News & Publications

2018
  • Dec 13, 2018

    Nicholas Goeser to Lead Agricultural Strategy at Sand County Foundation

    Sand County Foundation has named Nicholas Goeser, Ph.D., its Vice President of Agricultural Strategy. Goeser joins Sand County Foundation with experience in creative research at the intersections of agriculture, conservation, government and academia. He will assume leadership of the Foundation’s agricultural conservation team and set its strategic direction in farmer and rancher engagement.

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  • Nov 20, 2018

    Lundberg Family Farms Receives California Leopold Conservation Award

    SACRAMENTO, CA, – Lundberg Family Farms has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 California Leopold Conservation Award®. The award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Sustainable Conservation, and California Farm Bureau Federation. Lundberg Family Farms of Butte County will receive a $10,000 award and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold at the California Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in San Diego on December 5. Lundberg Family Farms has a long commitment to sustainable farming methods that produce well-known rice products while improving and protecting the environment for generations to come. Started in 1937, the farm is a multi-generation organic rice farm and innovative rice products processor. 

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  • Nov 19, 2018

    Hoeme Family Farm and Ranch Receives Kansas Leopold Conservation Award

    Hoeme Family Farm and Ranch of Scott City has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award®. In Kansas the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Kansas Association of Conservation Districts, and Ranchland Trust of Kansas. For more than 40 years the Hoeme family has been on the cutting edge of conservation practices that help their farm’s profitability, soil health, water quality and wildlife habitat. Stacy Hoeme and his son, Chaston, farm about 9,000 acres along the Smoky Hill River, and another 10,000 acres in Scott County. 

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  • Nov 19, 2018

    Wilson Family Farm Receives North Dakota Leopold Conservation Award

    Wilson Family Farm, owned by Jeremy and Sarah Wilson of Jamestown, has been selected as the recipients of the 2018 North Dakota Leopold Conservation Award®. In North Dakota the award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition, North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts and the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association. The Wilsons were revealed as the third recipients of the award at the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts’ convention in Bismarck on November 19. They were presented with a $10,000 award and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold. 

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  • Nov 16, 2018

    Ercanbrack Livestock Receives Utah Leopold Conservation Award

    Ercanbrack Livestock of Coalville has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Utah Leopold Conservation Award®. In Utah the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Western AgCredit, Utah Farm Bureau Federation, and Utah Cattlemen’s Association. Ercanbrack Livestock is operated by Ed and Dixie Ercanbrack, and their adult children, Dane and Dusty.

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  • Nov 15, 2018

    David Geiser Receives Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award

    David Geiser, a dairy farmer from Calumet County, has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award®. Geiser and his wife, Deb Reinhart, are owners of Gold Star Dairy in New Holstein. The Calumet County farmer's name was revealed at the Nov. 15 meeting of the Board of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in Madison. 

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  • Nov 06, 2018

    Finalists for Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award Selected

    Three finalists have been selected for the prestigious 2018 Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award®.  The finalists are: Chuck and Ruth Coffey of Carter County, Russ and Jani Jackson of Kiowa County, and William Payne of Pottawatomie County. The recipient will be announced on February 25.

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  • Nov 05, 2018

    Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

    Know a Nebraska rancher, farmer or forester who goes above and beyond in the care and management of natural resources? Nominate them for the 2019 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award®. The application deadline date is March 1, 2019

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  • Oct 30, 2018

    Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees in South Dakota

    Know a South Dakota rancher, farmer or forester who goes above and beyond in the care and management of natural resources? Nominate them for the 2019 South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award®Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for conservation of private land, presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 14 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In South Dakota, the $10,000 award is presented with the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and the South Dakota Grassland Coalition. 

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  • Oct 26, 2018

    Colorado Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

    Nominations are now being accepted for the prestigious Leopold Conservation Award® honoring agricultural landowners in Colorado who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources. Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for conservation of private land, presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 14 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In Colorado, the $10,000 award is presented with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.

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  • Oct 09, 2018

    Finalists Selected for Missouri Leopold Conservation Award

    JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Three finalists have been selected for the prestigious 2018 Missouri Leopold Conservation Award®. Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes farmers, ranchers and foresters who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. In Missouri the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Missouri Farmers Care (MFC), the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

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  • Oct 03, 2018

    Finalists Selected for Utah Leopold Conservation Award

    Three finalists have been selected for the prestigious 2018 Utah Leopold Conservation Award®. Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes farmers, ranchers and foresters who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. In Utah the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County FoundationWestern AgCreditUtah Farm Bureau Federation, and Utah Cattlemen’s Association.

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  • Sep 27, 2018

    Finalists Selected for Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award

    CAMP HILL, PA -- Four finalists have been selected for the prestigious 2018 Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award®. Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes farmers, ranchers and foresters who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. In Pennsylvania, the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and Heinz Endowments.

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  • Sep 19, 2018

    Fund for Lake Michigan Awards Grant for Phosphorus Reduction Efforts in Grafton

    GRAFTON – The Fund for Lake Michigan has awarded a grant to the Sand County Foundation to assist the Village of Grafton with water quality improvement. The $100,000 grant supports Sand County Foundation’s outreach to farmers to implement conservation practices that will limit the amount of phosphorus entering local waterways. The Village of Grafton is located in Wisconsin's Ozaukee County, within the Milwaukee River watershed.

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  • Sep 05, 2018

    How Can We Scale Up Conservation on Private Lands Faster and at Lower Cost?

    Sand County Foundation hosted 30 farmers, ranchers, leaders of environmental groups, policymakers, researchers and investors and asked them that single, urgent question. 

    We shared their answers with leaders of State Departments of Agriculture from across the United States. They outlined the next big potential opportunities for conservation on private working land to deliver prosperity to agriculture, and improve soil, water and wildlife habitat. Read their recommendations

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  • Aug 29, 2018

    Finalists Selected for California Leopold Conservation Award

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation are proud to announce the finalists for the prestigious 2018 California Leopold Conservation Award®. The award honors private landowner achievement in the voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources. 

    The finalists are: 

    • Lundberg Family Farms, Butte County 
    • Rominger Brothers Farm, Inc., Yolo County 
    • Sweet Haven Dairy, Fresno County

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  • Aug 27, 2018

    Finalists Selected for Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award

    Three finalists have been selected for the prestigious 2018 Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award®. In Wisconsin the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association. The finalists are David Geiser of New Holstein, Lavern Hansen of Mineral Point, and Jeff Lake of Boyceville. 

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  • Aug 24, 2018

    Opinion: Fighting Fire with Financing

    California has 129 million dead trees that fuel wildfires and 2 million homes are in areas at high-risk for wildfires. Across the western U.S., about 58 million acres are at high risk of catastrophic wildfire. It’s a problem that begs for a solution. 

    What if we could pay for enough forest management today to escape the cost of the next catastrophic wildfires? 

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  • Aug 13, 2018

    Finalists Selected for 2018 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award

    Three finalists have been named for the prestigious 2018 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award®.

    Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes those who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. In Kansas the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County FoundationKansas Association of Conservation Districts and the Ranchland Trust of Kansas

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  • Aug 02, 2018

    Environmental Policy Innovation Center Issues Report and Interactive Chart on Proposed Endangered Species Act Changes

    In July, the federal government proposed comprehensive changes to the Endangered Species Act. To promote a constructive dialogue about the proposals and the future of the Act, the Environmental Policy Innovation Center released its analysis of the proposals in a report and online chart.  

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  • Aug 01, 2018

    Oconomowoc School Farm Grows Pollinator Habitat, Awareness

    Students at Oconomowoc High School are part of a national effort to establish pollinator habitat. Oconomowoc was one of 16 Wisconsin and Minnesota school districts that utilized grants to grow native prairie plants that sustain imperiled insect pollinators and monarch caterpillars. The grants are provided by Sand County Foundation and the Monarch Joint Venture, with additional support in Wisconsin from the We Energies Foundation. 

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  • Jul 20, 2018

    Using Prairie Filter Strips to Protect Wisconsin Water

    Prairies of the past could be a modern conservation tool for farmers. 

    Native prairie plants can act as a sponge and slow soil runoff from rain. Research from Iowa State University shows planting dense, diverse and deep-rooted prairie strips next to corn and soybean fields has environmental benefits.  

    Sand County Foundation is working with six farmers to demonstrate how prairie strips work on farms of varying soil types, typographies and management styles.

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  • Jul 17, 2018

    Finalists Selected for North Dakota Leopold Conservation Award

    BISMARCK, ND – Two finalists have been named for the prestigious 2018 North Dakota Leopold Conservation Award®.

    Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes those who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. 

    In North Dakota the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition, North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts and the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association. The recipient will be announced on November 19. 

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  • Jul 10, 2018

    Trunnell Family Farm Receives Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award

    Trunnell Family Farm of Utica has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award®. Achieving soil health through the use of no-till farming and cover crops is nothing new to Edward (Myrel) Trunnell, who began farming more than six decades ago. Conservation is synonymous with his idea of farming.

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  • Jul 05, 2018

    Sand County Foundation, Minnesota High Schools Partner for Pollinators

    Pollinator Curriculum Guide Available for Teachers

    Minnesota high schools are a part of a national effort to establish habitat for imperiled insect pollinators and monarch caterpillars. Essential for crop pollination and ecological diversity, they are at risk partly due to loss of farmland habitat. In response, Sand County Foundation partnered with the St. Paul-based Monarch Joint Venture to establish a pollinator habitat grant program for high schools. The program supplies seed and other growing materials to high school agricultural and science departments. 

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  • Jun 26, 2018

    Sand County Foundation, FFA Partner for Pollinators

    Pollinator Curriculum Guide Available to Teachers

    Something special took root on a grassy strip between a wheat field and stream during National Pollinator Week. A small group of FFA members and leaders brought trays of pollinator-friendly plants to a local farmer. Together they dug holes for native prairie plants that will sustain imperiled insect pollinators and monarch caterpillars. 


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  • Jun 19, 2018

    Farmers, Ranchers Critical to Saving Monarchs, Pollinators

    Farmers and ranchers are critical to a national effort to provide habitat for monarch butterflies and insect pollinators.  

    “There is room on every farm and ranch to encourage habitat for monarchs and pollinators,” said Craig Ficenec, a program director for Sand County Foundation. 

    Essential for crop pollination and ecological diversity, pollinators and monarchs are at risk partly due to loss of farmland habitat. Monarch butterfly numbers have dropped by 80 percent over the past 20 years. Monarch caterpillars face a shortage of their sole food source: native milkweed. 

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  • Jun 18, 2018

    Beatty Canyon Ranch Receives Colorado Leopold Conservation Award

    Beatty Canyon Ranch shines at doing right by the land, water, livestock and wildlife amid the grandeur of southeastern Colorado’s canyon landscape. Its owners were presented with a $10,000 award, and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold, at the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association annual convention in Loveland on Monday, June 18.

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  • Jun 04, 2018

    Kirtland’s Warbler Comeback is a Conservation Success Story

    Landowners crucial to its next chapter

    Bringing a rare bird species back from the brink makes a great comeback story. But the story of the Kirtland’s warbler is far from over, according to the Sand County Foundation. The nation’s leading voice for private land conservation says further progress for the bird relies heavily on private landowners and non-governmental organizations committed to conservation. 

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  • May 31, 2018

    New Sand County Foundation Project Will Work to Advance Clean Water Collaborations in Iowa and Illinois

    Furthering upstream-downstream partnerships in the Mississippi River Basin is the goal of a new project spearheaded by Sand County Foundation. Jamie Konopacky has joined Sand County Foundation’s staff as Senior Attorney and Watershed Policy Specialist to lead this effort.

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  • May 29, 2018

    Endangered Species Expert Joins Environmental Policy Innovation Center to Launch Biodiversity Program

    Ya-Wei (Jake) Li is joining the Environmental Policy Innovation Center as Director for Biodiversity. In this role, Li will grow the Center’s program to develop innovative policies that spectacularly improve the speed and scale of endangered species conservation. Environmental Policy Innovation Center is a fiscally sponsored project of Sand County Foundation. 

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  • May 24, 2018

    Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award’s Finalists Named

    FRANKFORT, KY. – Three finalists have been named for the prestigious 2018 Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award®.

    Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes those who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. 

    In Kentucky the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Kentucky Agricultural Council and the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts. 

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  • May 23, 2018

    Leopold Conservation Award Comes to Pennsylvania

    A prestigious award that celebrates voluntary conservation by farmland owners is coming to Pennsylvania.

    This year Pennsylvania will become the 14th state to present the Leopold Conservation Award®in partnership with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and Heinz Endowments. 

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  • May 17, 2018

    Laborcitas Creek Ranch Receives Texas Leopold Conservation Award

    AUSTIN – At a time when the great grasslands of South Texas face threats such as land ownership fragmentation and non-native invasive grasses, Laborcitas Creek Ranch shines as a beacon, bucking the trends by adding acreage under conservation and diligently restoring native habitat to benefit diverse wildlife, from game animals to waterfowl and more.

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  • Apr 24, 2018

    2018 California Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

    Sand County Foundation, California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation are accepting applications for the $10,000 California Leopold Conservation Award. The award publicly honors California farmers, ranchers, foresters and other private landowners who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of the state’s natural resources.

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  • Apr 23, 2018

    Leopold Conservation Award Program Seeks Utah Nominees

    Know a Utah farmer, rancher or forester who goes above and beyond in the care and management of natural resources? Nominate them for the 2018 Utah Leopold Conservation Award®.

    Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for conservation of private land, presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 13 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation.

    In Utah, the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Western AgCredit, Utah Cattlemen’s Association, and Utah Association of Conservation Districts. 

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  • Apr 20, 2018

    Cammack Ranch to Receive South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award

    PIERRE – Cammack Ranch of Union Center has been selected to receive the 2018 South Dakota Conservation Award®.

    The prestigious award, given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation on private land and management of natural resources by American ranchers, farmers and foresters in 13 states.

    In South Dakota, the award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and the South Dakota Grassland Coalition. The award honors South Dakota landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

    In conjunction with Earth Day, Governor Dennis Daugaard announced that Cammack Ranch would receive the 2018 award.

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  • Apr 20, 2018

    O’Rourkes Receive Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award

    LINCOLN – Jim and Lora O’Rourke are the recipients of the 2018 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award®.

    The O’Rourkes own and operate RuJoDen Ranch in Chadron, Nebraska.

    The prestigious award, given in honor or renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation and management of natural resources by American ranchers, farmers and foresters in 13 states.

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  • Apr 17, 2018

    Leopold Conservation Award Program Seeks Missouri Nominees

    Know a Missouri farmer, rancher or forester who goes above and beyond in the care and management of natural resources? Nominate them for the 2018 Missouri Leopold Conservation Award®.

    Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for conservation of private land, presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 13 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. 

    Read More
  • Apr 17, 2018

    Leopold Conservation Award Program Seeks Oklahoma Nominees

    Know an Oklahoma rancher, farmer or forester who goes above and beyond in the care and management of natural resources?

    Nominate them for the 2018 Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award®.

    Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for private land conservation, presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 13 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. 

    Read More
  • Apr 13, 2018

    Emmons Farm Receives Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award

    OKLAHOMA CITY – Emmons Farm has been selected as the recipient of the first Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award®.

    The prestigious award, given in honor or renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation by American ranchers, farmers and foresters in 13 states.

    In Oklahoma the award is presented by Sand County FoundationOklahoma Cattlemen’s AssociationOklahoma Farming and Ranching FoundationITC Holdings Corp. and The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation. 

    Emmons Farm is located in Leedey, and is owned and managed by the Jimmy and Ginger Emmons family. 

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  • Apr 05, 2018

    Sand County Foundation Announces New Communications Director

    MADISON – Sand County Foundation has named Casey Langan its communications director. 

    Langan joins Sand County Foundation with more than 20 years of experience in public relations and agricultural journalism. 

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  • Apr 03, 2018

    Leopold Conservation Award Program Seeks Wisconsin Nominees

    Application Deadline is August 4

    MADISON – Know a Wisconsin farmer, rancher or forester who goes above and beyond in the care and management of natural resources?

    Nominate them for the 2018 Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award®.


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  • Feb 26, 2018

    Kansas Leopold Conservation Award® Program Seeks Nominees

    Sand County Foundation, the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts (KACD) and the Ranchland Trust of Kansas (RTK) are accepting applications until June 2 for the 2018 Leopold Conservation Award. The $10,000 award honors Kansas farmers, ranchers and other private landowners who voluntarily demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources.

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  • Jan 23, 2018

    Partnership of Conservation Organizations Launches Needed Agricultural Water Quality Practice Assessment

    A partnership to assess agricultural practices and strategies to further improve water quality in the U.S. was launched today by the Sand County Foundation, the Noble Research Institute, Farm Foundation and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

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