From corn farmers to vegetable growers to graziers, all farmers have an interest in land stewardship. Practical Farmers’ conservation and habitat program brings our farmer-led approach to on-farm, working lands conservation. In general, our work is divided into four major functional areas: in-field conservation, edge-of-field conservation, grazing and pasture-lands conservation, and set-aside. Scroll down to explore each area and learn more about Practical Farmers’ conservation and habitat programming.

Clark Porter submitted by him 602x727“When I think about the most joyful times I’ve had out at my farm, it’s when I’ve seen some wildlife—a deer, or a fox or coyote. The habitat provides some of the most meaningful moments and helps you make the connection with your land in a way that nothing else does.”

-Clark Porter

WendyJohson fromHelenGunderson“We want our daughter – and other kids – to live on this planet for a long time, and the best way is to be good stewards of the land and take conservation seriously.”

-Wendy Johnson, PFI board president, Charles City, IA

Wildlife Conservation Cost-Share

Practical Farmers is excited to offer technical support and cost-share for prairie strips and precision conservation. In partnership with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, we will reimburse farmers and landowners for the costs of seeding, establishing and maintaining prairie strips.

Farmers and landowners who use precision-collected data to identify marginal (unprofitable) crop acres can also receive a precision conservation incentive payment if they decide to take those marginal acres out of production.

This cost-share is closed until January 2023. Stay tuned for more information!

Functional Areas

In-Field Conservation

Just like it sounds, in-field conservation refers to conservation practices that are implemented within a production field. Such practices might include: no-till/strip-till; cover crops; manure management; extended crop rotations; precision nutrient management; and integrated pest management strategies.

Practical Farmers has a long history of promoting, researching, and sharing stories and science related to in-field conservation practices. Some selected articles, reports, and blogs related to in-field conservation include:

Learn more about PFI’s Cover Crops program.

Edge-of-Field Conservation

In addition to its in-field conservation programming and research, Practical Farmers’ members have recently expressed more interest in edge-of-field conservation. Common edge-of-field conservation practices include: buffer strips; filter strips; riparian buffers; constructed wetlands; water and sediment control basins; drainage water control structures; bioreactors; and saturated buffers. Selected articles, reports, and blogs related to edge-of-field conservation include:

Grazing and Pasture Conservation

Although conservation within grazing and pasture systems is often classified as in-field conservation, managing pasture-based grazing operations for conservation benefits presents unique challenges and opportunities. Selected articles, reports, and blogs related to grazing and pasture-land conservation include:


Set-aside generally refers to the act of removing land from production, either for a specific time period or permanently. Many easement programs associated with the U.S. Farm Bill can be considered set-aside programs. Set-aside usually incorporates varying types of perennial cover and can either consist of large chunks of land or smaller pieces distributed across a farm. When designed and located appropriately, set-aside can have tremendous benefits for on-farm conservation and risk management. Selected articles, reports, and blogs related to set-aside include:

Other PFI Resources

The Latest from PFI on Conservation & Habitat

Non-PFI Resources

Technical Assistance and Financial Assistance

The following organizations provide technical and/or financial assistance to individuals seeking to restore, manage, and improve habitat and conservation practices on privately-owned lands. Click each link below for more information and contact information for each organization.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS):

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA):

Iowa Department of Natural Resources:

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach:

Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation:

Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever:

Other organizations that offer conservation resources:

Contact Information

For more information about on-farm conservation efforts: contact Kayla Koether at