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Updated: May 18, 2021

Putting conservation to work on the landscape does not happen overnight. And, it does not happen without the support of the landowners who get involved – whether through incorporating conservation into their farming practices, protecting water resources, enrolling in voluntary conservation programs, removing invasive species from their land, and/or encouraging butterflies, bees, birds, and wildlife through their land management choices. Conservation work is not just about the land, it is about the people who care for their land. Making decisions on a farm, whether one's only income source or one of many, and on recreational property is not always straight forward and simple.

In order to do our job of conservation and sustainable agriculture better, we’ve put some time into learning about the people we work with and for. ​

Landowner Matters was a project initiated in 2019 by Southern Driftless Grasslands. We surveyed 350 landowners requesting information on their conservation practices and program enrollment, to share their farm conservation practices, and what they feel are the needs of rural landowners in the area.

We also interviewed community leaders, educators, and resource conservation professionals (anonymously or otherwise) in our network area about three broad issues:

1. farming practices and conservation practices on area farms;

2. streams, surface water, and ground water, and

3. awareness and attention to issues that link us to the global concern of declining bird and pollinator populations.

With data to aid us in understanding the local constituency and the issues of most concern to them, we can begin to better serve the community with our outreach messages, our educational efforts, and the programs that we provide.

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