Greater Sage-Grouse and cow on land managed by Pathfinder Ranches in Natrona County, Wyoming.
Greater Sage-Grouse and cow on land managed by Pathfinder Ranches in Natrona County, Wyoming.
Conservation

Conservation Ranching Initiative

Conserving and reviving rangelands with bird-friendly grazing
Greater Sage-Grouse and cow on land managed by Pathfinder Ranches in Natrona County, Wyoming. Photo: Evan Barrientos/Audubon Rockies
Greater Sage-Grouse and cow on land managed by Pathfinder Ranches in Natrona County, Wyoming. Photo: Evan Barrientos/Audubon Rockies
Conservation

Conservation Ranching Initiative

Conserving and reviving rangelands with bird-friendly grazing
Help Grassland Birds

Buy Beef from Audubon-Certified Lands

Beef from Audubon-certified land comes from ranches that protect grassland bird habitat. It's also antibiotic-free, ethically raised, and delicious.

North America's grasslands are among the most imperiled ecosystems in the world. Consequently, America’s grassland birds have declined more than any other bird group in the continent, some species by as much as 80%. Because the vast majority of America’s grassland birds breed on private lands, working with ranchers is our best hope for conserving them.

Benefits to Birds

To save grassland birds, we’re enlisting and assisting America’s ranchers—the stewards of our remaining grassland landscapes—in implementing conservation ranching practices hundreds of thousands of acres in Wyoming and Colorado. We’re working with them to develop Habitat Management Plans that implement regenerative grazing and other bird conservation practices, such as controlling invasive species and native plant seeding. 

By mimicking America’s historic bison herds, regenerative grazing invigorates diverse plant communities and supports nutrient cycles that rebuild soil and conserve water. It even has potential to remove carbon from the atmosphere and add enormous amounts of carbon to soil organic matter.  We measure the effectiveness of these practices by monitoring bird diversity and abundance, vegetation change, and soil health.

Benefits to Consumers

Beef from Audubon-certified land is hormone and antibiotic-free, ethically raised, and delicious. Supporting Audubon-certified ranches is better for grassland birds, better for the land, and better for you. Our certification seal can be found on high quality meat products and empowers consumers to support ranches that benefit grassland birds and their habitat.

Benefits to Ranchers

Beef from Audubon-certified lands garners a premium price and provides a unique opportunity for ranchers to showcase their excellent management practices. This helps them care for their families and provides exceptional habitat for wildlife. By first listening to the ranching community, trusting in their knowledge of sustainable land management, and learning from their resiliency in a volatile marketplace, we are ensuring that our strategies and solutions will benefit both people and nature. Buying beef from Audubon-certified lands supports rural economies and the ranching way of life.

"Included in the mission of our ranch is the idea that good stewardship is important for the long-term financial health of the ranch, as well as the health of the sagebrush-grassland we manage. Partnering with Audubon to promote conservation ranching is an exciting opportunity to help educate the public about what we are doing to improve prairie ecosystems that are critical to many species of birds and other wildlife."

—Jay and Linda Butler, Owner Operators of Pronghorn Ranch, an Audubon-certified ranch

Our Impact

Since 2009, the Conservation Ranching Initiative in the Rockies has

  • Enrolled 18 ranches totaling 548,940 acres in Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana
  • Recruited 11 restaurants, retailers, and institutions in Wyoming and Colorado.
  • Conducted more than 40 bird surveys on 12 ranches
  • Conducted 8 landowner workshops
  • Created a decision support tool for bird-friendly land management practices

We thank the NRCS USDA for their support.

News and Stories

What Does Habitat Look Like on a Ranch?
Conservation Ranching Initiative

What Does Habitat Look Like on a Ranch?

Ranches are home to much more than cows, especially when managed for habitat diversity.

Blue Nest Beef Launches Grass-Fed, Audubon-Certified Subscription Service
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Blue Nest Beef Launches Grass-Fed, Audubon-Certified Subscription Service

Certified by Audubon’s Conservation Ranching Initiative, company helps fix a broken food system with cattle as their tool and birds as their guide.

Conservation Ranching is a Win for Wildlife and People
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Conservation Ranching is a Win for Wildlife and People

We don't need to burn down the Amazon to produce our protein. An opinion piece published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

Fighting Habitat Loss with Forks and Knives
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Fighting Habitat Loss with Forks and Knives

Why Carboy Winery sources meat from Corner Post Meats, an Audubon-certified conservation ranch.

Monitoring on Conservation Ranches
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Monitoring on Conservation Ranches

Audubon conducts bird, plant, and soil surveys to ensure conservation success.

Corner Post Meats at Kiowa Creek Ranch
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Corner Post Meats at Kiowa Creek Ranch

Conserving prairie and forest by connecting consumers to the land.

May Ranch
Conservation Ranching Initiative

May Ranch

An island of grass in a sea of developed land.

Steak and Eggs
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Steak and Eggs

A guest opinion on why conservation ranching matters.

New UN Report Affirms Importance of Land-Use Initiatives in Fighting Climate Change
Conservation Ranching Initiative

New UN Report Affirms Importance of Land-Use Initiatives in Fighting Climate Change

Report affirms importance of programs like Audubon’s Conservation Ranching Initiative and findings of recent report on fate of birds in America’s grasslands.

Audubon Report Identifies Priority Conservation Areas for Disappearing North American Grassland Birds
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Audubon Report Identifies Priority Conservation Areas for Disappearing North American Grassland Birds

America’s ranchers will play a key role in protecting grassland birds and the places they need in a fragmented and climate-vulnerable landscape.

Western Meadowlark. Photo: James Halsch/Audubon Photography Awards

Related

Conservation Ranching for Consumers
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Conservation Ranching for Consumers

Not all beef is the same. See what sets beef raised on Audubon-certified ranches apart from the herd.

Read more

Conservation Ranching for Retailers
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Conservation Ranching for Retailers

Demand for sustainable beef is growing. Audubon has a large and loyal consumer base that will buy beef from Audubon-certified lands, even if it costs more.

Read more

Conservation Ranching for Ranchers
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Conservation Ranching for Ranchers

Beef from Audubon-certified lands garners a premium price on your product, helping you care for your family and your land.

Read more

How you can help, right now