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Leopold Conservation Award Comes to Mississippi

A prestigious award program that celebrates voluntary conservation efforts on farms, ranches, and forestland is coming to Mississippi.

The Leopold Conservation Award® honors farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners who above and beyond in their management of soil health, water quality and wildlife habitat on working land.

Sand County Foundation and national sponsor, American Farmland Trust, present Leopold Conservation Awards to private landowners in 28 states. In Mississippi the award is presented with the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation.

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

Nominations may be submitted on behalf of a landowner, or landowners may apply themselves. The Mississippi application can be found at

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

The application deadline date is July 30, 2024. Applications must be emailed to

The award recipient receives $10,000, and their conservation success story will be featured in a video and in other outreach.

The Mississippi Leopold Conservation Award is made possible through the generous support of American Farmland Trust, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Families of Mississippi, Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts, Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Sand County Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy.

“Mississippi farmers and ranchers have always been great stewards of this state’s natural resources,” said Mike McCormick, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President. “This land and water are how our membership makes their living and provides the food, clothing, and shelter for Mississippi and beyond. We are proud to stand with these organizations to recognize farmers in our state who are going above and beyond to protect the resources for the next generation.”

“Leopold Conservation 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.

“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 recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. Sand County Foundation presents the award in California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, 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 6.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.

MISSISSIPPI FARM BUREAU FEDERATION serves as the largest and strongest general farm organization in Mississippi, with more than 177,000 member families in 82 county Farm Bureaus. It is a voluntary, non-governmental, non-partisan organization seeking solutions to problems affecting the lives of farm families, both socially and economically. Since its inception in 1922, the purpose of MFBF has been to provide a unified voice for Mississippi agriculture in the legislative arena, promote farm markets and serve as a leader in the state’s agricultural community on local, state, national and international levels.

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.