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New Mexico Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

Are you a New Mexico farmer, rancher of forestland owner who improves soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat on your working land? Apply for the 2023 New Mexico Leopold Conservation Award®.

Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 27 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In New Mexico, the award is presented with New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts, Quivira Coalition, and New Mexico Coalition to Enhance Working Lands (NMCEWL).

Given in honor of renowned conservation 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 and applications for the New Mexico Leopold Conservation Award are now being accepted. The application can be found at

The application deadline has been extended to June 26, 2023. The application can be completed online, or emailed to

If mailed, applications must be postmarked by June 26, 2023, and mailed to:

Leopold Conservation Award

c/o Quivira Coalition

1413 Second Street, Suite 1

Santa Fe, NM 87505

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.

“These award recipients are examples of how Aldo Leopold’s land ethic is alive and well today. Their dedication to conservation shows how individuals can improve the health of the land while producing food and fiber,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and CEO.

“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.

“The New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts (NMACD) is proud to work through our local Soil and Water Conservation Districts along with the Quivira Coalition to recognize the hard work that our New Mexico farmers and ranchers do every day to improve our natural resources,” said Willard Hall, NMACD President.

“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, New Mexico Coalition to Enhance Working Lands, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services of New Mexico, Taos Ski Valley Foundation, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, John Duncan and Anita Sarafa.

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THE LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD PROGRAM is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. Sand County Foundation presents the award in California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, 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).

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.

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.

NEW MEXICO COALITION TO ENHANCE WORKING LANDS is a network of groups and individuals whose purpose is to support and enhance ongoing efforts to improve the health and productivity of New Mexico workings lands that support agriculture and the environment. Our focus is to increase soil health, biodiversity, and hydrologic function wherever possible.

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

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.

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