Agriculture and Open Space

Residents in Routt County can enjoy locally produced meats and vegetables while benefiting from the open space and vistas that agricultural production helps to preserve. Agriculture has a long heritage in Routt County, and area ranchers and farmers continue to raise the traditional local crops of mountain grass hay, wheat, alfalfa, cattle and sheep. Small-scale farms and growers raise vegetables, herbs, chicken and pigs.

"Multiple community surveys conducted during the past two decades continue to indicate that open landscapes and the protection of wildlife habitat - along with opportunities for public recreation - are of utmost importance to the quality of life, sense of place and local economy in the Yampa Valley." – Yampa Valley Land Trust.

Open Space Protection

  • Of the more than 1.5 million acres of land in Routt County, roughly half of the land is private and half public. Routt County’s Purchase of Development Rights program, supported by local voters in 1996, has helped to protect more than 27,000 acres in 42 easements with more projects in the works. The program is funded by a 1.5-mil property tax to purchase land development rights and establish conservation easements.
  • The nonprofit Yampa Valley Land Trust and Colorado Cattleman’s Agriculture Land Trust also work to conserve open space and agricultural lands.
  • Guest ranches also help keep the ranching spirit alive and nurture open space. (Watch a video below about Vista Verde Ranch located north of Steamboat.)

Agricultural Support

  • The mission of the nonprofit Community Agriculture Alliance is to preserve the agricultural heritage of the Yampa Valley by initiating, supporting and encouraging actions, programs and policies that mutually benefit and connect agricultural producers and consumers.
  • CSU Routt County Extension office is a gateway for information, resources, educational programs and referrals, such as the Colorado Master Gardener and Master Food Safety Advisers programs.
  • Routt County Cattlemen’s Association promotes livestock industry within Routt County and throughout the state of Colorado.
  • Routt County CattleWomen is a deep rooted agricultural organization that supports the beef industry through education, outreach and marketing. This volunteer organization promotes the importance of the agricultural industry in our everyday lives and maintains our western heritage.

Eat and Buy Local

  • CAA Marketplace supports the people, places and products of northwest Colorado from bison meat to barbecue sauce to honey.
  • Elkstone Farm is one of a variety of local farms that produce foods for area restaurants and consumers. The owners are dedicated to responsible stewardship of the land in the spirit of the Yampa Valley’s agricultural heritage.
  • Yampa Valley Farms raises grass-fed cattle and pastured chickens and pigs for products available at local restaurants, markets and the summer farmer’s market.
  • Yampa Valley Beef owned by a fourth-generation rancher offers grass-fed beef and jerky.

Find other locally made products here.