Sustainable agriculture leader Niman Ranch is donating $200,000 to help farmers expand or adopt new sustainable farming practices to protect pollinators, build soil health and preserve water quality.

The farmer and rancher network made the announcement at its 21st Annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner in Des Moines recently.

The funds will help promote both economic success for the farmer and ecological sustainability, including an emphasis on monarch butterfly and other pollinator habitat conservation. Niman Ranch has the goal of building the largest network of independent farmers supporting pollinators.

“Sustainability is a foundational value for Niman Ranch and our network of 740 independent family farmers,” says Chris Oliviero, Niman Ranch’s general manager. “Our farmers have always led the way in using traditional livestock practices that work in concert with nature and support biodiversity. This new infusion of $200,000 will help Niman Ranch farmers adopt new practices that will help build a more resilient future.”

More than 500 gathered in Des Moines, including farmers, chefs, Niman Ranch customers and food and agriculture leaders to hear the announcement honoring the farming community.

The resources will go directly to Niman Ranch farmers, who will have the opportunity to apply for funds to expand sustainable agriculture practices that are relevant for their unique farm and land. “Adopting new sustainable farming practices requires time and money, two things farmers often don’t have to spare. We hope that these funds will provide the stability farmers need to make expanded sustainable farming practices possible,” says Oliviero.