About the Ranch

Sauerbier Ranch runs a cow calf operation. There are two ranch units conserved, one is excellent hayground with the Ruby River meandering through it and the other is an intact grassland. The ranch falls within a massive and relatively undisturbed region of intermingled public and private land and has abundant elk, pronghorn, deer and bird species, including the threatened Greater Sage Grouse. The Sauerbiers are excellent stewards of the land and have participated in Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) related activities in the past. They have owned the property since 1905.

Why the Landowner Chose Permanent Protection

Sauerbier Ranch’s decision to conserve the ranch is a continuation of the conservation ethos and practices they have implemented on their land over the last 100+ years. They have a deep connection to the land and were motivated to keep it in agriculture and open for wildlife as Montana continues to see rapid development and conversion of open land. The ranch will use this easement to pass the property down to the next generation and be able to expand operations.

How the Land Was Protected

Sauerbier Ranch utilized the NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) to complete their conservation easement. Specifically, the ranch worked within theAgricultural Land Easement (ALE) program which keeps grasslands intact and productive lands under production. The ranch also utilized Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team funding to conserve their grasslands. The federal funds received through the ACEP-ALE program were incredibly important to protecting their ranch and will facilitate protection of more private land into the future. The Montana Land Reliance and Sauerbier Ranch are very grateful to the NRCS team for the support of this project.

What Was Accomplished

A conservation easement limits the development of the property in perpetuity, ensuring that it will stay open for wildlife, available for agriculture, and scenic for the public to enjoy. The completion of the easement on Sauerbier Ranch provides permanent protection of a threatened farm and ranch and keeps it available for agriculture.

“We see ourselves as stewards of the land, not just landowners,” said Dan Doornbos, of the Sauerbier Ranch, addressing the Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team.

The NRCS Sage-Grouse Initiative on the Sauerbier Ranch has proven to increase  bird population. Photo taken June 12, 2019 at the Sauerbier Ranch in the Sweetwater Basin area in Madison County, Montana.