Work With Farmers to Build Climate Resistance

Ecolution reporting made possible by Seward Co-op, which has been a community-owned grocer since 1972: Together, we continue to cultivate a cooperative economy.

Amanda Koehler, organizer of the Soil Health and Climate Policy Campaign for Land Stewardship Project

Farmers are uniquely positioned to both mitigate and build community resilience from the climate crisis, and are on the front lines of managing extreme weather events, emerging pests and disease, degrading topsoil, altered planting and harvesting timing, dwindling pollinator populations, and more.

Thousands of farmers are weathering financial crisis, industry consolidation, and insufficient processing, markets, and land access. Then there are the skyrocketing costs of rural healthcare, economic and health impacts of the pandemic, and the always increasing cost of living.

When people are free from these barriers, creativity and innovation on the land flourish.


Hundreds of Land Stewardship Project (LSP) members came together in 2020 to reimagine how our farm and food systems work. The message became clear: we need landscape-scale change. Regardless of our zip code, vocation, class, race, and gender, our future and health depends on our farms and food ecosystem.

LSP members are organizing to win large-scale investments to achieve 100 percent soil-healthy farming in Minnesota. What does this mean? Setting goals of:

  • 50 percent of Minnesota farmers employing soil-healthy practices by 2030,
  • 100 percent of Minnesota farmers employing soil-healthy practices by 2035,
  • 100 percent of tillable and grazable acres employing soil-healthy practices by 2040.

How will we reach these goals? By providing accessible up-front grants and ongoing payments so that farmers have the resources and incentives they need to try new practices. Soil-healthy practices are profitable for farmers from day one, leading farmers to stick with soil-healthy practices long-term.

Legislative Need

The idea: Farmers will receive ongoing payments based on cost of implementation and ecosystem services provided. Practices include managed rotational grazing, perennial cropping, cover cropping, and no-till. If a farmer also is applying farm-generated compost, uses diverse rotations, or is authentically organic, payments per acre will increase.

LSP’s “Incentivizing 100% Soil Healthy Farming Bill,” which was developed by a team of farmer, rural, and urban members, will be introduced in the Minnesota legislature in January.

We need your help to transform the landscape. Our bill will:

  • Set a state-wide goal for 100 percent soil-healthy farming.
  • Launch new soil-healthy practices by providing farmers with accessible up-front grants that can be used on fencing for managed rotational grazing, seed, equipment, and other needs.
  • Sustain soil-healthy practices by providing farmers with up to five years on ongoing direct payments.
  • Prioritize grants and payments for Black, brown and Indigenous farmers, women farmers, and small and mid-sized farmers as a step toward racial, gender, and economic justice.
  • Track how soil health improves over time dependent on practices and geology.
  • Support the sharing and borrowing of equipment between neighbors and from Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

The scale of the solutions we fight for need to match the scale of the challenges we face. We need you with us to adopt this goal and secure the level of investment we need to transform the landscape.

Action Steps

Join Land Stewardship Project. Attend organizing meetings, complete action alerts, and advocate with your elected officials.

Upcoming opportunities:

  • LSP’s 2021 Minnesota Legislative Session Kick-Off on Tuesday, January 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Register here.
  • LSP’s Virtual Lobby Training for Members and Supporters on Tuesday, January 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Register here.

To be added to LSP’s Soil Health and Climate Hotlist, email LSP’s Amanda Koehler at

For more information on the bill, click here.