More Than Words: The Story Behind Rip Pfeiffer's Grand Gesture for Conservation
By J. Francis Duggan
Words printed on documents that make up a conservation easement can't tell the deeper story of a love of the land and a respect for wildlife.
Rip Pfeiffer has partnered with Pheasants Forever to create the organization's first perpetual conservation easement in Nebraska. This easement is a result of Pheasants Forever's Grassroots Conservation Campaign effort in Nebraska, which is entitled "Reload Nebraska." This important initiative is focused on combating the challenges facing the state's loss of wildlife habitat and its upland hunting tradition.
Rip's grandmother, Anna Pfeiffer, bought the 240-acre farm in 1916. She and her husband raised one daughter and six sons on that farm ground, including Rip's father, Ralph. "My parents have always been conservationists," said Rip, a vascular surgeon in Mobile, Ala.
So in 2009, he set out to make a mark for conservation. He contacted Drew Larsen, a regional biologist with Pheasants Forever in Nebraska, and sought help to permanently protect the family property.
"I figure after 100 years of farming, it's time to give back," he said. The easement now protects about 67 acres of low land, ground that was always marginal for farming, but ideal for wildlife. Rip and his heirs will continue to hold title to the land, and Pheasants Forever will hold and manage the conservation easement.
Rip qualified for certain tax advantages through the arrangement, but the real motivator for him was cementing a decision that will be forever. "It's a way I can control my land after I'm gone," he said. "Now, (future owners) can't sell it to build a condo on it."
Rip feels good about taking action to do something positive and lasting for wildlife. It's the same motivation behind Pheasant Forever's work to establish the Forever Land Trust, the Habitat Legacy Society and the Grassroots Conservation Campaign.
Want to Protect Your "Honey Hole" With a Conservation Easement?
A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land to protect its conservation values. If you're interested in protecting your family's land or your prized wildlife/hunting area for future generations, please contact David R. Bue, Pheasants Forever Vice President of Development, at (218) 340-5519 or firstname.lastname@example.org.