Passing the legacy along
As working ranchers, keeping their land productive is important to the Genascis. They said they want to be able to pass the land—and their lifestyle—down to their sons. Most ranchers are not in the business for the big bucks, which can make planning for family succession a tricky prospect.
“If a rancher really figures out how many hours they work and how many dollars per hour they get, it’s almost nothing,” Jim said. “There has to be a love of the land and a love of what you do.”
Mary said that both of their sons love the land, but she doesn’t see them becoming active ranchers. WRE, along with the potential income associated with the Sierra Valley’s budding farm tourism economy, could help them hang on to the property and still make a living off of it by keeping the scenic value of the land high. In an era where western real estate is booming and the populations of rural counties are growing explosively, keeping large parcels of land like the Genasci Ranch intact is no small feat.
“The money isn’t significant—we could make more money selling than we can with easements, but we believe in the goals [of the conservation easement],” Mary said. “If we didn’t we wouldn’t do it.”
Jim seconded Mary’s thoughts, saying that it is important to him and his family to run their ranch and take care of their property in a way that sustains it for the future. WRE, he said, made doing so possible.
“Life is so short, I think you have to do things that make you feel good,” Jim said. “I want to think that I have done something that will have a significant impact for future generations. With easements, you keep the beauty and the productivity of the ranch for perpetuity. Hopefully, our grandchildren and their children will appreciate the open magnificence of the ranch.”
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.