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Finalists Selected for North Dakota Leopold Conservation Award

BISMARCK, ND – Two finalists have been named for the prestigious 2018 North Dakota 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 North Dakota the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition, North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts and the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association. The recipient will be announced on November 19. 

The finalists are:

Breker Farm: Joe and Patty Breker of Havana were early adopters of no-till farming practices. As a result, they have better soil health for their 3,000 acres of corn, soybeans, and cover crops (radish, turnip, peas, faba bean and flax). The Brekers opened Coteau des Prairies, a lodge and eco-tourism learning experience that invites guests to see their farm’s conservation stewardship firsthand.  

Wilson Farm: Jeremy and Sarah Wilson of Jamestown have used cover crops since 2003 to add diversity to their cropping system and facilitate no-till farming. They’ve demonstrated the effectiveness of cover crops and no-till systems on working land once in the Conservation Reserve Program. The Wilsons, who created a Heritage Room in their home to teach guests about conservation, are also active social media ‘agvocates.’

“The Stockmen’s Association is proud to salute these hardworking farmers and ranchers who have demonstrated excellence in their conservation and stewardship practices,” said Warren Zenker, North Dakota Stockmen’s Association President, a rancher from Gackle.

“We are proud to be part of the unique coalition that brought the Leopold Conservation Award to North Dakota,” said Brian Johnston, North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts Executive Director and CEO. “This prestigious award recognizes North Dakota’s best land stewards. We look forward to this year’s recipient being announced at our convention on November 19.”

“The North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition is honored to present these highly-qualified finalists for the prestigious North Dakota Leopold Conservation Award. Each of these finalists has shown outstanding achievement in implementation of voluntary conservation, inspiration of other landowners by example, and outreach on the role public landowners play in conservation,” said Chad Njos, North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition President. 

The 2017 recipient was Miller Ranch of Fort Rice.  

The Leopold Conservation Award in North Dakota is made possible thanks to the generous contributions from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Starion Financial, North Dakota Game & Fish Department, APEX Clean Energy, Audubon, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Cow Chip Ranch, Dakota Community Bank and Trust, Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, KEM Electric Cooperative, The Nature Conservancy, North Dakota Department of Health, North Dakota Natural Resources Trust, Roughrider Electric Cooperative, Slope Electric Cooperative, The Wildlife Society North Dakota, and World Wildlife Fund.

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 on the award, visit

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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 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.

NORTH DAKOTA GRAZING LANDS COALITION is a non-profit organization that believes through voluntary actions, respect for private property rights, and providing education on the values and multiple benefits of well managed grazing resources, the goals of promoting the health and sustainability of North Dakota's grazing lands are achievable.

NORTH DAKOTA STOCKMEN’S ASSOCIATION is an 87-year-old non-profit trade organization representing North Dakota’s cattlemen and cattlewomen.

NORTH DAKOTA ASSOCIATION OF SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICTS seeks to further the widespread application of sound and practical soil and water conservation practices in North Dakota. Our goal is to provide quality membership services and nursery products to carry out the soil conservation program of the soil conservation districts of North Dakota.