LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD
Aldo Leopold, whose writings and land ownership inspire Sand County Foundation’s devotion to the cause of private landowner conservation leadership, wrote that the landscape of any farm is the owner’s portrait of himself. The Leopold Conservation Awards honor landowners who work ceaselessly to paint beautiful landscapes across our nation.
The Leopold Conservation Awards recognize landowners actively committed to a land ethic. Working with prominent state conservation partners, Sand County Foundation presents the award, which consists of $10,000 and a Leopold crystal, in settings that showcase the landowners’ achievements among their peers.
The Leopold Conservation Award in Nebraska is possible thanks to generous contributions from many organizations, including: Cargill, Farm Credit Services of America, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nebraska Cattlemen Research & Education Foundation, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, Nebraska Land Trust, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, Sandhills Task Force, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and World Wildlife Fund.
2018 Call for Applications
If you, or someone you know, is a Nebraska landowner who is committed to land management practices that increase conservation, we invite your application for the Leopold Conservation Award.
Complete application requirements and specifications can be found here.
2016 Leopold Conservation Award Winners - Plum Thicket Farm
Located on the northern edge of the Nebraska Sandhills is
Plum Thicket Farms, a diverse crop farm and cattle ranch owned and
managed by Rex and Nancy Peterson, and their son Patrick and his wife
The farm sits atop 2,300 acres of carefully managed pasture and
cropland. When the Petersons purchased the property in 1998, they were
cautioned about its vulnerabilities to drought and blizzards. The family
immediately set out to take important steps to make the pastures
drought-resilient, developing water sources, cross fencing implement a
deferred rest rotation grazing system, and planting and fencing
Under Patrick’s leadership, the farm was transformed to no-till to
prevent erosion and improve water retention, despite knowing the crop
yields would initially take a hit. After eleven years, their investment
in no-till management is paying off. Read more...