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Freeman family presented with Colorado State Land Board Legacy Lessee Award

The Freeman Family pictured with South Central District Manager Mariah Pillmore and Director Bill Ryan.

(Denver, CO. - December 13, 2023) Last month, the Freeman family was presented with the Legacy Lessee Award by the Colorado State Land Board.


In the spirit of encouraging and fostering the next generation of agriculture leaders in the state of Colorado, this award recognizes a State Land Board lessee who has assigned their lease to a non-familial younger lessee (a lessee 40-years-old or younger).


The Freeman family has held a lease on a 640-acre section of trust land for more than 80 years spanning three generations of ranchers in their family. 


Russell Freemen (pictured with his family along with South Central District Manager Mariah Pillmore and Director Bill Ryan) voluntarily assigned his longhorn cattle grazing lease to a younger, local ranching family who will carry forward their legacy of good land stewardship. The Freeman family attended the ceremony in Denver.


Typically, agriculture leases on state trust land are 10 years in length. When a rancher holds an agriculture lease and doesn’t want it anymore, they have the option to either terminate their lease or assign it to another party. An assignment is when a lessee turns over the remainder of the lease contract to another party. The State Land Board will then evaluate that party to make sure they would be a good partner to the land board and good stewards of the land. Read more about assigning state leases.


 “I am optimistic that the new lessee will uphold Mr. Freeman’s strong stewardship values, and the new lessee’s have expressed gratitude and enthusiasm for the chance to hold a state lease,” said Pillmore.

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