The state of South Dakota is leading the nation in the Partners for Fish and Wildlife project, a federal conservation program designed to help farmers and ranchers reduce their negative impact on native prairie ecosystems. Conversion of wild grasslands to croplands is a major environmental problem in South Dakota and other prairies states. Under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife program, farmers and ranchers work to preserve habitat on their lands by planting native grasses and creating grazing rotations that minimize ecosystem damage; in exchange, the federal government pays them for fences and grass seed. Last year, some 160 South Dakota ranchers signed up for the project, giving the state the most large-acreage projects in the country, according to the USFS’s Kurt Foreman, who summarized the program as “cows for conservation.”