With support from the Walton Family Foundation, we released this report and analysis on land ownership, leasing, and tenure as levers to expand conservation practices to rebuild soil health throughout the Midwest. This report explores the network of stakeholders, policies, and institutions through which soil health can be linked to the value of the land and serve as an incentive to change management of that land—and compiles a set of resources that may be taken in concert or used separately by a variety of stakeholders to advance soil health and agricultural conservation practices on farmland in the Midwest and beyond. Specifically, this body of work focused on land trust and publicly held land holdings in Illinois, and how rental agreements can help ownership meet their stewardship goals.
This overview of the conservation sector in Illinois was funded by the Grand Victoria Foundation and created in partnership with the Natural Land Institute and the Illinois Environmental Council. By addressing insufficient and inconsistent funding for stewardship through the implementation of a long-term, scalable financing strategy, the Illinois conservation community can overcome the constraints of the current funding cycle and chart a new path forward through new financing and revenue partnership models outlined in this report.