By Amy Skoczlas Cole

Why Local-Led Conservation Moves the Needle  

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August 10, 2023

If you’ve been following us on social media, you’ll see a crush of field day activities as part of our work with America’s Conservation Ag Movement (ACAM). Our resident regenerative farmer and rancher, Jimmy Emmons, has been dotting the Corn Belt since June, and we’re eager to start our rotation of field days with our ACAM Conservation Stewards this month.


These farmer-led events are critically important to the proliferation of climate-smart practices because seeing is believing, and seeing what’s possible in your home county or region accelerates acceptance.

It always has.

Shop talks and coffee shop conversations speed the transfer of farming information and validates that information with real-field case studies. 

Local-led, voluntary conservation has never been more urgent as producers learn about opportunities to access additional funding for Farm Bill programs and partnership programs like Climate-Smart Commodities. And many indicators point to a tipping point of understanding and value for conservation programs.

In a recent ACAM data study in five states, 70% of producers say they are open to considering programs with financial and technical assistance, and almost two-thirds of producers anticipate investing time or money in a conservation ag project in the next 12 months. 

It’s been a busy summer, but the work is just beginning for our team and our partners who are on the ground helping producers align their operations with the opportunities to build soil, hold water, create biodiversity, capture carbon and of course create better ROI. If you aren’t getting your boots dirty, then you aren’t hearing the whole story. Our ACAM field days are an opportunity for the value chain to better understand how farmers and ranchers are responding to these opportunities and identify their biggest concerns and barriers to adopting new practices.

Join us in:
– Owensville, Indiana at Kruger Farms on Aug. 17   
– York, Nebraska at McGowan Farms on Sept. 8
– Royal Oaks, California at JSM Organics on Sept. 15


More to come. I’d love to hear what you’re learning from the farmers and ranchers in your network. The more the value chain can understand and value the plight of producers, the better we can align programs to meet their critical needs for today and the future of agriculture. You can reach me at acole@farmjournal.com.

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