Four Finalists Selected for Maryland Leopold Conservation Award
October 18, 2021
Four finalists have been selected for the 2021 Maryland Leopold Conservation Award®.
Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the prestigious award recognizes farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water, and wildlife habitat management on private, working lands.
In Maryland, the Leopold Conservation Award is presented by Sand County Foundation with state partners Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, Maryland Association of Conservation Districts, and Maryland Farm Bureau Inc. Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award in 23 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation.
The finalists are:
- Ordinary Point Farm of Earleville in Cecil County: Frances Bayard’s grain farm along the Chesapeake Bay utilizes cover crops, precision agriculture technology, grassed waterways, crop rotations, and no-till practices to promote soil health and water quality. These conservation practices reduce inputs while maximizing yield. Woodlands and restored shoreline along the Sassafras River provide wildlife habitat.
- Persimmon Tree Farm of Westminster in Carroll County: At Carolyn Krome’s horse farm, pastures are managed to avoid erosion and over-grazing. Warm season grasses are kept vibrant with prescribed burns. Restored wetlands and streambanks provide wildlife habitat. Five acres of wildflowers are regularly weeded and maintained to attract insect pollinators. Krome has created a showcase for how horse farms can embrace conservation.
- Rich Levels Grain, Inc. of Galena in Cecil and Kent counties: Twin brothers Allen and Olin Davis are grain and poultry farmers who were early adopters of cover crops. To reduced erosion and compaction, they used aerial planting of cover crops into a double crop soybean system. They’ve also demonstrated the benefits of energy-efficient grain dryers, and adapted to meet stringent rules for managing flock health, and raising birds without antibiotics.
- Persistence Creek Farm of Faulkner in Charles County: Kevin Warring implements a range of conservation practices at a farm that produces grain, seafood and timber. Riparian buffers were installed to capture nutrients from crop fields, improve water quality and provide nesting habitat for wildlife. Other improvements include planting monarch habitat, tree and shrub plantings, streambank stabilization, and cover crops planted on all fields.
Earlier this year, Maryland landowners were encouraged to apply (or be nominated) for the award. Applications were reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation leaders. The award recipient will be recognized at the Maryland Farm Bureau Annual Convention later this year.
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.
“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.”
“As the national sponsor for Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award, American Farmland Trust celebrates the hard work and dedication of the Maryland award finalists,” said John Piotti, AFT President and Chief Executive Officer. “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 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.
The Maryland Leopold Conservation Award is made possible through the generous support of American Farmland Trust, Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, Sand County Foundation, Maryland Farm Bureau Inc., Maryland Association of Conservation Districts, Maryland Department of Agriculture, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Delmarva Chicken Association, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake Conservancy, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, ShoreRivers, and The Nature Conservancy.
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LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD PROGRAM is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. Sand County Foundation presents the award in California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, 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). www.leopoldconservationaward.org
THE KEITH CAMPBELL FOUNDATION FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
The Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment’s mission in the Chesapeake Bay Region is to improve water quality and ecological balance in the Bay and its rivers, as a healthy bay fosters a vibrant regional economy and provides exceptional recreational opportunities and a better quality of life. The Foundation provides approximately $7 million in funding through more than 150 grants annually, and has been funding in the region since 1998. www.campbellfoundation.org
MARYLAND FARM BUREAU®, INC. is a 501(c)(5) federation that serves as the united voice of Maryland farm families. Our organizational strength comes from the active participation of over 12,000 individual and family members who belong to the state’s 23 local county Farm Bureau organizations. Since 1915, Maryland Farm Bureau has been committed to protecting and growing agriculture and preserving rural life. Maryland Farm Bureau is a proud member of the American Farm Bureau® Federation. www.mdfarmbureau.com
MARYLAND ASSOCIATION OF SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICTS serves as the voice of Maryland’s 24 soil and water conservation districts on state legislative issues. It also provides a forum for training, policy-making and the exchange of information at their annual and quarterly gatherings. Its mission is to promote practical and effective soil, water, and related natural resources programs to all citizens through individual conservation districts on a voluntary bases through leadership, education, cooperation and local direction.
SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION inspires and empowers 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
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. www.farmland.org