Project ID



The Private Conservation Initiative (PCI) is a relatively new tactic to encourage landowners and their tenants to consider changing or adding to their conservation toolbox. This project took a closer look at the availability, mechanics, and potential effects of PCIs in Iowa.

Key Question

If private conservation initiatives expand to help put more conservation on Iowa farmland, what do farmers need to know in order to capitalize on opportunities and minimize any risks to participating?


The project leaders identified a series of decision points for farmers when entering agreements with private conservation providers. The project also identified both costs and benefits for farmers to consider. The implications of PCI regarding federal farm conservation programs will be particularly important as Congress develops the 2018 Farm Bill.

Principal Investigator(s)

Neil Hamilton

Principal Investigator(s) Bio

Neil D. Hamilton is the Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law and Director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa. He has directed the center since 1983 and helped establish its national and international reputation for excellence in research, education and public extension on food policy, agricultural land and rural development. He is past president of the American Agricultural Law Association and has authored several books. Hamilton has a B.S. in forestry and economics from Iowa State University; and a J.D. from the University of Iowa. He and his wife own Sunstead Farm near Waukee, Iowa, and raise produce and flowers for local restaurants.


Matt Russell

Year of Grant Completion