Meet your Extension Service: THE LAND STEWARD PROGRAM

What do you do if you just purchased or inherited rural land in Jackson County and aren’t sure what to do with it?  The OSU Extension Land Stewards program is a good place to start…

The Land Steward program is a multi-disciplinary educational experience targeting private rural and urban landowners in Jackson County who want to learn how to better utilize and take care of their land.  The 11-week, ~55 hour field-based course covers local ecology, tree care, fire hazard reduction, biomass utilization, water quality and conservation, noxious weeds, wildlife management, and much more. Each topic is covered by a resource professional, while a host landowner shares on-the-ground experience with management strategies they have utilized. 

Participants are required to create and implement an action plan for their own property that addresses at least one natural resource concern, with technical assistance provided through cooperating local agencies.  Participants also invest at least 20 hours of volunteer time to cultivate public awareness about natural resource issues.  In addition to benefiting owners, the Land Steward program provides significant impacts and public benefit by promoting better stewardship of private land. 

Impacts of the Land Stewards program

What people are saying about
the Land Steward program

The Land Steward program “has given me great confidence that I can competently manage my property and access available resources.”

“With 20 acres and literally no experience, the Land Steward course was a life-saver for me.  The various subject areas touched on every aspect of my farm and I learned immensely from each class and was able to apply it immediately.  There is still much to be done, but I more fully understand how to go about it properly, and more importantly where the resources are and how to contact them to assist me.”

 The Land Steward program “should almost be a requirement for those buying rural acreage…”

  • About 200 have completed Land Steward training, representing 7,000 acres of land.
  • Since completing the training, 90% of respondents
    completed at least one project on-the-ground with the goal of improving environmental quality, while 65% of respondents completed 5 or more conservation-related projects on their property, and 32% completed more than 10 projects. Projects have resulted in improved forest health, reduced
    fire hazard, reduced spread of noxious weeds,
    increased wildlife habitat, soil and water conservation, and other benefits.
  • 83% strongly agreed that as a result of the Land Steward training, participant’s ability to access the information and technical assistance they needed had improved.
  • 304 on-the-ground projects were completed and 226 additional projects planned or initiated as a direct result of the Land Steward training, relating to weed control, fire hazard reduction, tree/forest care, wildlife, pasture, water conservation/irrigation, soil improvement, and organic waste utilization. Examples include “installation of 2,500gal water catchment system”, “reduced fuels on 10 acres”, “eradicated noxious weeds from 3 acre pasture”, “thinned trees 30 ft. from home”, etc.
  • More than 5,600 volunteer hours have been invested to date (>300 per class, special projects, and mentoring), resulting many hundreds of community contacts. Among other projects volunteers design and deliver a Living on the Land conference for continuing education which is attended by more than 100 people each year.
  • Land Steward participants active management of their properties contributes to the local economy through purchase of equipment, fuel, supplies, hiring of contractors, etc. 

The Land Stewards program receives additional financial support from the Grange Coop.  The assistance of this organization is gratefully acknowledged.

Rachel WerlingInterested in learning more?  Contact Program Coordinator; Rachel Werling at 541-776-7371 x211 or


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