News & Publications

Cammack Ranch to Receive South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award

PIERRE – Cammack Ranch of Union Center has been selected to receive the 2018 South Dakota Conservation Award®.

The prestigious award, given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation on private land and management of natural resources by American ranchers, farmers and foresters in 13 states.

In South Dakota, the award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and the South Dakota Grassland Coalition. The award honors South Dakota landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

In conjunction with Earth Day, Governor Dennis Daugaard announced that Cammack Ranch would receive the 2018 award.

Cammack Ranch is owned and operated by State Senator Gary Cammack, and his wife, Amy. They raise beef cattle on 11,000 acres of grazing land in Meade County, where they have implemented rotational grazing practices, constructed windbreaks, and planted more than 30,000 trees. Their improvements have resulted in abundant wildlife, and healthy soil, grasslands and cattle.

“Our belief is that the health of range and the vitality of the wildlife population is a barometer of how well you’ll do in the ranching business,” said Sen. Cammack, a fourth-generation cattle producer.  

The Cammacks, who purchased their first land in 1978, operate Cammack Ranch Supply in Union Center. Their four grown sons all contribute to operation of the ranch.

Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for private conservation, created the Leopold Conservation Award to inspire American landowners by recognizing exceptional ranchers, farmers and foresters.

In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac; Aldo Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage. He wrote it was “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”

Cammack Ranch will be presented with a $10,000 award, and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold during the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association’s Annual Convention in November.

The other finalists for the award were: Center of the Nation Cattle Company of Newell, Johnson Farms of Frankfort, and Blair Brothers Angus Ranch of Vale.

Award applicants were judged based on their demonstration of improved resource conditions, innovation, long-term commitment to stewardship, sustained economic viability, community and civic leadership, and multiple use benefits.

“The Leopold Conservation Award continues to be the premier award focused on acknowledging the role of private landowners in protecting and preserving our natural resources,” said Larry Stomprud, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association President and cow-calf producer from Mud Butte. “The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association is pleased to once again partner with the Sand County Foundation and South Dakota Grassland Coalition to highlight the great work of these South Dakota families and we congratulate the 2018 recipient and finalists.”

“The South Dakota Grassland Coalition is very excited to be a sponsor of the Leopold Conservation Award and even more excited to see another super group of finalists for the 2018 Award. These four multi-generation family operations, again raise the bar with their excellent management of natural resources and leadership in South Dakota agriculture,” said Jim Faulstich, South Dakota Grassland Coalition Chairman.

The Leopold Conservation Award in South Dakota is possible thanks to generous contributions from many organizations, including: South Dakota Department of Environment & Natural Resources Discovery Center, Bad River Ranches, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks, South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation, First Dakota National Bank, South Dakota Grassland Coalition, South Dakota State University College of Ag and Biological Sciences, American Bank and Trust, Belle Fourche River Watershed Partnership, Daybreak Ranch, Ducks Unlimited, Millborn Seeds, Mortenson Family, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Professional Alliance, South Dakota's Conservation Districts, South Dakota Department of Agriculture Resource Conservation & Forestry, The Nature Conservancy Western Dakotas Program, World Wildlife Fund Northern Great Plains, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and South Dakota Pheasants Forever.