Our focus is the conservation of Florida’s ranchlands and other working lands. We advocate, educate, and act as a resource on land protection and other conservation programs for protecting our wildlife and water. We are comprised of ranchers, conservation and policy experts, and scientists to ensure science-based land protection. The protection of Florida’s ranchlands and other working lands are vital to Florida achieving its conservation goals.

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Myakka’s Jim Strickland named Sustainable Rancher of the Year by Audubon Florida.


By Pam Eubanks, Senior Editor, YourObserver.com Wearing his cowboy hat, cattle rancher Jim Strickland rolled through pastureland on the 4,500-acre Blackbeard’s Ranch in eastern Manatee County in his pickup truck.He nodded toward the window. About 50 feet away, deer walked along the tree line, barely noticing the truck had stopped. On the other side of a fence, another deer bounded across the open field. “Look at that,” he said, smiling. “A good cattle ranch is conducive to a great wildlife base.” Strickland said the property is also home to panthers, gopher tortoises and up to 170 species of birds. The variety of grasses, plants and wetlands work together to create a diverse, food-rich environment. Strickland, a lifelong Manatee County resident and managing partner of Blackbeard’s Ranch, is working to preserve nature. In 2018, the National Resources Conservation Service, an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, purchased a “wetland reserve easement” on about one-third of the Blackbeard property for $3.9 million. It guarantees the land will be saved from development.
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Land Conservation Funding Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP)

FDACS Legislative Budget Request: $32.6 million Florida Conservation Group Request: $32.6 Million Federal funds can match the $32.6 Million budget request by Florida Department of Agriculture and essentially double the budget request.   • The Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP) is an agricultural easement program through the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Florida Forest Service; it is designed to protect important agricultural lands through the acquisition of permanent land conservation easements; • There are currently 237,000 acres of land on the Tier 1 RFLPP List and about 373,000 acres on all Tiers – land that is in...

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