Montana will be the lead state on a $5.7 million conservation project that seeks to make lasting improvements to the grasslands of the Northern Great Plains through a ranching sustainability and viability planning network.

Montana is lead state on the Life From Soil initiative

Montana is lead state on the Life From Soil initiative , The World Wildlife Federation project was recently awarded $2.86 million in USDA lfunds through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.The initiative had already received $6 million in funding from Walmart Foundation, Cargill, and McDonalds, back when it was announced in 2020. Called Life from the Soil, the project offers technical expertise, training and tools to help advance grazing practices that are sustainable and that will improve the health of more than 500,000 acres of grasslands in Montana, Nebraska, and South Dakota by 2027. The Northern Great Plains ecoregion comprises about 25 percent of the total area of the Great Plains of North America. It remains largely intact due to a harsh climate, which has made agricultural expansion relatively difficult until recent decades. The Northern Great Plains today still supports 1,595 species of plants, and provides habitat for 300 species of birds, 95 species of mammals and 28 species of reptiles.

The health of this region is maintained largely by hardworking ranching communities. Grasslands are meant to be grazed and cattle grazing, when managed well, can deliver may conservation benefits, including healthy grasslands, improved soil, and preservation of key habitats.Ranchers participating in the program enroll in World wildlife Fund’s Ranch Systems and Viability Planning network, which already has just under 420,000 acres enrolled in the Northern Great Plains. The network is a support system for ranchers who want to make ecological improvements while enhancing the financial sustainability of their operations.Participating ranchers agree to zero conversion of their grasslands for 10 years. They also develop and implement a written grazing management plan, complete training on grazing management, monitoring and other topics, and participate in on-ranch ecological monitoring.A number of benefits are expected from the project, ranging from improved soil health and water filtration, better wildlife habitat, reduced emissions through carbon storage and sequestration, improved financial sustainability, and stronger social networks among ranchers.

Source: This news is originally published by sidneyherald

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