About Us

SfL: Creating a Unique Vision

Our Story

Solutions from the Land (SfL) was conceived and led by a cross-sector team of respected agriculture, forestry, conservation, academic and industry leaders, who came together in 2009 based on clean energy discussions facilitated by the 25x’25 Alliance to explore integrated land management solutions to help meet food security, economic development, climate change and conservation of biodiversity goals. Beginning as a dialogue on what the future of agriculture might look like, co-sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International and the Farm Foundation, SfL has evolved into a 501c3 nonprofit operating in eight states, offering national and global advocacy for land-based solutions to world problems.


Read more about our leaders below!

Our Work

Today, SfL continues to build and facilitates state, national, and global initiatives and alliances through which farmers, ranchers, foresters and collaborating partners showcase examples of innovation and proactively advocate for policies, partnerships, investments, and research that will enable agricultural landscapes to deliver near-term, cost-effective, integrated solutions to global mega-challenges: food and energy security; sustainable economic development; and environmental improvement.

Click on a platform to learn more.

Domestic Platform

SfL is currently engaged in a national program of sustainability advocacy by sharing the findings of its established state CSA network and leaders.

Global Platform

SfL farmer envoys are proactively engaging United Nations platforms, events, staff officials and member states advancing our 21st “Agricultural Renaissance” recommendations.

Our Approach:


Enables agriculture leaders

to examine the potential vulnerabilities and opportunities created by changing climatic conditions in ways that are relevant to their daily lives;

Equips producers

with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed decisions and manage new risks under changing conditions;


Inspires & empowers agricultural leaders

to become leaders in the broader discussion of climate smart agriculture (CSA), including adaptation and mitigation strategies; and

Mobilizes thought leaders

to advocate for needed changes in land use practices, research, education, and policy.

SfL puts farmers, ranchers and foresters at the forefront of resolving food system, energy, environmental and climate challenges and achieving global sustainable development goals. SfL Work Groups tackle three objectives simultaneously: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity (including ecosystem services and societal benefits) and incomes; adapting and building resilience; and reducing and removing greenhouse gas emissions.

Our experience building and facilitating a network of climate smart agriculture (CSA) work groups at the state and national level has inspired partnerships with rural sociologists and clearly demonstrated the message: “To effectively engage and mobilize farmers in delivering solutions from the land, we must do so in ways that are relevant to their daily lives.”

Read on to learn more about SfL’s unique portfolio of state, landscape level and global initiatives.



Ernest Shea

Lutherville Maryland USA
Photo of Ernest Shea

Biographical Info

Ernie Shea is the President of Solutions from the Land (SfL), a not-for-profit organization that incubates and supports farmer-led, multi-stakeholder platforms that inspire, educate, and equip agricultural partners to innovate and lead efforts to sustain productivity, enhance climate resilience, and contribute to local and global goals for sustainable development. SfL brings agricultural thought leaders to the forefront of conversations about the food system, the environment and the future.

Shea has over 40 years of experience at the global, national, state and local level where he has designed and facilitated initiatives to enhance the effective functioning and ability of agricultural landscapes to sequester carbon, protect water quality, improve public health, and ensure a growing and resilient food system.
Early in his career, Shea worked for the State of Maryland where he held a number of senior leadership positions including Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Agricultural Development and Resource Conservation with responsibility for soil and water conservation, land preservation, domestic and international marketing and other service-oriented programs designed to strengthen the state’s agricultural industry.

From 1986-2004 Shea served as Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD). As CEO of NACD, Shea represented and facilitated the effective functioning of the association consisting of nearly 3,000 local units of government, 17,000 public officials and 7,000 employees with combined annual budgets exceeding $1billion.

Among his current activities, Shea facilitates the 25x’25 and North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliances and coordinates SfL’s state level climate smart agriculture work program. He serves on the Board of the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology and is involved with the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort focusing on agricultural, conservation and bioenergy projects. He is also the Founder and Principal of Natural Resource Solutions (NRS), LLC, a conservation and natural resource policy and program consultancy.

Ernie and his wife Karen reside in Lutherville, Maryland where he serves on the Board of the Lutherville Community Association. They enjoy sailing and spending time with their three grown children and eight grandchildren.

Categories: Design Team, Florida Climate Smart Agriculture Work Group, Indiana Smart Ag Work Group, Iowa Smart Agriculture Work Group, North America Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance Steering Committee, NRS Staff, Ohio Smart Agriculture Steering Committee, President, Renaissance Report Panel, SfL Board, SfL Founding Leaders


Board of Directors

Farmer Envoys

Senior Advisors

Many thanks to our other founding leaders!

The SfL Network