Land stewardship is a high value for farmers, ranchers and forest owners. Over 90% of the most fertile soils and 90% of land is on the lowest elevations in the United States. These lands are predominantly private lands.
Private landowners hold the key to protecting biodiversity, increasing and improving sustainable agriculture, protecting open spaces, and achieving clean air and water. According to the USDA approximately 56% or 420,000,000 acres of U.S. forest land is privately owned.
For the private landowner, living on, preserving and protecting the land is a practical and basic concept because the private landowner relies on the land to make a living. Thus, good land stewardship is more than an ideal, the stakes for farmers, ranchers and forest owners are too high for them to abuse the land.