March 2020 Newsletter
Confluence 2020

Partners for Conservation was honored to serve as a co-convener for the first Western Collaborative Conservation Network (WCCN) Confluence held March 10-12 at Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Photo credit: Artwork from graphic recording artist Carrie Frickman of Heartwood Visuals does a great job of capturing the work of the Western Collaborative Conservation Network Confluence 2020.

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.
Our Amazing Grasslands

“Instead of thinking bigger and having a high debt load, we thought we would stay where we are and think smarter. So we became diversified and more sustainable in our multi-species operation.” - Suzanne England who farms with husband George in Midland, South Dakota. 
Partner/Private Lands News
Ranching & Agriculture
How women in Iowa are leading farmland conservation efforts: an organization called The Women, Food and Agriculture Network teaches women about land conservation and the role the women could potentially play in making sure their farmer-tenants are implementing sustainable practices. “We know that 50 to 70 percent of the women who come to a one day meeting will take an action to improve conservation on their land.”

The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) recently revealed that every year more than 400 million pounds of nitrate-nitrogen and around 38 million pounds of total phosphorus flow from the state into the Mississippi River. About half of farmers have not adopted soil health practice due to expense, which often arises from working individually. The key to soil conservation lies in a delicate ecosystem of multiple best practices, players, and products working together at the watershed or sub-watershed level.

Nantucket Community Farm Institute An Inspiring Model for Public Private Partnership. Because it’s one of the most expensive and protected zip codes in the country, the Nantucket Community Farm Institute was started in 2015 to provide a low risk learning environment and affordable land to new growers.

North Dakota farmer selected as Pheasant Forever’s 2020 Precision Farmer of the Year for their innovative use of precision agriculture to boost both profit and wildlife conservation on their farming and cattle ranch, with support of ND Game & Fish and a federal program.

Two farmland properties, one of which was going to be commercially developed, totaling nearly 125 acres, have been permanently preserved by New Jersey Conservation Foundation and its partners.


Water

Wolf Lake dairy farm earns water quality certification. Huwe farms are now water quality certified in the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP). The Huwes' farming operation joins over 800 water quality certified farming operations in Minnesota’s unique, five-year old program that recognizes farmers’ efforts to protect the state’s water quality.

Opinion: Ranchers can help improve water quality. “Raising cattle is one of the most environmentally friendly agricultural endeavors [in Florida] since we keep much of the land in native vegetative communities, grasslands and still retain water.”


Wildlife, Recreation & Education

Wildlife populations benefit from conservation practices: taking advantage of the Corners for Wildlife Program, which helps landowners establish habitat on center pivot corners

The National Corn Growers Association and Environmental Defense Fund launched the Success in Stewardship Network, which will break down the notion that conservation is only for an elite group of farmers . . . Practices that protect the land and water and increase climate resilience are more prevalent than many think, and this network help to continue making conservation commonplace.

The main mission of Iowa’s Pheasants Forever farm bill biologist is to promote wildlife as well as improving water quality and reducing soil erosion using NRCS and USDA programs.

Ottawa County receives $438K state grant to preserve family farm

Dealing with a protection order for species at risk: Decades of carefully managing native pastures, documentation and open communication were key to convincing government officials and conservationists that this ranch is supporting wildlife

Rare native prairie near Texarkana preserved by family, conservation groups

Forests

Sierra Nevada Conservancy awards grants to forest health, land conservation projects

The American Forest Foundation receives funding from Dutch Biomass Certification Foundation to further tools and technologies that engage small forest landowners in sustainable forest management and certification.

Butte County, CA woodlands are in transition because of climate change, high-severity fires, and 20th-century land use decisions, and some woodlands face a real possibility of permanent type conversion to brushland: community workshop held in March to discuss collaborative planning.
A NOTE FROM THE CHAIR

Hello from Ovando, Montana!

Spring officially begins this month and Montana is still at or above 100% of normal snowpack. I hope moisture levels in your part of the world are in a good spot as you enter the growing season. 

Seasons are also changing for Partners for Conservation as we enter a new season in regards to communication and outreach in light of the response to Covid-19 virus and the impacts on travel, gatherings and convening. Partners for Conservation like many organizations, agencies and businesses, has paused our participation in large gatherings and travel. We were extremely excited and grateful to be able to participate in the first meeting of the Western Collaborative Conservation Network held at Colorado State University just before virus response began to intensify.

We will make more use of our virtual kitchen table to continue the collaboration conservation conversation during these challenging times and hope that we wiill see you there!

Wishing you good health,
Jim Stone
#FridaysOnTheFarm 

This Friday meet Jim and Katie Matykowski of Marinette County, Wisconsin. The Matykowskis bought 130 acres back in 1989 and started actively managing their forest to benefit wildlife. The Golden-winged Warbler has one of the steepest population declines of all songbirds because it prefers shrubby, young forest habitat in the Great Lakes region. Today, early successional habitats are on the decline due to forest succession, development and other changes in land use. By cutting mature alder and managing their forest according to a plan, the Matykowskis have brought back early successional habitat for the Golden-winged Warbler.

“It’s been such an honor to own this land,” Jim said. “I like the peace and quiet, with only sounds of nature out here.”

Photo: Golden-winged Warbler chick

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. 
Our Amazing South Dakota Resources

The “Our Amazing South Dakota Resources” campaign was created in 2018 with the goal of better communicating the importance and value of grasslands and soil resources throughout the state. This campaign strives to better show what South Dakota farmers and ranchers are doing to protect and enhance these resources. Each thirty-second video was created utilizing footage from interviews with South Dakota farmers and ranchers and showcases footage of their farming and ranching operations.
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.


Private Lands Conservation Events & Funding Announcements
FUNDING & RESOURCES

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.

EVENTS
Greater South Texas Conference for Women in Agriculture to be held March 24 in Carrizo Springs, TX

Free wild prairie chicken viewing set for spring at Dunn Ranch Prairie in Northwest Missouri

Stockmanship School in Elko County, Nevada, Sep 24-27, 2020.

Check out the upcoming Soil Health Academies to be held Feb through October 2020 in MN, NM, NE, Alberta, ID, and AL.
ABOUT PARTNERS FOR CONSERVATION

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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