“We know firsthand the challenges public lands ranchers face with volatile markets and unpredictable weather,” says John Coffman. “This partnership enables young producers to build a successful business while conserving land and waters. Working with these families supports our economic, agricultural and conservation goals.”
Cousins Rhett Abernathy and Garric Martin are excited about this opportunity. “I’m a 5th generation rancher in Wyoming,” says Rhett Abernathy. “Ranching is all I’ve ever wanted to do. This opens the door to our future.”
“The rangeland is excellent and its home to some of the best mountain grass in the state,” adds Garric Martin. “We’re grateful to The Nature Conservancy for this opportunity. Without this partnership, it would be virtually impossible for us to start our own ranching business.”
In addition to managing sustainable lands, Coffman will work to inspire people through community outreach, education and research on Conservancy properties. “I’m working with local teachers to develop interactive events that will engage young people,” says Coffman. Plans are underway for a Bioblitz at Red Canyon Ranch, which will bring children and adults out on ranch to count plants, bugs, lizards, and fish. Additionally, scientific research is always happening at the ranch. One project is focused on grazing methods and how they relate to native bees.
“My hope is to teach people how recognize and sustain a healthy and productive ranch while inspiring connections to the natural world. We all know that if people care about this special places, they’ll work to conserve it,” says Coffman.
Coffman has a master’s degree in biology and an undergraduate degree in geography. He and his family live in Lander.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.