Opportunities abound in agricultural sector
Farmers and ranchers wield enormous influence over conservation efforts across nearly 1 billion acres in the United States used for crops, pasture or grazing.
What farmers and ranchers do on these lands — and don’t do — holds profound meaning for all of us, from the food we eat to the water we drink, the air we breathe and the stability of our climate. For wildlife across the nation, conservation outcomes on agricultural lands can mean the difference between abundance and scarcity, recovery and extinction.
Conservation-minded producers across the nation understand and embrace this responsibility. They continually adjust operations to make more efficient use of natural resources. They innovate, working with industry partners to develop new technologies to better manage runoff, minimize fertilizer waste, and where water is scarce, make every drop count. They monitor and safeguard the health of soils and grasslands that feed not just their livestock, but also the birds, deer and other wildlife species that live on agricultural lands or migrate through them. They plant riparian borders and maintain livestock fencing to protect water quality. They battle invasive species that threaten not just the productivity of their lands, but also the wellbeing of native wildlife and vegetation. They cultivate portions of their properties — often all of it — to benefit wildlife and create bountiful opportunities for hunting and fishing. They have a vested interest in the prosperity of bees, butterflies, birds and bats that pollinate crops and control pests.
NFWF and its funding partners understand that the nation’s agricultural lands hold incredible potential for rapidly scaling up conservation efforts that will sustain wildlife populations, decrease pollution and sequester more carbon in healthy soils and grassland systems.
Throughout 2021, the Foundation worked with federal partners such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to increase funds available for conservation activities. The number of NFWF’s corporate partners in the agricultural sector grew from three to seven in 2021, with several more expected to join these efforts in the coming year. As leaders in agriculture-based industries, these partners seek to improve the sustainability of their producers, supply chains and business models.
The grants awarded through these partnerships drive conservation on dairy farms in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, vast ranches on the Great Plains, and small farms from the Pacific Northwest through the Great Lakes region and Southeastern United States.