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Public policy shapes almost everything about the ownership and management of our working landscapes. From local land-use codes to state wildlife management to federal environmental regulations and farm subsidies to international trade agreements, policy decisions ultimately define our options and our future. As primary stakeholders with deep personal and financial investments in the land, we founded Western Landowners Alliance to ensure that landowners have a direct voice in the policy matters that impact us. We work to ensure that public policies support sustainable stewardship and conservation of the lands and the natural resources in our care.

Policy Updates

How the COVID-19 relief package can help western landowners

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes specific provisions for critical sectors of the economy, with particular assistance for agricultural businesses and land managers. In the following, we lay out these provisions and, where appropriate, how to avail yourself of them.

NRCS and the 2018 Farm Bill: What’s New

When a new farm bill comes out, there is often a sinking feeling that it’s going to be a lot to swallow and maybe not all of it will be great tasting. Will the same programs be available? And if so, what will be different about them, if anything? What exactly are the programs again?

5 Things We are Grateful for this Thanksgiving

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’re taking a moment to express our gratitude to some of the things that make our lives as land stewards so rewarding. Landowners and managers have a lot to be thankful for in the West.

WLA Participates in Wyoming Governor’s Migration Corridor Advisory Committee

Western Landowners Alliance (WLA) board member and Wyoming rancher Marissa Taylor and WLA’s policy director Jessica Crowder spent June 8th and 9th participating in Governor Gordon’s Migration Advisory Committee (Committee)…

May 2019: Western Landowners Alliance visits Washington D.C.

Last week, several of our members and staff had the opportunity to visit with Congressional staff, federal agencies and national partners in Washington, D.C. This trip was an opportunity to…

New Mexico advances work to secure state’s natural resources and agricultural heritage

Abundant, clean water and healthy soils are critical to New Mexico’s future. New Mexico Senate Bill 454 — The New Mexico Agricultural and Natural Resources Trust Fund Act — proposed…

USDA Conservation Stewardship Program: Applications accepted through May 10

  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for its Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) through May 10, 2019. The CSP is a working lands program that helps…

Senate Passes the Natural Resources Management Act

On Tuesday, February 12, the Senate easily passed S47, the Natural Resources Management Act. This large public lands management and conservation package now moves to the House for their consideration.…

Proposed Trust Fund is an Investment in New Mexico’s Future

The New Mexico Agricultural and Natural Resources Trust Fund (NM SB 454), sponsored by Senator Steven Neville of Aztec, New Mexico, seeks to establish an endowment fund to be used…

House Bill 332: New Mexico Rural Heritage Act

Overview New Mexico House Bill 332, The Rural Heritage Act, keeps land ownership affordable for New Mexico’s families; secures land, water and other natural resources for the future; and contributes…

Farm Bill: Wins for Working Lands and Conservation!

For the past three years, Western Landowners Alliance has worked hard and in collaboration with a variety of partners to ensure strong support in the 2018 Farm Bill for working…

2014 Farm Bill Expires: what does it mean and what’s next?

After more than a year of work by those most interested in passing an on-time Farm Bill – farmers, ranchers and advocacy groups interested in sustainable agriculture, conservation and forestry…

Calls to Action

1. The Farm Bill Send an email to House Ag Committee Leadership The House and the Senate have both passed their version of the 2018 Farm Bill. A conference committee…

WLA attends the Western Association of State Departments of Agriculture summer meeting

  In early August, WLA Executive Director Lesli Allison and WLA Policy Director Jessica Crowder attended the Western Association of State Departments of Agriculture (WASDA) summer meeting in Salt Lake…

WLA Policy Call: Potential changes to NEPA regulations

Calling on all WLA members! Monday, August 13th  |  10:00 AM MT The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking related to the National…

The Endangered Species Act: WLA Weighs In

On July 2, Senator John Barrasso (R) of Wyoming released draft legislation that would amend the ESA. Several items from this initial draft caught our attention. Here’s a short summary…

July 2018 Farm Bill Update

Farm Bill programs are an important tool for landowners. These programs serve to assist landowners in implementing a wide variety of conservation practices that sustain working lands, rural economies, wildlife…

WLA attends CA Rangeland Conservation Coalition Annual Summit

On January 16 and 17, WLA participated in the California Rangelands Conservation Coalition annual meeting in Stockton, CA. Meeting attendees sat for presentations from landowners, producers, government officials and other…

WLA Reports Back: Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition Annual Meeting

On December 5, 6 and 7, our policy director, Grant Colvin, represented WLA at the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition (RVCC) annual meeting in Troutdale, Oregon to discuss a range…
Meeting on sage-grouse conservation

WLA hosts meeting on sage-grouse conservation

The collective efforts of government, private industry, and the nonprofit sector to conserve the greater sage-grouse across 11 Western States—CO, WY, UT, MT, NV, ID, CA, ND, SD, OR and…
Federal and state forest policy work

Update on WLA’s federal and state forest policy work

Nearly 8 million acres across western states have burned in 2017, highlighting yet again the urgent need for lawmakers across the West and in Washington, D.C. to push for smart…
Western-Water-Threatened-by-Wildfire-Cover

Western Water Threatened by Wildfire: It’s Not Just a Public Lands Issue

A report by the American Forest Foundation, highlights the important role states can play in empowering private landowners to protect forested headwaters that supply millions of Westerners with clean water,…

Principles for State Water Planning

Many states, including Colorado, New Mexico, and Montana, are implementing statewide Water Planning. WLA drafted and adopted these principles for use by landowners who are engaging in these planning processes…

Restoring America’s Rural Economies, Land and Wildlife

WLA’s work is led and informed by experienced landowners and managers who have a vested stake in both the economic and environmental well being of the West’s great landscapes and…
Toward-a-Healthy-and-Productive-West-policy

Toward a Healthy and Productive West

Five common sense principles endorsed by more than 130 organizations light the path to a better West.

Farm Bill programs cultivate healthy forests in Colorado

Check out the new ColoradoBiz op-ed Farm Bill programs cultivate healthy forests in Colorado by WLA’s ED Lesli Allison on the importance of supporting investment in stewardship of healthy forests and watersheds…
WLA 2017 Policy Agenda

WLA 2017 Policy Agenda

A brief overview of WLA’s 2017 policy agenda

USDA Partners with Farmers and Ranchers to Protect More Than 500,000 Acres of Working Grasslands

Nov. 30, 2016 – Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Taylor today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will accept more than 504,000 acres that…

USDA Expands Working-Lands Conservation Opportunities through CRP

Nov. 4, 2016 – Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Taylor today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will offer a new Conservation Reserve Program…

USDA Announces McLarty Capital Partners Rural Investment Fund

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the launch of a new private investment fund with the potential to inject $100 million into growth-oriented,…

USDA, Partners Unveil Sage Grouse Management Map

“The USDA’s NRCS is offering people across the West a handy new tool to help them understand and visualize sage grouse territory. Partnering with the University of Montana and other…

How Conservationists Could Have Prevented the Oregon Standoff

TIME.COM, Feb. 4, 2016 – Conservationists and landowners must work together. It didn’t have to happen. One dead, eight in jail, hundreds of thousands of dollars gone to waste—and the root…

USDA to Invest $150 Million through Conservation Stewardship Program to Help Improve Working Lands

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that $150 million in funding is available for agricultural producers through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), USDA’s largest conservation…

Most of the U.S. Rented Farmland is Owned by Non-Farmers

  WASHINGTON, Aug 31, 2015 –Agricultural producers rented and farmed 353.8 million acres of farmland, according to the results of the 2014 Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL)…

USDA Unveils New Strategy to Conserve Sage Grouse Habitat on Private Lands

Department to Invest Additional $211 Million to Help Ranchers Adopt Proven Conservation Methods PORTLAND, Ore., August 27, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a four-year strategy that will…

USDA Expands Farm Safety Net, Offers Greater Flexibility for Beginning, Organic and Fruit and Vegetable Growers

Whole Farm Coverage Now Available in Every County Across the Nation WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2015 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced that Whole-Farm Revenue Protection insurance will be…

USDA Announces Conservation Incentives for Working Grass, Range and Pasture Lands

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that beginning Sept. 1, farmers and ranchers can apply for financial assistance to help conserve working grasslands, rangeland and…

USDA Energy Biomass Retrieval Incentives to Begin June 30

06/29/2015 01:46 PM EDT Owners of Forestry and Farm Residues Can Apply for Biomass Crop Assistance Program WASHINGTON, June 29, 2015 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency…

Webinar to Assist Potential Applicants for Conservation Funding

Regional Conservation Partnership Program to make $235 Million Available to Partners WASHINGTON, June 2, 2015 – An upcoming webinar on the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) will help potential applicants…

New USDA Portal Enables Farmers, Ranchers to Request Conservation Assistance Online

Washington, D.C. May 27, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners can now do business with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources…

USDA to Expand Investment in Water Conservation, Resilience across Drought-Stricken States

Targeted drought funding builds on substantial drought relief efforts WASHINGTON, May 18, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest approximately…

USDA Announces $235 Million Available for Innovative New Conservation Partnerships

Local Coalitions Can Now Apply for Funding to Improve Soil Health, Preserve Clean Water, Combat Drought, Protect Wildlife Habitat DENVER, Colo., May 4, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced…

USDA’s Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture & Forestry – Fact Sheet

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is announcing a comprehensive and detailed approach to support farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners in their response to climate change. The framework consists…

USDA Report Demonstrates Positive Impact of $300 Million Investment in Sage-grouse Conservation

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2015 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today issued a report showing that since 2010 USDA and its partners in the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI)…

USDA Invests $18 Million to Train Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

New Orleans, LA – Feb. 2, 2015 – Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden (USDA) announced more than $18 million in grants to educate, mentor, and enhance…

USDA Seeks Public Comment on New Environmental Quality Incentives Program Rule

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is publishing a rule that outlines how it will improve the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), one of USDA’s largest…

USDA Announces Measures to Help Farmers Diversify Weed Control Efforts

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2014 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced several steps that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking to address the increase of herbicide resistant weeds…

USDA Expands Access to Credit to Help More Beginning and Family Farmers

Changes Increase Eligibility and Financing Options for Hard Working Families WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2014 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will…

USDA Partners with States, Tribes to Improve Public Access on Private Lands

USDA announces $20 million in grants to protect wildlife, enhance outdoor recreation and create rural business opportunities WASHINGTON, August 7, 2014—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that the Department of…

USDA Extends Deadline for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program

07/31/2014 02:24 PM EDT WASHINGTON, July 31, 2014 — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced today that the enrollment deadline for the…

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces Progress on 2014 Farm Bill Implementation

Significant Action Taken on All Bill Titles in First Eight Weeks Since Enactment   WASHINGTON, April 3, 2014— Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced significant progress on implementing the Agricultural…

USDA Announces Efforts to Expand Support for Small and Mid-Sized Farmers and Ranchers

SANTE FE, N.M., March 10, 2014 –Today in remarks at the National Farmers Union National Convention, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new and expanded efforts to connect small- and mid-sized farmers…

USDA, EPA Partnership Supports Water Quality Trading To Benefit Environment, Economy

 December 3, 2013   WASHINGTON – The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced an expanded partnership to support water quality trading and…

Payments for Popular Conservation Program Ready Following Shutdown Delay

Contact: Jody Holzworth (202) 720-3210 WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2013 – Farmers waiting for their Conservation Security or Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) payments should receive them in the coming days. The…

Policy Platform

2017 WLA Policy Flyer

WLA Policy Platform Flyer

As the owners and managers of private and leased public lands throughout the West, we created the Western Landowners Alliance to advance excellence in the stewardship of these resources. This flyer provides a visual overview of our priorities and policy platform.

Restoring America’s Rural Economies, Land and Wildlife

WLA’s work is led and informed by experienced landowners and managers who have a vested stake in both the economic and environmental well being of the West’s great landscapes and rural communities. As a nation, it is essential that we reinvest in the land, natural resources and people that sustain us all. Read WLA’s 2017 policy platform to learn more.

Policy Resources

Forests and Ranges

Forest and Range

WLA brings the experience, values and interests of the best stewards in the West to public policies that affect private and public working forests and rangeland.

Water

Water

WLA provides a direct voice in water resource policy for landowners committed to the conservation and wise management of water, which is critical to the West’s future.

Wildlife

Wildlife

WLA promotes policies that provide flexibility and economic support, enabling landowners to meet the needs of both wildlife and people.

From The Blog

Energy

WLA works to provide landowners a say in designing commonsense policies that ensure healthy lands and robust communities.

Economics

Economics

Robust rural economics are essential to keeping our remaining lands intact and under family ownership.

Energy

Stronger Together

Place-based collaboration is the foundation for successful, enduring stewardship. Together, we are building a healthier and more productive West.

Leadership from the Land

Founded, led and inspired by landowners and practitioners working to create a better West.

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VOICE

Bringing landowner perspectives and stories to bear on major issues shaping the West.

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STEWARDSHIP

WLA’s peer network and shared knowledge base is designed for landowners striving to keep the land whole and healthy.

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POLICY

Advancing pragmatic, common ground solutions that sustain working lands, connected landscapes and native species.

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