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Montana Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Applicants

Know a Montana rancher, farmer or forestland owner who goes above and beyond in the stewardship and management of natural resources? Nominate them for the 2022 Montana Leopold Conservation Award®.

Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 23 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In Montana, the $10,000 award is presented with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s Rangeland Resources Committee.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes landowners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water, and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac,” Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage.

Nominations may be submitted on behalf of a landowner, or landowners may nominate themselves. The application can be found at www.sandcountyfoundation.org/ApplyLCA.

The application deadline is March 15, 2022. Applications can be emailed to sbarta@mt.gov or postmarked by March 15, 2022, and mailed to:

Leopold Conservation Award

c/o State Coordinator Rangeland Resources Program

Dept. of Natural Resources & Conservation

220 W. Lamme, Suite 1A

Bozeman, MT 59715

Applications are reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation leaders.

“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 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 Leopold Conservation Award is an excellent way to recognize and celebrate the farmers and ranchers who are really making a difference and having such a positive impact on the landscape,” said Amanda Kaster, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Director.

The first Montana Leopold Conservation Award was presented in 2019 to Bill and Dana Milton of Roundup. The 2020 recipients were Craig and Conni French of Malta. Last year’s recipient was Hidden Hollow Hideaway Cattle and Guest Ranch of Townsend.

The Montana Leopold Conservation Award was made possible through the generous support of the American Farmland Trust, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s Rangeland Resources Committee, Sand County Foundation, Sibanye-Stillwater, TC Energy, Northwest Farm Credit Services, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, C Lazy J Livestock, Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, McDonald’s, Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Ranchers Stewardship Alliance, Soil and Water Conservation Society, and World Wildlife Fund.

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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, 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

SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION

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

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

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