Ducks Unlimited Conservation Easement
Al Montna was the first chairman of a newly formed USA Rice Waterfowl Conservation Committee working with Ducks Unlimited to develop a program that worked for rice and ducks. Montna’s leadership in the late 80s helped make the rice industry the ‘poster child’ for environmental stewardship in agriculture, creating hundreds of thousands of acres as a seasonal wetland for waterfowl, shorebirds and wildlife.
Montna’s dedication to agriculture and wildlife resulted in the first ever easement in California that protects farmland and provides wintering habitat for waterfowl. Al worked with Ducks Unlimited to attain this easement on his headquarter ranch in Dingville, South of Yuba City. Today, Montna Farms has rice land under an easement that will be in agriculture forever and provide water for wintering waterfowl migrating along the Pacific Flyway. In 2009, Montna restored additional rice land back to permanent habitat in the Sutter Bypass.
He said of the DU conservation easement, “The move will help ensure the land is never taken out of farming and will always be managed to benefit wildlife.” Montna feels that the essence of sustainability is rooted in lands that are under working land conservation easements such as Montna Farms.
In 2010 Montna was the recipient of the Leopold Conservation award. This award recognizes agriculturists who support and develop programs that benefit conservation and sustainability of the land.