Posted by Bob Simmons

Last week our speaker was Zack Thode, the manager of the Evan and Catherine Roberts Ranch northwest of Ft Collins.  Zach shared his personal background and explanation of his current duties and activities both locally and in the general agricultural community.  The main presentation was divided into 2 parts with a 10 minute question and answer opportunity in between.

First, Zack did a brief review of the fascinating history of this almost 17,000 acre property – continuous family ownership for 144 years, 100 years of litigation, and, following the death of Evan (2002) and Catherine  (2015), it’s designation as a private charitable trust. This designation ensures that it will remain a cattle ranch and irrigated farm, and a valuable community asset.

The second part of the presentation reviewed the ever increasing water costs and water shortages in Northern Colorado.  The value (and costs) of land for farming vs the value (and costs) of land for urban development were compared . The population increase and urbanization of Larimer County is apparent to us all and there are no new water sources.  New reservoirs and new ways of managing reservoirs (and water use) will be required.  Finally, mention of the Glade/NISP Reservoir project and the proposed Thornton Pipeline made all of this very current.