Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

Nominations and applications are now being accepted for the 2024 Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award®.

The $10,000 award honors farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners who go above and beyond in their management of soil health, water quality and wildlife habitat on working land.

Sand County Foundation and national sponsor, American Farmland Trust, present the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 27 states. In Oklahoma the award is presented with Noble Research Institute, Oklahoma Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, ITC Great Plains, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes landowners who inspire others with their dedication to environmental improvement. In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac,” Leopold called for “a land ethic,” an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage.

Nominations may be submitted on behalf of a landowner, or landowners may apply themselves. The application can be found at www.sandcountyfoundation.org/ApplyLCA.

Applications are reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation leaders from Oklahoma.

The application deadline date is July 12, 2024. Applications must be emailed to award@sandcountyfoundation.org.

The award recipient will be revealed in early 2025 at the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts’ Legislative Evening in Oklahoma City.

The first Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award was presented to Jimmy and Ginger Emmons of Leedey in 2017. Marty Williams of Red Rock received the 2023 award.

The Leopold Conservation Award in Oklahoma is made possible thanks to the generous contributions from American Farmland Trust, Noble Research Institute, ITC Great Plains, Oklahoma Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Sand County Foundation, Emmons Family, McDonald’s, Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, and Oklahoma State University.

“The Leopold Conservation Award is the highest acknowledgement a farmer or rancher can receive,” said Sarah Blaney, Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts Executive Director. “It is an excellent opportunity to highlight the incredible work of Oklahoma’s land stewards.”

“As a national sponsor for Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award, American Farmland Trust celebrates the hard work and dedication of farmers, ranchers and forestland owners,” said John Piotti, AFT President and CEO. “At AFT we believe that conservation in agriculture requires a focus on the land, the practices and the people and this award recognizes the integral role of all three.”

For more information on the award, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org.

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