusts are receiving record numbers of so-called conservation easements," a way for farmers and ranchers to donate land to a land trust to protect it from future development.

Many are rushing to donate their land because a 2006 federal tax law that offers deductions for easements is set to expire at the end of the year.

Some groups worry that if the tax law expires, conservation easements will slow.

But Glen Pauley, with the Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust, says the law isn't the only reason his office is working overtime.

"Almost everybody who goes into a conservation easement has a deep love for their land," he says. "Tax incentives have just been an added bonus. So for people who have been thinking about conservation easements for a while, this has been the year to do that."

The U.S. Congress has introduced a bill that might make those tax incentives permanent. Pauley is hopeful the bill will pass, but says greater awareness of easements will keep them flowing in even if the law expires.