Inspiring conservation goals in 2022

Each year Climate Land Leaders commit to on-farm conservation steps that will result in reduced emissions, carbon drawdown, improved water quality, increased biodiversity and improved human well-being on their land and in their communities.

Photo credit: Climate Land Leader Wendy Johnson

This year’s array of goals is ambitious and inspiring, including:

  • making changes in cultivation and grazing practices on working lands;
  • reintroduction of native grasses, trees and shrubs and removal of invasive species;
  • gaining baseline understandings of soil health, biodiversity and hydrology on the land;
  • working collaboratively with farming tenants to implement changes;
  • making long-term plans for land conservation and land access for the next generation of farmers;
  • and critical annual maintenance on conservation steps already implemented.

Climate Land Leaders meet periodically to share progress on their goals and tap each other for implementation advice and ideas. These conversations quickly become very tactical and practical, and the collective experience and wisdom within the network is amazing.


Here’s a small sampling of this year’s Climate Land Leaders’ goals:

Jane Shey (Algona, IA) is planting a new 4-acre windbreak with 180 trees and 200 shrubs to create a buffer of short-grass prairie to reduce soil erosion.

Ruth Rabinowitz (St. Charles, IA) is working with five new tenant farmers on cover crop implementation and transitioning 13 acres to organic production.

Paula Westmorland (Amery, WI), who recently sold her Iowa farmland, is now focusing on land she owns in Wisconsin. In 2022, she is planting 50 native edible and medicinal shrubs to rewild the land.

As part of a long-term plan for intensive rotational grazing of livestock, Kyle McClure (Grey Eagle, MN) is developing an improved grazing plan that this year will include rotationally grazing cattle on 40 acres of disused pasture.

Sylvia and Joe Luetmer (Alexandria, MN) are working with beginning farmers to start up a successful produce growing operation on their land, including finishing three high tunnels that need plastic and end walls/doors, building a fourth high tunnel, hauling in compost for soil amending, installing deer exclusion fencing, and planting crops!