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

South Dakota Cattlemen's Association Annual Meeting

Bien Ranch will be presented with the 2022 South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award at this event.

December 12 to 14, 2022
Pierre, SD
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“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."

- Aldo Leopold

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