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.

North America's grasslands are among the most imperiled ecosystems in the world. America’s grassland birds have declined more than any other bird group in the continent, some species by as much as 80 percent. Because the vast majority breed on private lands, working with ranchers is our best hope for conserving them. Audubon's Conservation Ranching Initiative seeks to enhance biodiversity through our certification, technical assistance, and habitat management on working ranches. 

Benefits to Birds 

To save rangeland birds, we’re enlisting and assisting America’s ranchers—the stewards of our remaining grassland landscapes—in implementing conservation ranching practices on millions acres. 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

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

Benefits to Ranchers

Audubon's certification can add value to meat products 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 meat from Audubon-certified lands supports rural economies and the ranching way of life.

We thank the NRCS USDA for their support.

 

Help Grassland Birds

Buy Meat from Audubon-Certified Lands

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

Ranch Profiles

May Ranch
Conservation Ranching Initiative

May Ranch

An island of grass in a sea of developed land in southeast Colorado.

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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.

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Eagle Ridge Ranch
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Eagle Ridge Ranch

Adapting to drought on an Audubon-certified ranch in Wyoming.

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Restoration

Soil Restoration at Rafter W Ranch

In February of 2022, Conservation Ranching staff helped Rafter W Ranch restore its soil health and drought resilience. See the exciting first-year results and hear from the rancher why they’re important for his land and the wildlife on it in this video

News and Stories

Audubon Issues 100th Bird-Friendly Habitat Certification to Badger Creek Ranch
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Audubon Issues 100th Bird-Friendly Habitat Certification to Badger Creek Ranch

Badger Creek Ranch herd in Colorado is working for birds through Audubon’s Conservation Ranching program.

Colorado’s Houseweart Ranch Earns Bird-Friendly Habitat Certification from Audubon
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Colorado’s Houseweart Ranch Earns Bird-Friendly Habitat Certification from Audubon

Princess Beef herd is working for grassland birds in Audubon Conservation Ranching program

Lesser Prairie-Chicken Now Listed Under the Endangered Species Act
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Lesser Prairie-Chicken Now Listed Under the Endangered Species Act

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision presents an opportunity to protect the bird while bolstering rural economies.

Soil Restoration at Rafter W Ranch
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Soil Restoration at Rafter W Ranch

Enhancing soil health to increase drought resilience.

Habitat Management Assistance for Western Wyoming Ranchers
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Habitat Management Assistance for Western Wyoming Ranchers

Audubon Rockies receives grant to expand Conservation Ranching Initiative.

Eagle Ridge Ranch
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Eagle Ridge Ranch

Adapting to drought on an Audubon-certified ranch in Wyoming.

Birds and Beef: A Symbiotic Relationship
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Birds and Beef: A Symbiotic Relationship

Learn more about Audubon's conservation ranching partnerships in this story from the Western Livestock Journal.

May Ranch 2021 Leopold Conservation Award Video
Conservation Ranching Initiative

May Ranch 2021 Leopold Conservation Award Video

Watch this video about the conservation ethic behind the Audubon-certified May Ranch.

Curlews, Ranching, and Reconsideration
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Curlews, Ranching, and Reconsideration

A Wyoming rancher discusses the surprising benefits of an alternative form of grazing.

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.

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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