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Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

Know an Oklahoma rancher, farmer or forestland owner who goes above and beyond in the care and management of natural resources? Nominate them for the 2021 Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award®.

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 Oklahoma the $10,000 award is presented with Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Noble Research Institute, Oklahoma Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, ITC Great Plains, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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 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. Applications are reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation leaders. The application can be found at www.sandcountyfoundation.org/ApplyLCA.

The application deadline date is August 15, 2021. Applications can be emailed to award@sandcountyfoundation.org. If mailed, applications must be postmarked by August 15, and mailed to:

Leopold Conservation Award

c/o Oklahoma Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture

2501 N. Stiles

Oklahoma City, OK 73105

“The Leopold Conservation Award is the highest acknowledgement a farmer or rancher can receive,” said Sarah Blaney, Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts Executive Director. “It is an excellent opportunity to highlight the incredible work of Oklahoma’s land stewards.”

“As a 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.”

“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 in Oklahoma is made possible thanks to the generous contributions from American Farmland Trust, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Noble Research Institute, Oklahoma Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, ITC Great Plains, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, , Sand County Foundation, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, McDonald’s, Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts.

The recipient will be revealed in early 2022 at the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts’ Legislative Evening in Oklahoma City.

The first Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award was presented to Jimmy and Ginger Emmons of Leedey in 2017. The Victor Ranch of Afton received the 2020 award.

For more information on the award, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org.

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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, 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 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

ITC GREAT PLAINS is a transmission-only utility operating in the Southwest Power Pool region. The company operates approximately 470 circuit miles of transmission lines in Kansas and Oklahoma. ITC Great Plains maintains regional offices in Dodge City, Topeka and Wichita, Kansas, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. ITC Great Plains is a subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp.’ the largest independent electric transmission company in the U.S. For further information, visit www.itc-holdings.com. ITC is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry.

NOBLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE LLC is an independent nonprofit agricultural research organization dedicated to delivering solutions to great agricultural challenges. Headquartered in Ardmore, Oklahoma, the Noble Research Institute conducts fundamental, translational and applied research; offers no-cost consultation and education to farmers, ranchers and land managers; operates seven research and demonstration farms; and educates students of all ages about science and agriculture. The Noble Research Institute was founded by Lloyd Noble, an Oklahoma oilman and philanthropist, in 1945 as The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation to advance agriculture and land stewardship. www.noble.org

OKLAHOMA CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION represents the interests of Oklahoma's cattlemen at the Oklahoma Legislature. The OCA has continued an aggressive course of action supporting proactive legislation and challenging anti-industry legislation and regulations. The OCA exists to support and defend the state and nation's beef cattle industry. www.okcattlemen.org

OKLAHOMA CONSERVATION COMMISSION provides assistance to Oklahoma’s 84 conservation districts and the public to foster a sense of stewardship and conservation management of Oklahoma’s renewable natural resources. This is accomplished through soil and water conservation, land use planning, small watershed upstream flood control, abandoned mine land reclamation, water quality monitoring, environmental education and wetlands conservation. www.ok.gov/conservation/

OKLAHOMA FARM BUREAU FOUNDATION FOR AGRICULTURE was formed to enhance awareness and understanding of agriculture’s contribution and importance to the state of Oklahoma. www.okfbfoundationforagriculture.org

USDA NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE (NRCS) is a federal agency committed to helping private landowners care and make healthy choices for the land and water, while using them productively. Through voluntary incentive-based programs, the NRCS works directly with farmers, ranchers, forest owners and other land stewards to provide technical expertise and financial assistance to make conservation work on private lands. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/ok/home/


** Photo above of 2020 LCA recipient, Grant Victor of Victor Ranch taken by Dustin Mielke, Oklahoma Farm Bureau.

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