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Three Finalists Selected for Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award

Three finalists have been selected for the 2021 Kentucky 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 Kentucky, the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, American Farmland Trust, Kentucky Agricultural Council, and the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts.

The finalists are:

  • F.L. Sipes Farm of Ekron in Meade County: Fred Sipes raises beef cattle, tobacco, soybeans, corn, wheat, hay, and produce. He has reduced soil erosion and improved water quality by installing grassed waterways, planting cover crops, and implementing crop rotations and no-till practices on his land. He uses rotational grazing practices to feed his cattle. These conservation practices have improved soil health, and wildlife habitat found on the farm.
  • Reddick Farms of Bardwell in Carlisle County: Brad Reddick’s unique system of no-till practices, cover cropping and roller-crimping reduces weeds, soil erosion and reliance on commercial fertilizers to grow corn, wheat and soybeans. Conservation practices have improved his soil’s ability to infiltrate water. Changes to feeding techniques and the timing of the calving season, have improved pasture conditions for his herd of beef cattle.
  • Donald Veatch of Campbellsville in Marion County: At Donald Veatch’s beef cattle and grain farm, establishing buffer strips, and crop rotations, no-till practices and cover crops have reduced soil erosion and improved water quality. Selective harvesting and thinning overgrowth promotes the quality of timber in the farm’s 125 acres of forests. Planting trees and native grasses has created habitat for wildlife and insect pollinators.

The 2020 and 2021 award recipients will be recognized in-person at the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts’ Annual Convention on July 11-13, at the Marriott Griffin Gate Hotel in Lexington.

“As the national sponsor for Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award, American Farmland Trust celebrates the hard work and dedication of the Kentucky 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 Kentucky Agricultural Council is once again honored to recognize private landowners across the state who practice exceptional stewardship and conservation practices. The finalists for 2021 are an exceptional group of individuals,” said Mark Barker, Kentucky Agricultural Council Chairman.

“KACD and conservation districts promote the sound management of all our natural resources and we are excited to recognize these well deserving landowners in Kentucky,” said Shane Wells, Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts President. “The Association and conservation districts work daily to assist private landowners in their efforts to adopt sound soil and water conservation practices on their land that benefit us all.”

“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.”

Last year’s award recipient was JRS Angus of Lawrenceburg in Anderson County.

The Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award is made possible thanks to the generous support and partnership of American Farmland Trust, Kentucky Agricultural Council, Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts, Sand County Foundation, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Kentucky State University College of Agriculture, Community, and the Sciences and Land Grant Program; AgriBusiness Association of Kentucky, Farm Credit Mid-America, Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, Kentucky Pork Producers, Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board, Kentucky Tree Farm Committee, Kentucky Woodland Owner’s Association, and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Sand County Foundation presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 22 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation.

For more information on the award, visit

Ky Sipes Pic

F.L. Sipes Farm of Ekron in Meade County

Ky Reddick

Reddick Farms of Bardwell in Carlisle County

Ky Veatch

Donald Veatch of Campbellsville in Marion County


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 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.


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 Kentucky Agricultural Council is a 501(c)(3) organization consisting of some 80 agricultural organizations representing all sectors of Kentucky agriculture. The membership is composed of commodity groups, state and federal agricultural organizations, agricultural trade organizations and the state’s institutions of higher education that serve Kentucky agriculture. The KAC functions as an umbrella group and hub for its members, disseminating information and promoting coordination among all agricultural organizations and sectors. Since 2006, the KAC also has served as the “steward of strategic planning” for the future of Kentucky agriculture and Kentucky’s rural communities.


The Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts is 501(c)(3) organization consisting of Kentucky’s local conservation districts and watershed conservancy districts. KACD encourages the exchange of information relating to the administration and operation of conservation districts and watershed conservancy districts; to affect cooperation between districts and agencies and organizations concerned with any and all phases of soil and water conservation; to promote the welfare of conservation districts and watershed conservancy districts and the people therein; and to maintain strong and active membership in both KACD and the National Association of Conservation Districts.