February 2020 Newsletter
Collaboration across Conservation and Agriculture in western Washington

In the oft-rainy South Puget Sound region of western Washington, a highly threatened, dry prairie ecosystem persists on droughty soils across a patchwork of prairie preserves and grazed working lands. With recent ESA listings resulting from habitat loss, a team of farmers, researchers, and county planners is seeking to build collaboration across conservation and agriculture. They’re doing this by incorporating working lands conservation into a Habitat Conservation Plan that will protect, among other species, the Taylors checkerspot butterfly, Mazama pocket gopher, and Oregon vesper sparrow.

Private Lands Partners Day October 5-7, 2020

Private Lands Partners Day 2020 will be held near Redmond, Oregon and has already been scheduled for October 5-7, 2020. Consider joining us for the premier annual gathering of landowners and partners who are implementing partnership-based voluntary conservation across the country. If you have never been to the meeting, see our report from the 2019 meeting held in Utah. 

Proposals Sought for Private Lands Partners Day 2022 and 2023 Host Locations 

Partners for Conservation is currently accepting proposals from potential host locations for Private Lands Partners Day 2022 and 2023. Private Lands Partners Day is the premiere annual national event for landowners and partners engaged in partnership-based collaborative conservation work to sustain our national working landscapes. The event changes locations each year and has been held from Maine to California and from Montana to Florida. Proposals are being accepted through June 1, 2020 and the request for proposal can be downloaded here.
Excerpts from Keeping the Country by Michael Adno: A story about rancher Jim Strickland and other ranchers of SW Florida

In Feb. 2020 the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association recognized Jim Strickland for his stewardship of Blackbeard Ranch in southwest Florida. The working lands of this iconic region in Florida were recently recognized and almost eulogized by Michael Adno in an article published in The Bitter Southerner. Excerpts follow:

“The effort to conserve what remains of Florida is a gossamer, complicated web of finding the right set of local, state, and even federal funding to keep these places from being developed. . . . As one rancher told me, people will turn down good money to keep the character of this place intact, but they won’t turn down stupid money. . . How could you keep the spirit of this place from growing pale without ever having visited them, let alone falling in love with them? . . . you can’t love something unless you know it. And it underscored the point that you can’t protect something if you don’t love it.”

Read "Keeping the Country" by Michael Adno

The BLM is implementing a relatively new initiative known as Outcome-Based Grazing Authorizations (OBGA).

OBGA are designed to offer a more collaborative approach between the BLM and its partners within the livestock grazing community when issuing authorizations to permit grazing on public lands and sagebrush country. A handful of demonstration projects testing out outcome-based grazing on specific ranches around the West are being used to share knowledge, identify, demonstrate, and develop best practices.

Our Amazing Grasslands

“There is a tendency to think that it is wasteful not to graze pastures all the way down, but the SD Grassland Coalition and partners taught me that the grass you leave behind is mulch for the soil and results in more grass next year. It really does!” - Jeannie Franceus
Partner/Private Lands News
Ranching & Agriculture

If you’re looking for outstanding, real examples of farmers and ranchers using conservation practices effectively on their land, then consider the five families and individuals from across the U.S. that Farm Journal’s “AgDay” featured earlier this winter.

Public-private partnerships in Big Pine Creek Watershed, discovering and creating value for watershed stakeholders, including agriculture retailers.

Diversity has the power to regenerate farmland.

Startup Tillable gains The Nature Conservancy as major partner to help farmers track conservation practices.

Treat rented land like your own by starting the conversation.


A million dollar response: H2Ohio meetings

Two shore families the latest Inductees in the MD governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame

Tips for reducing sediment runoff in OR

Wildlife, Recreation & Education

Bee friendly forage for cattle tested at Virginia Tech

What’s good for the bird is good for the Bay: Practical Solutions for the Ocean's Ailments focuses on how a beloved bird Is helping save the Chesapeake Bay.

Big progress for Queen Bess' Brown Pelican nesting restoration project, funded by Deepwater Horizon penalties. The island is the fourth largest brown pelican rookery in Louisiana, producing 15-20 percent of the state's nesting activity.


New Forest Management Deal forged between the timber industry and green groups in Oregon could be national model

Hello from Texas! Partners for Conservation had a great board meeting in Little Rock at the end of January, and we were very appreciative of the opportunity to speak with landowners at the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference. A number of agricultural producers there showed interest in building new and enhancing existing public-private partnerships. 

We are also very grateful for a February and March full of outreach opportunities. We had representation at Pheasant Fest in Minneapolis and were honored to serve on a panel about building producer-agency relationships at the Society for Range Management annual meeting in Denver. We will also have directors at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Omaha and have presenting roles at the Western Collaborative Conservation Confluence March 10-12 in Fort Collins, Colorado, as well as the Private Lands Staff Forum hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation March 24-25 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Hopefully we will see you soon!

Yours in Conservation,
Steve Jester
Blanco, TX

Meet Christopher Sumpter Jr., a fourth-generation farmer from Borden, South Carolina, where he raises Hereford and Black Angus cattle. Chris is continuing his family's legacy, running a cow-calf operation and working daily in the pastures. 

Each Friday, meet diverse farmers, producers, and landowners through #FridaysOnTheFarm stories. Visit local farms, ranches, forests, and resource areas where USDA customers and partners do right and feed everyone. 
2019 Leopold Conservation Award® 
Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, these awards recognize farmers and foresters in many U.S. states who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land.

Brinker Farms Inc. of Auxvasse was named the 2019 recipient of the Missouri Leopold Conservation Award® “Our parents taught us by example, the importance of taking care of the land and our animals,” said Kenny Brinker. “We give the best care to our pigs because they are our livelihood and we are their stewards.”

Private Lands Conservation Events & Funding Announcements

The RFP for the 2020 funding round of the Landscape Conservation Catalyst Fund was recently announced by The Network for Landscape Conservation. The purpose of the Fund is to accelerate the pace of conservation at scale across the United States through targeted support of collaborative Landscape Conservation.The Catalyst Fund is open to any Landscape Conservation Partnership in the US and will provide approximately $335,000 in funding through competitive grants in 2020. Partnerships may request a one- or two-year grant of $10,000 to $25,000. Deadline: Pre-proposals for the 2020 funding round are due by 9 pm Eastern time on Friday, March 13, 2020. Apply online

The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund (BBHF) was formed out of a growing sense of urgency about pollinator health, which has resulted in a broad collection of supporters coming together to support pollinator habitat efforts and make a difference. The ‘Seed A Legacy’ program is providing free pollinator seed mixes to projects in 12 key states of the Midwest and Great Plains. The program is open to working with private, public and corporate lands. Applicants with projects 2 acres in size or larger can submit a basic online application.


The South Dakota Agricultural Land Trust, founded in 2019, is looking for an Executive Director. The ED is a new full-time staff position that will be responsible for the professional leadership, management and growth of the SDALT. Working together with the SDALT Board of Directors, the Executive Director will advance the SDALT through the development and implementation of internal and external goals that reflect the organization’s mission and vision. The position provides overall leadership for fundraising, strategic planning, organizational development, completion and administration of conservation projects and financial oversight. Open until filled. To apply, email your resume, cover letter, salary requirements and potential start date to: sdaglandtrust@outlook.com Subject: SDALT Executive Director Search.


Register for the NABCI Private and Working Lands Subcommittee meeting to be held in Kansas City, MO March 24-25,2020. The meeting will focus on landowner and partner relationships, successful conservation planning and implementation with the goal of developing a series of useful products, as an outgrowth of the meeting, to assist landowners across the country. 

We hope to see you at the Western Collaborative Conservation Network’s inaugural “Confluence 2020” meeting March 10-12, 2020 at Colorado State University. Partners for Conservation is a sponsor of this event. Learn more and register here.

Stockmanship School in Elko County, Nevada, Sep 24-27, 2020:
Topics to be covered include:
  • Low-stress livestock handling (Bud Williams)
  • Stockmanship: conventional vs. low stress
  • Economic benefits of stockmanship
  • How to get your herd working well for you
  • Stockmanship basics
  • Corral work
  • Bud Box design and use
  • Placing cattle on range without fences
  • Weaning pairs
  • Solving handling challenges
  • Range management principles and flexible grazing for riparian function and recovery

Check out the upcoming Soil Health Academies to be held Feb through October 2020 in MI, WI, NM, NE, Alberta, ID and AL.

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. 
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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