empowering landowners Advancing a land ethic

Photo Credit: Nick Bristol


Read more about the Campaign for Conservation here


Farmers, ranchers and foresters who own and manage most of the private land in this nation hold the keys to environmental improvement. Their livelihoods are tied to the health of the land, but they urgently need information, data, and examples to follow to improve the environment while they produce food and fiber.

The next five to ten years represents an historic opportunity to scale up conservation on private land. Why? Because more than a third of American farmers and ranchers will soon transition their businesses to the next generation.

Now more than ever, Sand County Foundation needs your help to expand our capacity to engage with these landowners to improve water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat. Make an investment in our Campaign for Conservation today!


of the land in the contiguous U.S. is privately owned


of private land is productive, working land like farms, ranches and forests


of American citizens manage agricultural land

The Unmet Challenge

As the population increases, and pressure on our natural resources intensifies, we are faced with critical environmental challenges related to soil health, water quality and quantity, and fisheries and wildlife habitat. New approaches are needed to inspire and enable private landowners to address these issues while operating their businesses in an era of unprecedented change. Sand County Foundation is leading the way.

Recognizing Conservation Leadership

Our network of leading private land stewards has grown out of our Leopold Conservation Award® Program. This prestigious honor is given to outstanding farmers, ranchers and foresters for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation.

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Mentoring land stewards

Our Land Ethic Mentorship Program connects award-winning farmers and ranchers as conservation mentors for historically-underserved producers nationwide.

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Enhancing Soil and Water

Sand County Foundation works with landowners to solve critical soil and water issues. We are testing and modeling practices that can improve soil health and reduce surface water pollution.

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Partner With Us

Your gift, no matter the size, helps Sand County Foundation build our capacity to engage with farmers, ranchers and foresters to improve water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat.

Upcoming Events

California Farm Bureau 2021 Annual Meeting

Sand County Foundation will be onhand to present the 2021 recipient of the California Leopold Conservation Award.

December 4 to 8, 2021
Orange County, California

Maryland Farm Bureau's Annual Convention

We will reveal the recipient of the inaugural Maryland Leopold Conservation Award on Monday, Dec. 6.

December 4 to November 7, 2021
Cambridge, Maryland

The Big Soil Health Event

SCF's Program Director Craig Ficenec, SCF’s Water Quality Partnerships Consultant Todd Peterson, and Wisconsin farmer Tony Peirick will present about collaboration within local watersheds at the Building Your Community session on day two.

December 6 to 7, 2021
Riverside, IA
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“A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke [of the axe] he is writing his signature on the face of the land."

- Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

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