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Leopold Conservation Award Comes to New Mexico

A prestigious award program that celebrates voluntary conservation by ranchers, farmers and forestland owners is coming to New Mexico.

The Leopold Conservation Award® recognizes landowners who inspire others with their dedication to ethical land, water and wildlife habitat management on agricultural land.

Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 22 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In New Mexico, the award is presented with New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts and Quivira Coalition.

“Recipients of this award are real life examples of conservation-minded agriculture,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer. “These hard-working families are essential to our environment, food system and rural economy.”

The Leopold Conservation Award is given to farmers, ranchers and forestland owners across the U.S. in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold. In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac”, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage.

Applications for the first New Mexico Leopold Conservation Award are now being accepted. Owners of ranch, farm and forestland in New Mexico may apply for the award themselves or be nominated by another party. Applications will be reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation leaders.

The recipient receives a $10,000 award and the conservation success found on their farm, ranch or forest will be featured in a professional video.

The application deadline is May 15, 2021.

The application is found at

The application can be completed online, or emailed to If mailed, applications must be postmarked by May 15, 2021 and mailed to:

Leopold Conservation Award

c/o Quivira Coalition

1413 Second Street, Suite 1

Santa Fe, NM 87505

“The Leopold Conservation Award offers an opportunity to spotlight the work of farmers and ranchers who steward land, water and community. At Quivira Coalition, and as a leading member of the New Mexico Coalition to Enhance Working Lands, we’re excited to partner with the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts and others to celebrate collaborative conservation in New Mexico,” said Sarah Wentzel-Fisher, Quivira Coalition Executive Director.

“As the national sponsor for Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award, American Farmland Trust celebrates the hard work and dedication of farmers, ranchers and forestland owners,” said John Piotti, AFT president and CEO. “At AFT we believe that conservation in agriculture requires a focus on the land, the practices and the people and this award recognizes the integral role of all three.”

The New Mexico Leopold Conservation Award is made possible through the generous support of American Farmland Trust, Sand County Foundation, New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts, Quivira Coalition, Dixon Water Foundation, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services of New Mexico, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, John Duncan and Anita Sarafa, and Holistic Management International.

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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, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont).


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.


American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through its No Farms, No Food message. Since its founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally sound farming practices on millions of additional acres, and supported thousands of farm families.


The New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts’ mission is to facilitate the conservation of natural resources in New Mexico by providing opportunities and quality support to local conservation districts and partners through representation and leadership.


The Quivira Coalition builds soil, biodiversity, and resilience on western working landscapes. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education, innovation, and collaboration.

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