Benefits of Participation

Rancher L.H. Webb (right) of Seven Cross Ranch,TX, talks with Out on the Land host, Dr. Larry Butler. Quenna Terry USDA-NRCS photo

Increased ranch sustainability. Regulatory protection. Enduring legacy. Just a few of the benefits of taking part in LPCI.

“Improving this grassland acreage will not only improve livestock performance, but it will also provide prairie-chicken habitat — it’s a win-win… We want to manage it in a way that will ensure its sustainability for the next generation. This land has been in the family for three generations. Our goal is to develop wildlife habitat while operating an economically viable ranch.” — Ranch manager Tom Turner, Kansas

Increased Ranch Sustainability and Profits

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Why take part in LPCI conservation assistance? Our two-page flyer explains the benefits and core conservation practices.

When carefully implemented, LPCI range management practices improve the health of prairie habitat. That’s good for prairie-chickens, and it’s good for a ranch’s bottom line. More robust vegetation means more forage for livestock. Implementing sustainable range practices — like adjusting stock levels, developing a rotation schedule, and removing woody invasives — can result in range that’s not just more productive, but also better able to withstand stressors like periodic drought.

We work one-on-one with each rancher to develop a conservation plan tailored to that ranch’s particular needs, and we provide financial assistance to carry out the voluntary conservation practices called for in the conservation plan.

Protection from ESA Regulation

“Working Lands for Wildlife provides landowners with regulatory assurances that they can continue to make a living on their lands while implementing conservation actions to benefit a declining or listed species and will not be asked to take on additional conservation actions.” — Darren Richardson, NRCS assistant state conservationist, Texas

By enrolling with LPCI, following a sustainable grazing plan, and carrying out other conservation practices to benefit lesser prairie-chickens, you can run your agricultural operation without fear of Endangered Species Act regulation.

Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW), a partnership between NRCS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, provides this predictability assurance. Landowners who participate in WLFW can receive protection from ESA regulation for “incidental take” through July 30, 2040. Participating landowners receive this predictability without any of their individual information being provided to the USFWS. All planning and individual information is protected through the NRCS confidentiality provisions.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides this long-term predictability to encourage landowners to engage in conservation practices beyond short-term EQIP contract periods.

For answers to frequently asked questions about ESA predictability, read the NRCS publication, Working Lands for Wildlife: Lesser Prairie-Chicken.

Leaving a Legacy

“My great-great grandfather homesteaded here and started this place. I’m fifth generation and hopefully we’ll keep continuing on down the line with my children… Our major goal is to be profitable… I don’t see these [LPCI conservation practices] as ‘restrictions.’” — Roy Beally, LPCI-enrolled rancher, Kansas

NRCS has a long history of helping sustain our country’s rural agricultural heritage through trustworthy, confidential collaboration with private landowners. LPCI technical and financial assistance helps the bottom line for ranching operations. That’s an essential ingredient in being able to pass your ranching heritage along to the next generation.

By participating in a voluntary LPCI program, you also become an essential part of conserving our nation’s natural heritage. LPCI’s voluntary conservation practices safeguard not only an icon of the Southern Great Plains — the lesser prairie-chicken — but a diverse community of other prairie plants and wildlife as well.