From neighborhood parks and community gardens to vast mountains, forests and working family farms and ranches, land trusts conserve the places we need and love by partnering with willing landowners across the country who wish to permanently protect their land for future generations.

Through our policy agenda, we aim to tackle our society’s most immense challenges — including climate change, the biodiversity crisis, development pressures to meet the demands of an evolving economy, and the need to provide access to land for all and address inequities in conservation — with an elevated rigor and determination that will propel our community to secure, conserve and protect another 60 million acres by the end of 2030 to contribute toward the country’s 30x30 goals.

We are committed to advocating for policies and resources that advance the work of land trusts and enhance land trusts’ access to federal conservation funding by advocating for new funding mechanisms, reducing administrative barriers, advocating for increased staffing levels at federal agencies, and pursuing opportunities for third-party holders to hold easements under new and existing programs.

Conservation funding

Conservation funding programs protect land that offers exceptional public benefits like parks and public lands, productive farms and ranches, healthy watersheds and vital wildlife habitat.

Farm Bill: Lead the charge on reauthorization, rulemaking and implementation

The Farm Bill is the single largest source of federal funding for private land conservation. As a top priority for the Alliance, we will continue to work with our members, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders to strengthen the implementation of 2018 Farm Bill programs. We will also continue to advocate for effective legislation and policies that support land trust community priorities as part of the next Farm Bill.

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Expanding resources: Advocate for robust national and regional funding

Existing national programs such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and regional programs in watersheds across the country such as the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay programs, offer sources of funding critical to land trust work. The Alliance will advocate for sustaining existing programs and explore next-generation conservation funding opportunities that will help our community address threats to voluntary private land conservation.

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Join the Farm Bill working group

The Farm Bill Working Group serves as a forum for discussion and information sharing regarding Farm Bill conservation programs, provides on-the-ground examples and insights on program implementation, and helps formulate Farm Bill policy recommendations in support of land trust community objectives.

Tax issues

State and federal tax policies can play a large role in advancing land conservation.

Sound tax policy: Advocate for tax policies that advance land conservation and inoculate conservation donations and tax credits from harm

Federal tax policies can play a significant role in advancing land conservation by creating tools to help landowners make decisions for the future of their land. The Alliance will develop and advocate for a series of tax proposals designed to strengthen the existing tax code for furthering conservation. At the same time, we will fight to ensure that tools such as those that help landowners transfer land to the next generation remain intact or are strengthened. This includes pursuing legislation that reorients the IRS away from focusing on innocent donor documentation mistakes — often called “foot faults” — that result in the disqualification of truly charitable donations.

Tax shelters: Monitor Integrity Act implementation

The passage in 2022 of the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act was a critical victory for private land conservation. The legislation ended so-called abusive syndicated conservation easement transactions that cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars. The Alliance will continue to remain vigilant of abusive deals while monitoring and providing input on proposed rules and regulations related to the legislation.

Energy and climate solutions

Land trusts can lead the way in addressing the impacts of climate change. Our goal is to promote policies and funding that advance natural climate solutions while supporting the protection, restoration and stewardship of natural and working lands that increase climate resilience.

Natural climate solutions: Drive funding to land trusts to protect resilient lands

Land trusts can lead the way in addressing the impacts of climate change. We aim to promote policies and funding that advance natural climate solutions while supporting the protection, restoration and stewardship of open and working lands that increase climate resilience and sequester carbon. We will educate decision-makers on the role natural climate solutions must play, as well as the numerous co-benefits they provide for clean air and water, healthy soils and wildlife habitat. The Alliance recognizes that proper forest management and responsible grassland management can support these goals.

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Energy siting solutions: Advance conservation-compatible energy infrastructure

The Alliance recognizes that a transition to clean energy is an essential part of meaningfully combating climate change. Increasing pressure to site energy infrastructure — including renewable energy, carbon capture and storage and related transmission projects — on lands with high conservation and agricultural value, however, is putting our community’s land conservation work in jeopardy and undermining climate benefits associated with these lands. We will educate decision-makers on the importance of smart siting of energy infrastructure as guided by regional perspectives and without undermining the essential conservation values the land trust community works hard to protect, while also working with renewable partners and other stakeholders to find solutions that advance conservation and renewable goals.

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