Leopold award finalists announced
Sand County Foundation, in partnership with the North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition, North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts and the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, is proud to announce the finalists for the first annual North Dakota Leopold Conservation Award®, which honors North Dakota landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.
The finalists are:
Jeremy and Sarah Wilson, who own and manage Wilson Farm in Jamestown. The Wilson Farm has been no-till for 16 years. Their soil management system was developed to model how native prairie would function with a diverse group of plants, growing with minimal soil disturbance throughout the year.
The Doan family, who own and manage Black Leg Ranch in Sterling. Their infrastructure projects have allowed for an intensive grazing system with high animal impact and short duration grazing. Mimicking the bison grazing that occurred on the land many years ago, the grazing system stimulates plant diversity and ecosystem health.
Ken and Bonnie Miller, who own and manage Miller Ranch in Fort Rice. The Millers use low disturbance planting methods, cover crops and managed livestock grazing to create cropland soil that thrives on minimum inputs. Miller Ranch frequently hosts educational outreach events, and Ken has travelled around the world to share his experience with others.
Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. It inspires other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders. In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”
The inaugural award will be presented on November 21 at the North Dakota Association of Soil and Conservation Districts convention. The award recipient will receive $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold.
"The North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition is excited to be a part of bringing the Leopold Conservation Award to North Dakota,” said Joshua Dukart, Executive Director, North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition. “We believe the inaugural finalists represent a positive and passionate land ethic and truly exemplify the diversity of agriculture in North Dakota."
“The North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts is proud to be a part of a unique partnership dedicated to bringing the Leopold Conservation Award to North Dakota,” said Brian Johnston, NDASCD. “NDASCD is excited to use our annual convention as the platform to award the winner of this prestigious award. We are proud to be a part of honoring our state’s best stewards of the land.”
The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association congratulates the finalists for the 2016 North Dakota Leopold Conservation Award,” said Warren Zenker, North Dakota Stockmen’s Association President. “The NDSA is proud to recognize the finalists for their continued dedication to the stewardship of their land and livestock. We are proud to be part of the North Dakota Leopold Conservation Award and to provide recognition to worthy landowners across the state."