Donate to ORLT for #GivingTuesday

#Giving Tuesday

Your donation will be doubled with matching funds from an Ozark landowner. Help us meet the goal to conserve 834 acres of working farmland and forests in the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks. So far, 294 acres have been saved this year.

Your donation will help conserve these lands. Click here for information about the challenge match and to meet a landowner saving the family farm for the next generation.

It costs $25 to save 1 acre of land in the Ozarks.  How many acres will you save?

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Donation Total: $25.00

ORLT Stories: Farming for the Future

In the heart of our nation, just outside the small town of Davisville, MO, lies a small farm tucked against the placid Huzzah Creek. Purchased in 1938, it originally was a plot of land for short holidays and vacations for the Yocom family. The plot of land was soon turned into a small dairy farm
which would pass from generation to generation for nearly 100 years.

Flash forward to the present and we meet Steve Yocom, 58 years old and running the land, now cattle farm, of his forefathers. It has grown through the years to encompass well over 1,000 acres, some of which borders the beautiful Huzzah Creek. Steve’s been working on his farm since he can remember. He enjoys the life of hard work and the satisfaction that comes with it.

He and his wife, Heidi, have one daughter, Rachel who, like her father, grew up on the farm but pursued higher education after high school. Rachel would go on to earn a master’s degree before returning to her true passion of helping run the family farm.

Rachel is a rarity. At just 25 she is less than half the age of the average principal farmer in America. And, should she choose to become the principal owner and operator of her father’s operation within the next ten years, she would be among the staggeringly low 4% of farmers who are under the age of 34.

In June 2011, Steve Yocom contacted Ozark Regional Land Trust (“ORLT”) to find out if the trust might be interested in owning land along Huzzah Creek. Steve knew ORLT was interested in the Huzzah since we had previously participated in a stream bank restoration project on his and other properties in the area. The 275-acre neighboring parcel was for sale but Steve only wanted the half that was accessed by a road traversing through the center of his farm operation. ORLT was very interested in assisting Steve find a solution that would protect the 275-acre, creek-front property from development.  

After much discussion and negotiation, ORLT purchased a conservation easement on the 275-acre parcel and this enabled Steve to purchase the property and keep the part that affected his operation. Steve sold the other half of the property (on the other side of the creek) to another local landowner. Ultimately, all 275 acres are protected from development, and the terms of the conservation easement protect the health of Huzzah creek.

In June 2015, the Yocom family placed a conservation easement on the original 162-acre parcel that comprises the central part of their farm operation. Over the last several years, the Yocoms have also implemented numerous conservation practices that benefit the farm operation while also protecting the health of the Huzzah Creek. 

For more information about conservation easements contact Abigail Lambert, River Stewardship Program Coordinator, or (314) 283-5759.

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Clean Water for the Huzzah!

ORLT staff and volunteers, alongside dedicated property owners, are protecting the nearby Huzzah Creek from sedimentation, erosion, and contamination by building alternative water systems for grazing cattle. These systems promote healthier livestock while simultaneously improving the natural quality of the creek and river waters.

Grow for the Future Campaign

Long time ORLT member, David Hartig, a passionate advocate of land conservation in the Ozarks, has generously offered $10,000 in matching funds for donations made through the end of the year. Contributions will be used to increase our ability to continue to meet the increasing demand of land protection and conserve more land in the future. Donate and double your contribution today! Click below to donate. Learn more about opportunities to help.

Empowering People to Protect the Ozarks Forever

The Ozark Regional Land Trust is a non-profit conservation land trust operating throughout the Ozark region, which includes portions of Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, and Oklahoma. ORLT's mission is to empower people to protect the natural resources of the Ozarks forever.

This is accomplished through various methods, including conservation easements and nature preserves. Since its founding in 1984, ORLT has protected more than 25,000 acres, including extensive hardwood forests, river frontage, caves, springs, working farmland, and urban greenspace. Please contact us if you would like to get involved with this work.