Hoeme Family Farm and Ranch Receives Kansas Leopold Conservation Award
November 19, 2018
WICHITA, Kan. – Hoeme Family Farm and Ranch of Scott City has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award®.
Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for private conservation, created the Leopold Conservation Award to inspire American landowners by recognizing exceptional farmers, ranchers and foresters. The prestigious award, named in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, is given in 14 states.
In Kansas the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Kansas Association of Conservation Districts, and Ranchland Trust of Kansas.
For more than 40 years the Hoeme family has been on the cutting edge of conservation practices that help their farm’s profitability, soil health, water quality and wildlife habitat. Stacy Hoeme and his son, Chaston, farm about 9,000 acres along the Smoky Hill River, and another 10,000 acres in Scott County.
Hoeme Family Farm and Ranch was revealed as this year’s recipient at the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts’ Annual Convention in Wichita on November 19. The Hoeme family was presented with a $10,000 award and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold.
For decades the Hoemes have used limited tillage and crop rotation to promote soil health and manage water usage. Their land ethic involves strategies that far exceed those suggested by state and federal conservation programs.
The Hoemes developed a cattle grazing program that recognizes that prairies require grazing and rest periods to maintain their natural productivity. The diverse collection of plants on their pastures supports some of the largest known populations and densities of the lesser prairie chicken.
Their land was the focal point of the largest study ever conducted on lesser prairie chickens. It was just one way the family has been supportive of research on the rare bird.
The Hoemes also participated in a large research project that sought to learn why the mule deer was in long-term decline. Separately, when biologists from the Brule Sioux Reservation in South Dakota wanted to re-establish swift foxes on tribal lands, they captured, transported and released about 12 swift foxes from the Hoeme’s land.
The many insights gained on their land have influenced how government, conservation partners, and other landowners manage the landscape for wildlife.
The Hoemes were among western Kansas’ first ranches to fence off ponds to protect water quality and use solar power to pump water for their livestock. They manage many food plots for deer, pheasants, bobwhite quail and migrating song birds. In times of deep snow, the grain left standing may be their only easily accessed food for miles.
A frequent host for a variety of educational tours, the Hoemes have also stepped into political activism for agriculture and wildlife. An additional act of dedication to preserving the fragile, prairie environment found in Kansas is the family’s on-going plan to place their ranch in a conservation easement.
Such efforts are the reasons why Stacy has twice been honored as Conservationist of the Year by the Kansas Wildlife Federation. His land ethic is undeniable. Thousands of acres of perfect prairie as designed by Mother Nature exist due to decades of diligence by the Hoeme family.
“RTK appreciates the vast conservation work the Hoeme family has done and continues to do,” said Cade Rensink, Ranchland Trust of Kansas Board Chair. “We are very excited to be a partner in the annual recognition of top natural resource stewards in Kansas.”
Among the many outstanding Kansas landowners nominated for the award were finalists: Alexander Ranch in Sun City, and Z Bar Ranch in Lake City.
The 2017 recipient was Lazy VJ Farms of Fredonia.
The Leopold Conservation Award in Kansas is made possible thanks to the generous contributions from Ducks Unlimited, ITC Great Plains, Westar Energy, Clean Line Energy Partners, Kansas Forest Service, Kansas Department of Agriculture (Division of Conservation), Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, The Nature Conservancy, and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
For more information on the award, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org.
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THE LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD PROGRAM
The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. Sand County Foundation presents the award in California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION
Sand County Foundation inspires and enables a growing number of private landowners to ethically manage natural resources in their care, so future generations have clean and abundant water, healthy soil to support agriculture and forestry, plentiful habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation. www.sandcountyfoundation.org
KANSAS ASSOCIATION OF CONSERVATION DISTRICTS
The Kansas Association of Conservation Districts is a voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit, incorporated organization composed of members from the conservation districts located throughout Kansas’ 105 counties. Through partnerships with federal, state, and local entities, the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts has brought together groups that share the common goal of wise and efficient conservation practices that protect Kansas’ natural resources. The Kansas Association of Conservation Districts promotes and supports the establishment of programs dedicated to conservation and the organized development of Kansas land, water and related resources. www.kacdnet.org
RANCHLAND TRUST OF KANSAS
The Ranchland Trust of Kansas is a private, non-profit organization founded by members of the Kansas Livestock Association in 2003. The organization was created to provide assistance to ranchers and landowners who desire to conserve their land with conservation easements. Guided by their mission to preserve Kansas’ ranching heritage and open spaces for future generations through the conservation of working landscapes, the Ranchland Trust of Kansas values a commitment to conservation, respect for private landownership, integrity, organizational excellence and collaboration with those who share their values. The Ranchland Trust of Kansas remains an affiliate of the Kansas Livestock Association. www.ranchlandtrustofkansas.org