The Climate Land Leaders Initiative

Sally McCoy (IA and WI) and Jackie Armstrong (IA) at an annual meetup

Climate Land Leaders are working with compassion and commitment to address the climate crisis on their lands. As landowners, they are implementing ambitious conservation projects, sharing with and learning from each other, and serving as leaders on climate policy and equity initiatives.

Climate Land Leaders share three goals:

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their agricultural operations.

Sequester carbon in soils and biomass.

Ensure that our lands and farms are resilient in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

Achieving these goals will improve soil health, reduce soil erosion, clean and protect waters, increase biodiversity and help farms and communities thrive.


Land stewards build soil health, increase biodiversity and protect water so that ecosystems and communities can thrive in a rapidly changing climate


Landowners create community and support to alleviate climate change through land stewardship and conservation

Guiding Principles

We, the Climate Land Leaders:

  • Dismantle inequities that limit access to land tenure
  • Respect and learn from the natural world through observation and engagement
  • Use Indigenous knowledge and scientific evidence as guides
  • Support and hold each other accountable
  • Welcome people at various places in their journey to land transformation
  • Work with nonprofit, government and business partners for greater impact
  • Grow food and fiber with regenerative practices that heal ecosystems and revitalize rural communities

“When tornadoes threaten your livelihood, when you don’t get a drop of rain for over a month, when floods ravage your crops and livestock, when unusual insects fly in from hurricane winds and eat your forage for your livestock, when a derecho peels the roof off your home and barns, and it all happens within a year of time, it shakes you to the core. Where can I openly discuss my sadness, my anger, my frustration and my fear? Climate Land Leaders is filled with people who have similar concerns around climate, the environment, equity and diversity, and policy. It is a safe place with a very open and caring membership.”

—Wendy Johnson (IA)

Climate Land Leaders, like Ruth Rabinowitz (left, IA and CA) and Jane Shey (right, IA and MD), are active in many groups and initiatives and are often called upon to share their expertise. Ruth alone has spoken to the Iowa Farmers Union, Practical Farmers of Iowa, the Tallgrass Prairie Center, Women Food and Agriculture Network and more. She taps government and private programs to help her accomplish her conservation goals.