Emmons Farm Receives 2017 Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award®
November 01, 2017
Oklahoma City, OK - Sand County Foundation, in partnership with the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation, ITC Holdings Corp. and The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, is proud to announce Emmons Farm as the recipient for the inaugural Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award®, which honors Oklahoma landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.
Emmons Farm is owned and managed by Jimmy Emmons and his family. The farm was converted to no-till in 1995, and Jimmy later went a few steps further and adopted crop rotations, cover crops and planned grazing management to decrease soil erosion from water and wind, and increase water infiltration of the soil. In addition to conventional soil testing, Jimmy uses specialized soil and plant tissue testing to determine soil fertility. This helps him reduce fertilizer application rates by crediting the system for nutrients supplied by soil microbes.
Jimmy was one of the first farmers in his area to experiment with pollinator strips and companion crops. Both have helped create habitat for beneficial insects, which help control crop pests without the need for additional insecticide. Although his initial experimental plots had slightly less yield than average for the area, his net profit was greater since the yield decrease and cover crop costs were less than what the insecticide expense would have been.
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 $10,000 award, and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold will be presented to the Emmons family on Earth Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
“The Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation is thrilled to celebrate the Emmons family as the first recipients of the Leopold Conservation Award,” said Chris Kidd, Director of Fundraising and Public Relations. “The Emmons embody Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic, and all Oklahomans benefit for their outstanding stewardship.”
“Jimmy and Ginger Emmons puts their passion for conservation to work not only on their operation but also by channeling it into service through leadership and communication,” said Chad Ellis, Noble Research Institute Manager of Industry Relationships and Stewardship. “When I think of the Leopold Conservation Award, I think of people who have a passionate desire to protect, conserve and regenerate our natural resources; when I think of protecting, conserving and regenerating our natural resources in Oklahoma, I think of the Emmons.”
“We are pleased to support Sand County Foundation to bring the Leopold Conservation Award to Oklahoma and congratulate the Emmons Farm on their achievements in landowner stewardship,” said Donna Zalewski, ITC Holdings Corp. Director of Local Government, Community Affairs and Philanthropy.
“On behalf of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), congratulations to Emmons Farms as the first winner of the Leopold Conservation Award in Oklahoma,” said Michael Kelsey, Executive Vice President, OCA. “Emmons Farms is a superb inaugural winner of this prestigious award which recognizes the outstanding stewardship of Oklahoma farmers and ranchers. Their story will give great confidence to Oklahomans that farmers and ranchers as private landowners are doing important and wonderful work every day. Congratulations Emmons Farm!”
The Leopold Conservation Award in Oklahoma is made possible thanks to the generous contributions from the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation, ITC Holdings Corp., and Noble Research Institute.
ABOUT THE LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD
The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. The award consists of $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold. Sand County Foundation presents Leopold Conservation Awards in California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.
ABOUT SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION
Sand County Foundation (www.sandcountyfoundation.org) is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to working with private landowners across North America to advance ethical and scientifically sound land management practices that benefit the environment.
NOBLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE, LLC
Noble Research Institute, LLC (www.noble.org) is an independent nonprofit agricultural research organization dedicated to delivering solutions to great agricultural challenges. Headquartered in Ardmore, Oklahoma, the Noble Research Institute conducts fundamental, translational and applied research; offers no-cost consultation and education to farmers, ranchers and land managers; operates seven research and demonstration farms; and educates students of all ages about science and agriculture. The Noble Research Institute was founded by Lloyd Noble, an Oklahoma oilman and philanthropist, in 1945 as The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation to advance agriculture and land stewardship.
OKLAHOMA CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION
The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (www.okcattlemen.org) represents the interests of Oklahoma's cattlemen at the Oklahoma Legislature. The OCA has continued an aggressive course of action supporting proactive legislation and challenging anti-industry legislation and regulations. The OCA exists to support and defend the state and nation's beef cattle industry.
THE OKLAHOMA FARMING AND RANCHING FOUNDATION
The Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation (www.okfarmingandranchingfoundation.org), is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit committed to educating citizens of all ages on the importance of production agriculture and its impact on everyday life. From promoting and assisting beginning farmers and ranchers to educating youth interested in agricultural pursuits, the foundation creates agricultural awareness.
ABOUT ITC HOLDINGS COPP.
ITC is the largest independent electricity transmission company in the United States. Based in Novi, Michigan, ITC invests in the electric transmission grid to improve reliability, expand access to markets, allow new generating resources to interconnect to its transmission systems and lower the overall cost of delivered energy. Through its regulated operating subsidiaries ITCTransmission, Michigan Electric Transmission Company, ITC Midwest and ITC Great Plains, ITC owns and operates high-voltage transmission infrastructure in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, and in development in Wisconsin. These systems serve a combined peak load exceeding 26,000 megawatts along approximately 15,800 circuit miles of transmission line, supported by 660 employees and nearly 1,000 contractors across our expanding footprint. ITC’s grid development focus includes growth through regulated infrastructure investment as well as domestic and international expansion through merchant and other commercial development opportunities. For further information visit www.itc-holdings.com. ITC is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. For further information visit www.fortisinc.com.