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. 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, Charles City, IA

Funding Opportunities

Beneficial Insects Cost-Share

Practical Farmers is excited to offer support for small-scale urban farmers who would like to plant beneficial insects habitat to increase pollination and natural predation on their urban farm. These farms serve communities with local produce or products such as fruits, vegetables, herbs or honey.

PFI and its partner Xerces Society will provide a customized conservation plan and pay for native plants and other costs associated in creating insectary strips or beetle banks.

Learn More and apply

Habitat Incentives Program

Are you interested in conservation practices that improve water quality, build soil health, address climate change and provide critical native habitat for wildlife? Practical Farmers of Iowa is now offering a habitat incentives program to help you achieve your goals by providing technical and financial support to implement conservation practices on your farm.

Learn more

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 wildlife and habitat conservation, contact Grace Yi at grace.yi[at]practicalfarmers[dot]org or Brad Woodson at brad.woodson[at]practicalfarmers[dot]org.

For more information about grazing conservation, contact Margaret Chamas at margaret.chamas[at]practicalfarmers[dot]org.