As third, fourth, and fifth-generation ranchers, we would like to respond to Andrew Christie’s Oct. 1 comment that we cattle and wine producers are just waiting to profit from subdividing our lands and selling out.
Many of our local ranchers and farmers have been here for generations, taking care of the land and the wildlife that depend on our stewardship.
Most of us have signed Williamson Act contracts, where we commit to no development in exchange for being taxed as agriculture, rather than at the speculative value of the land.
The California Rangeland Trust, a nonprofit created by cattlemen to conserve open space, water, habitat, and rangelands, has already protected over a quarter million acres of ranch lands and has more than 100 ranchers waiting for the opportunity to permanently protect their lands through conservation easements, including many on the Central Coast.
It is ironic that Mr. Christie was one of the few who tirelessly fought to prevent the Hearst family (owners of the spectacular 80,000-acre ranch at San Simeon since the 1860s) from securing a conservation easement that now protects that priceless property from subdivision forever.