empowering landowners Advancing a land ethic

Photo Credit: Nick Bristol

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.

75%

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

85%

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

1%

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 empower 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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Success on the ground

For decades we've tackled projects that improved soil, water and wildlife habitat. Check out those conservation success stories.

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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 forestland owners to improve water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat.

Upcoming Events

2022 Eastern South Dakota Water Conference

Dr. Heidi Peterson will discuss implementing conservation to improve climate resilience and phosphorus efficiency.

October 12 , 2022 - 8:00AM to 5:00PM
Brookings, South Dakota

Sauk County Pasture Walk

This event will showcase information collected in our demonstration project on grazing cover crops. Host Roger Bindl is one of four farmers participating in our project.

October 20 , 2022 - 5:00PM to 7:00PM
Spring Green, WI

Leadership for Midwestern Watersheds

Presented for the first time in Indiana, this event will showcase water quality partnerships among multiple stakeholders. We present this annual event with financial support from Walton Family Foundation, North Central SARE, and other sponsors.

November 3 to 4, 2022
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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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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