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Land Stewardship

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Land Stewardship

Have you ever asked a farmer about what their land means to them? Some may give you facts and figures about percentages of their yields. Some might describe what crops they grow. Some may even tell you the story of how they came to own the land. If you could really break through to the core response, many would tell you simply the land is their legacy.

For all partners who act on voluntary conservation and for all professionals who are incorporating land stewardship in their daily work, this is driven by a shared value for the land. A shared goal to protect this rich resource for future generations to benefit from it in the same way we have.

HEI brings a unique perspective having worked historically with American Agriculture at a local level, state and federal agencies, professionals in sustainability programs, and water managers at various levels of the spectrum. Using this key background, we have developed a land stewardship approach that provides a giant leap forward in implementing voluntary conservation practices to protect land and water resources. Whatever your position or role, this is an approach where everyone can provide and realize benefits.

Because implementing projects is currently a voluntary action—usually expected of farmers with busy production schedules—there must be a value proposition for landowners to participate. The existing framework failed to include the landowners’ business needs as part of the conservation equation. With limited funds available, sometimes the desire to participate might be there, but the dollars just don’t add up. And landowners quickly become weary of random acts of conservation. 

Using new available technology and watershed planning approaches, HEI can help provide the information to better facilitate landowner discussions on voluntary practices. These projects can be targeted based on their “best benefits”, providing details that better appeals to the landowner’s value and the cost to build and maintain a project. This information can be used from planning through implementation, increasing the chance of project success and providing more accountable use of public money where it’s available. 

We fully believe in the power of this approach to change the dialogue around water issues and push it toward a solution focus. More conversation leads to ideas and innovation through a multi-disciplinary approach and well-functioning partnerships. Stewardship is a way to demonstrate responsibility, establish expectations and boundaries to achieve water quality goals, while simultaneously increasing yield and profitability for farmers.

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