Sand County Foundation, the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and the South Dakota Grassland Coalition are accepting applications for the $10,000 Leopold Conservation Award, which honors South Dakota landowners who demonstrate responsible stewardship and management of natural resources.
“The past two award recipients, the Doud and Mortenson families, have built a strong tradition of sustainable agriculture, but they aren’t the only families doing exceptional work for natural resources in South Dakota,” said Brent Haglund, president of Sand County Foundation. “We look forward to honoring more innovative farmers and ranchers, like the Douds and Mortensons, who are committed to the enhancement of South Dakota’s landscape.”
Given in honor of Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation, inspires other landowners in their communities through these examples and provides a visible forum where leaders from the agricultural community are recognized as conservation leaders outside of the industry. In his influential book, “A Sand County Almanac” (1949), 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 South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association is proud to be part of the Leopold Conservation Award as one aspect of our work to enhance a profitable business climate for current and future beef producers,” said Jeff Smeenk, president, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association. “Implementation of novel conservation practices is imperative for future generations of farmers and ranchers to meet the food requirements of a growing world population. By recognizing the important role of private landowners as stewards of the resources in our care, we can further encourage conservation and innovation in the production of food and fiber.”
“Support for recognizing land managers that excel in working private lands conservation, through the South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award, continues to increase each year,” said Jim Faulstich, vice-chairman, South Dakota Grassland Coalition. “Now is the time for all of us to seek out and nominate the private land managers who deserve this prestigious award.”
The Leopold Conservation Award in South Dakota is possible thanks to generous contributions from many organizations, including: American State Bank, Daybreak Ranch, Ducks Unlimited, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Millborn Seeds, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Rasmussen Leopold Fund, South Dakota Department of Agriculture, South Dakota’s Conservation Districts, South Dakota Department of Environment & Natural Resources, South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation, South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks, South Dakota Grassland Coalition, South Dakota State University Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy.
For application information, please visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org. Nominations must be postmarked by March 9, 2012 and mailed to SDCA at 215 E. Prospect, Pierre, SD 57501. The 2012 Leopold Conservation Award recipient will be announced at the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association’s Annual Convention in December.
ABOUT THE LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD
The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. The award consists of an Aldo Leopold crystal and a check for $10,000. In 2012, Sand County Foundation will present Leopold Conservation Awards in California, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
ABOUT SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION
Sand County Foundation (www.sandcounty.net) is a private, non-profit conservation group dedicated to working with private landowners to improve habitat on their land. Sand County’s mission is to advance the use of ethical and scientifically sound land management practices and partnerships for the benefit of people and their rural landscapes. Sand County Foundation works with private landowners because the majority of the nation’s fish, wildlife, and natural resources are found on private lands. The organization backs local champions, invests in civil society and places incentives before regulation to create solutions that endure and grow. The organization encourages the exercise of private responsibility in the pursuit of improved land health as an essential alternative to many of the commonly used strategies in modern conservation.
ABOUT THE SOUTH DAKOTA CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION
The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association (www.sdcattlemen.org) is a member-driven organization working to advance and protect the interests of all cattlemen. SDCA works to facilitate a profitable business climate and promote environmental stewardship.
ABOUT THE SOUTH DAKOTA GRASSLAND COALITION
The South Dakota Grassland Coalition (www.sdgrass.org) is a non- profit organization that seeks the voluntary improvement of grasslands for the long-term needs of the resource and its various species. The SD Grassland Coalition is dedicated to improving and maintaining the State’s grasslands by informing and guiding grassland managers to make cost-effective and environmentally sound management decisions.