Conservation Ranching Initiative

Empowering consumers to support bird-friendly land management

Dickcissel Photo: Ellen Nelson/Audubon Photography Awards

The vast majority of Missouri’s original tallgrass prairie has been lost to conversion to other uses. The grasslands that remain---largely dominated by nonnative fescue---have been degraded by a range of factors, including invasive & woody plant encroachment, fragmentation from urbanization, continuous grazing and reliance on chemical herbicides and pesticides---all of which are incompatible with the habitat needs of many grassland birds and other wildlife.

America’s grassland birds have declined more than any other bird group in the continent, some species by as much as 80% in the last 50 years. Because the vast majority of our grassland birds breed on private lands, working with farmers and ranchers is our best hope for conserving them.

Benefits to Birds

To save grassland birds, we’re enlisting and assisting Missouri’s farmers and ranchers—the stewards of our remaining grassland landscapes—in implementing bird-friendly management ranching practices on thousands of acres in some of Missouri’s most important conservation regions. We’re working with them to develop Habitat Management Plans that implement adaptive rotational grazing and other bird conservation practices, such as controlling woody encroachment and native prairie 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 birds and soil health.

Benefits to Consumers

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

Benefits to Ranchers

Beef from Audubon-certified lands garners a premium price 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 beef from Audubon-certified lands supports rural economies and the ranching way of life.

The Power of your Purchase

By purchasing beef and bison sourced from Audubon-certified lands, you can support habitat conservation on farms and ranches in Missouri. We continue to expand opportunities to purchase products bearing the Green Seal, including online with delivery to your door.

Statewide Shipping to Your Door from Audubon-Certified Ranches in Missouri

Prairie Bird Pastures
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Prairie Bird Pastures

Working with Missouri family farmers committed to treating their animals with care while creating healthy native prairies.

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Quality Bison
Conservation Ranching Initiative

Quality Bison

Humanely raising premium, grass-fed bison on native Missouri prairies. Nationwide shipping available with free shipping to most of the Midwest.

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About Conservation Ranching

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How you can help, right now