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Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

Nominations and applications are now being accepted for the 2024 Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award®.

The $10,000 award honors farmers and forestland owners who go 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 the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 27 states. In Pennsylvania, the $10,000 award is presented with state partners: The Heinz Endowments, Horizon Farm Credit, and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

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 nominate themselves. The application can be found at

The application deadline date is August 1, 2024. Applications must be emailed to Applications are reviewed by an independent panel of Pennsylvania agricultural and conservation leaders.

Pennsylvania’s 2023 Leopold Conservation Award was presented to Myers Family Farm of Spring Mills.

“Farmers across Pennsylvania continue to serve as change agents in conservation and sustainability. From improving soil health to implementing practices that enhance water resources and wildlife habitat on their lands, farmers stewarding land and water purposefully deserve to be recognized and celebrated for their outstanding work and ambition,” said Tom Truitt, Horizon Farm Credit CEO. “Implementing conservation and sustainability into farmers’ core practices is essential to their livelihood, and to the preservation and protection of our natural resources for current and future generations.”

“Farmers are always looking for ways to save their resources and to utilize technology so that the next generation has a place,” said Chris Hoffman, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President. “We want to celebrate those who use technology and have farming practices that preserve our natural resources. We want to encourage Pennsylvania farmers to showcase their dedication to stewardship and innovative approaches to conservation by applying for the 2024 Leopold Conservation Award.”

“Pennsylvania farmers not only feed our families and our economy, they pour their lives and livelihoods into improving our soil and water for future generations,” Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “The Leopold Conservation Award recognizes farmers who stand out among their peers as excellent stewards of soil and water resources.”

“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 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 Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award is made possible through the generous support from American Farmland Trust, The Heinz Endowments, Horizon Farm Credit, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Sand County Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania, and Myers Family Farm.

THE LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD 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 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.

HORIZON FARM CREDIT is an agricultural lending cooperative, part of the national Farm Credit System, owned by its member-borrowers. The Association has more than 22,900 members and over $5.9 billion in loans outstanding. Horizon Farm Credit serves Delaware, Pennsylvania, and parts of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia by providing farm loans for land, equipment, livestock and production; crop insurance; and rural home mortgages. Learn more at

PENNSYLVANIA FARM BUREAU is the state’s largest farm organization, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.

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.

THE HEINZ ENDOWMENTS is devoted to the mission of helping our region prosper as a vibrant center of creativity, learning, and social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Core to our work is the vision of a just community where all are included and where everyone who calls southwestern Pennsylvania home has a real and meaningful opportunity to thrive.