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Finalists Selected for 2018 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award

WICHITA, KS– Three finalists have been named for the prestigious 2018 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award®.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes those who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land.   

In Kansas the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County FoundationKansas Association of Conservation Districts and the Ranchland Trust of Kansas

The finalists are:

  • Alexander Ranch in Sun City. Ted and Brian Alexander own a 7,000-acre ranch in the Red Hills. The ranch has thrived by using a managed-intensiverotational grazing system..The Alexanders have transformed their ranch’s landscape by clearing invasive Eastern Red Cedar trees. In the process they are increasing native plant and wildlife diversity, including restored habitat for lesser prairie chickens.
  • Hoeme Family Farm and Ranch in Scott City. Stacy Hoeme and his son, Chaston, farm about 10,000 tillable acres and own and operate a 9,000-acre native grass ranch. They have long been on the cutting edge of land-friendly farming practices that help their profits as well as wildlife and the environment. Their beef cattle are rotationally grazed on land that also serves as habitat for lesser prairie chickens. 
  • Z Bar Ranch in Lake City. Managed by Keith and Eva Yearout and owned by Turner Enterprises, this ranch of more than 42,000 acres was purchased for bison production and natural resource conservation in 2000. Z Bar Ranch is managed under a philosophy of economic sustainability and ecological sensitivity with a focus on native species and their habitats. The ranch raises grass forage to sustain a 1,200 head bison herd. 

The Kansas Leopold Conservation Award will be presented at the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts’ Annual Convention in Wichita on November 19. The award recipient will receive $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold. 

“Kansas Association of Conservation Districts is excited to recognize these outstanding landowners who are committed to conservation on their land,” said Dan Meyerhoff, KACD Executive Director. “We are proud to partner with Sand County Foundation and the Ranchland Trust of Kansas to give these families the recognition they deserve." 

“The Ranchland Trust of Kansas would like to congratulate this year’s finalists for the 2018 Leopold Award. Sharing their stewardship successes is critical to spreading the word about how sound conservation practices are good for business,” said Cade Rensink, RTK Chairman.

The 2017 recipient was Lazy VJ Farms of Fredonia. 

The Leopold Conservation Award in Kansas is made possible thanks to the generous support of 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, USDA NRCS Kansas, and The Nature Conservancy. 

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.” 

Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for conservation of private land, presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 14 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. For more information, visit  

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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, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 


Sand County Foundation 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.


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.


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.

856 Rebecca Farha

Photo by Rebecca Farha