your resource for land conservation education and reference December 2013 Newsletter [ Archive ]

Resources First Foundation connects people to conservation through the Private Landowner Network, an extensive online database of conservation resources and information.  Resources First Foundation engages with and educates farmers, forest owners, and ranchers throughout the U.S. to inspire sustainable business and conservation practices. By supporting private landowners, who are the best and most efficient stewards of our country's land, you will help play a role in conservation and natural resource protection.

Hunters: A Force for Conservation
   hunting sunrise 3   
Photo credit:
Hunting seasons are starting to open, making this a great time to commemorate the important role that hunters play in habitat conservation. Hunters engage in habitat conservation through purchasing licenses, permits, and paying land use fees. They also pay an excise tax to state fish and wildlife agencies for land conservation when purchasing firearms and ammunition.

Hunters donate to and participate in hunting organizations that take a role in direct habitat restoration and conservation. For example, Ducks Unlimited has conserved over 13 million acres of waterfowl habitat in North America. When you add it up, it is estimated that hunters contribute $1.6 billion annually to species and habitat conservation.

While hunters may not have always been seen as a force for habitat and species conservation, today they are certainly involved in promoting environmentally sustainable species management and valuable habitat conservation (which makes sense since they have the most to gain from bountiful habitat and game populations!)

Read More About Hunting and Conservation Here!

Find Hunting Lodges Near You on Our Yellowpages.

USDA Resumes Conservation Payments 2
NRCS officer helps a farmer with his conservation efforts. Photo Credit: NRCS.

Almost exactly one month after the 16-day federal government shutdown began on October 1 the USDA announced October 29 that farmers who participated in the Conservation Stewardship Program would receive their overdue payments from the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Through these payments, the NRCS provides financial assistance for farmers implementing conservation practices on their land to improve water and soil quality, and enhance wildlife habitat.

Payments for Conservation Reserve Program participants and those enrolled in other private land conservation programs, have also resumed after delays due to the shutdown, and application deadlines for the EQIP, WHIP and AMA programs have been extended to December 20.

After being kept from their work for weeks due to the shutdown, NRCS officers recently took to the field to help farmers with their conservation efforts.

Read More Here 
ND Prairie Pothole Carbon Trading Program
Dakota-Grasslands_1 2
Photo credit: America's Great Outdoors, DOI.

Private landowners in the North Dakota Prairie Pothole region have access to new revenue for conservation practices due to a new carbon credit system. The North Dakota Prairie Pothole project is a cutting edge ‘avoided grassland conservation carbon project,’ that enables farmers to sell carbon credits for every acre they leave untilled. This project is preserving critical wildlife habitat while changing the future of farming.

How it works: untilled soil stores carbon dioxide. The amount of CO2 stored in the soil is measured by using the American Carbon Registry approved Avoided Conversion of Grasslands and 
Shrublands carbon offset methodology, which determines how many credits a landowner can sell to carbon dioxide polluters to offset their environmental impact. 

This project is a collaborative effort between the NRCS, Ducks Unlimited, The Climate Trust, and the Nature Conservancy. Funded through a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant, the project has already enrolled 114 landowners and protected 50,000 acres.

Read More on the Conservation Exchange
Talking About Conservation in Mississippi

Photo Credit: NRCS.

On Saturday, October 27, Resources First Foundation's President Amos Eno and Conservation Tax Center Director Breana Behrens traveled to Eagle Lake, Mississippi to participate in the inaugural Tara Talks. Hosted by Tara Wildlife, Tara Talks I - The Mississippi Delta featured presentations from more than a dozen conservation leaders across the country.

Behrens' presentation, Conservation Easements and Economic Incentives, described the pros and cons of a conservation easement, which can be defined as "a voluntary restriction on the use of land, such as development, by means of a recorded deed restriction," as well as alternatives means of conserving land in changing political, fiscal and environmental circumstances.

Read Behrens' Full Presentation

As Saturday's final speaker, Eno began by emphasizing that, "I am certain private landowners hold the key to this country's conservation equation." This theme was described in the context of the current effort to save the lesser prairie chicken (LPC), which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to list as a threatened species. The grouse's habitat spreads across 5 states and is 95% dependent on private lands. It also happens to lie atop some of the largest oil & gas deposits in the U.S.

He supported the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies' comprehensive Range-Wide plan to unite private landowners and the oil & gas industry to conserve and restore LPC habitat. Eno elaborated that similar partnerships between private landowners and the private sector can, and need to be extrapolated to protecting all current or potential endangered species and to conservation efforts in general.

Read Eno's Full Presentation

Bill Green Visits King Tut, Talks about Food Regulations

If you are not from the state, you probably have not heard of Bill Green's Maine, but it is one of Maine's most popular TV shows, in which Green travels the state to find great local stories. For his show on November 2, he visited King Tut's Cider Mill to learn about an institution that has been in business since 1903, and for some fresh apple cider of course.

Watch the Video

Unfortunately, like other all-natural cider producers, King Tut's is struggling due to a FDA regulation mandating that all cider sold to third party distributors, such as grocery stores and restaurants, be pasteurized. Pasteurization requires around $50,000 worth of equipment and a debilitating amount of paper work to comply with regulations. Without it, they can only sell directly to the consumer, either at the farm or at farmers' markets, festivals and fairs.

Read More on Cider Pasteurization

Cider producers are not the only ones struggling to keep up with FDA regulations. The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 has proven onerous for many small and organic farmers, with regulations governing how they compost, and where and when their animals can be on pastureland just to name a few. And the amount of regulatory paperwork can be crippling for small farm operations with no resources to spare.

Read More on the Food Safety Modernization Act

Help Preserve Vital Resources and Rural Communities Today!

Welcome to Our New Conservation Leader:
American Forest Foundation
RFF Membership

Become a member of RFF and its PLN and show your support for farmers, forest owners, and ranchers.

Businesses that become a member at the Conservation Leader level  will be provided with free advertising in our next newsletter!

To help private landowners, who are stewards of 71% of our country’s land, and learn about membership benefits click here or contact Christine Force.
What Do You Know About Home Heating?

With winter on the way everyone is starting to turn the heat on. Take this National Geographic quiz to see how much you know about what it takes to keep people warm. Click here to take the quiz.
Maintain your own PLN Profile

Service providers that are listed on the PLN can now update and maintain their own listings. If you are interested in creating a free listing, updating your current listing, or have questions about this important feature click here!
Affiliated Sites

Conservation Tax Center

Cooperative Conservation America

Maine Conservation Center

Houston Conservation Center

California Conservation Center

Mississippi Conservation Center

Arkansas Conservation Center

Contact Us | Phone: (207) 221-2753 |
189 Main Street, Yarmouth, Maine 04096 | Resources First Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit