August 2018 Newsletter
Private Lands Partners Day 2018 October 2-4

In just six weeks Private Lands Partners Day 2018 will convene in Springfield, Missouri. Focusing on the themes of healthy partnerships, healthy land, and healthy communities as well as honoring the lessons of Aldo Leopold and his connection to the state, the agenda should have something for everyone working in conservation partnerships with private landowners. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and Acting Chief of USDA-NRCS Leonard Jordan have both been invited.

Missouri Partnerships for Fish, Farmers, and Cattlemen

Interesting partnerships between landowners and conservation organizations including the Missouri Department of Conservation are cropping up in Missouri. These include a recent Mississippi River paddling trip with local Missouri farmers to learn the connections between their cover crops and the health of river fish, as well as an article in the Missouri Beef Cattleman magazine all about water stewardship for cattle operations. 

Both of these examples are part of a much larger initiative that focuses on the decisions landowners make about their most important crop: soil. “Will it stay in the field/pasture or move to a stream?” The Fishers & Farmers Partnership for the Upper Mississippi River Basin strengthens local leadership and action in the region’s agricultural watersheds, so farms and fish thrive together. Less polarization. More shared work.

Take a look at their map of funded projects.
2017 Missouri Leopold Conservation Award

This video features Matt and Kate Lambert talking about their 600-acre family farm, Uptown Farms, and the additional 1,400 acres they manage for both profit and conservation.  

After a 4-inch deluge on their farm, the Lamberts saw clear water running off their fields into their drainage ditches, and that’s when they got that “wow” factor. They realized they were doing something good by using cover crops to “build a new soil.” “We have a responsibility not only to use the resource to raise a great crop but to protect the resources that are here.” 
Partner & Private Land News
Ranching & Agriculture
SD survey indicates conservation a high priority for ranchers.

At Nevada's Maggie Creek Ranch, its conservation-minded manager, Jon Griggs, works tirelessly for the benefit of the sagebrush ecosystem and the health and viability of the ranch to which he is entrusted. Maggie Creek Ranch was awarded the National Cattlemen Association’s environmental stewardship award in 2015.

Eastern Montana rancher says BLM prescribed burns helped improve land, minimize wildfire's impact

NRCS partners in California receive $1.3 million for Conservation Innovations. The funding is split between two state-specific projects and a national project that includes California.

Deal protects Highlands County, Florida land from development: Nearly 2,500 acres of ranch land in Highlands County will be added to a state program that helps limit development of agricultural property.

Iowa Learning Farms: You’ll be hearing more about Iowa’s newly formed Conservation Learning Group, taking conservation to a new level.

Women Caring for the Land event provides ag and conservation resources
in North Dakota

Nonprofits dedicated to land conservation can access a new $500,000 funding pot from the state of New York to further their farmland protection efforts.

Pennsylvania leads the nation in land permanently preserved for agricultural production, and the Wenk family’s Adams County Century Farm stands as a model of preserving not only land and resources, but tradition, while also adopting progressive, sustainable management practices and innovating to respond to consumer trends.

Farm, ranch tour in Teton Valley, ID highlights conservation efforts.

Government helps young Canadians become stewards on the farm.

A federal working lands program that taps into the power of partnerships to benefit soil and water conservation is taking root in Grand Forks County, ND.

New revenue option for ag producers: An effort funded by NRCS’ Conservation Innovation Grants program is helping ranchers sell carbon credits for keeping their soil undisturbed, creating a new source of income for the family.

USDA Officials plan to help farmers use environmentally friendly methods, develop technology to identify best practices, and consult with thousands of people to improve more than 1 million acres of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Wildlife, Recreation & Education
California Rangeland Trust program teaches kids where food comes from

Can Markets Save The Prairie Chicken In Kansas?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) issued a new report aimed at managing catastrophic wildfires and the impacts of invasive species, drought, and insect and disease epidemics It outlines the USFS’s plans to work more closely with states to identify landscape-scale priorities for targeted treatments in areas with the highest payoffs. On co-managing wildfire risk: “When we and other land managers and landowners across all lands appreciate our interdependencies and accept our shared ownership of fire risk, we have an opportunity to share responsibility for evaluating and managing it.”

We certainly have a lot going on as summer enters its last weeks and turns to fall. Private Lands Partners Day 2018 in Missouri is fast approaching, and Partners for Conservation very much hopes you can attend.

But before that, we are hosting conservation partnership training for folks active in conservation partnerships throughout the West. We are hoping to be able to transfer some of the things that we, and our partners, have learned over the years about partnering up.

In September, as detailed elsewhere in the newsletter, we will be at a partnership-focused field day in Alabama with landowners and partners working on the relationships necessary to manage the longleaf pine ecosystem at large scales.

All three of these upcoming events focus on building and maintaining the critical relationships necessary to sustain our working landscapes for the long-term.

Hope you can join us at one!

Steve Jester
Getting into the Weevils, Montague, Massachusetts
article & photo by Isaac Burke

In the last few years, weevils have become one of the best lines of defense against Polygonum perfoliatum, better known as the mile-a-minute vine. It’s an apt nickname: a creeping, prickly perennial invasive plant has quickly wedged its way into landscapes all along the Eastern Seaboard, starving the native plants underneath it of sunlight. The best part: these weevils won’t eat anything other than mile-a-minute. The species is so specific in its diet that it will virtually never take a bite out of another plant. 

Get more stories like this one by following " Nature’s Good Neighbors ," a series of stories showcasing conservationists across the nation, many of whom are private landowners.
Our Amazing Grasslands

Dean and Candice Lockner of Ree Heights, SD emphasize patience short-term, but pay back long-term in caring for their soil. Candice Lockner says, “When you can touch the soil, smell it, feel it, and see what it can do and know that that is what feeds and nourishes us to be strong and healthy and vibrant . . . and the whole circle is healthy (or not healthy) based upon our management decisions. The contribution to soil health is incalculable.” 
Our Amazing Pollinators, the pollinator portion of the SD Grassland Coalition’s video about Dean and Candice Lockner’s ranch (above), highlights the importance of native prairies to pollinators. “If 1 in 3 bites of food that we eat is dependent upon pollinators . . . we need to get real serious real fast . . . [When] the plants are healthy, the animals are healthy, the water’s clean, it’s beautiful. I don’t think we’d be here without them.”
Private Lands Conservation
Fishers and Farmers Partnership to host Watershed Leaders Workshop, Aug 6-7, 2018
Come to the Mark Twain Brewing Company on the Mississippi River
and connect with neighbors working together for soil and streams, and thought leaders who know cover crops, farm leases, fish, water, progressive farming practices, and how to get people involved. Learn from their challenges, successes, and stories.

Alabama Woodlands & Wildlife Field Day, Sept 27, 2018
You are invited to Saloom Properties in Alabama! The day features professional speakers, innovative technology, vendors exhibits, research-based information, free lunch and door prizes.  
All focusing on:
  • Managing longleaf & gopher tortoise habitat 
  • Managing special sites/Civil War-era cemetery 
  • Using drones & smartphones to map your property 
  • Establishing longleaf and using prescribed fire 
  • Invasive plant management 

Find the event here to RSVP and register online


Partners for Conservation (PFC) is a private landowner-led organization which communicates and collaborates on conservation partnerships for working landscapes to benefit present and future generations. 
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Consider Joining Partners for Conservation
Consider becoming a member of Partners for Conservation. Partners for Conservation works to support collaboration and public-private partnerships as the first choice for conserving our national working landscapes for people and nature. More information on membership can be found on our website. 
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