Finalists Selected for Colorado Leopold Conservation Award — The Sand County Foundation

Aldo Leopold

Here’s the release from the Sand County Foundation:

Three finalists have been selected for the prestigious 2020 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award®.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes ranchers, farmers, and foresters who inspire others with their dedication to land, water, and wildlife habitat management on private, working lands.

In Colorado the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The finalists are:

  • Collins Ranch of Kit Carson in Cheyenne County: Toby and Amy Johnson’s family are cattle ranchers who have implemented a grazing system focused on the long-term sustainability and improvement of grass and soil health. By utilizing more, but smaller, pastures their rotational grazing system protects against overgrazing. Cattle are moved to fields of corn stalks during the winter. Water tanks for cattle and wildlife have been moved away from meadows and creeks to reduce erosion.
  • LK Ranch of Meeker in Rio Blanco County: The innovative grazing management, fencing and watering systems implemented by the Klinglesmith family have made their ranch more ecologically and economically resilient. Conservation easements placed on the ranch ensure that water rights will remain for agricultural and wildlife in perpetuity. New irrigation equipment reduces the amount of water needed to irrigate hay fields, and any late season hay growth is left standing to feed mule deer and elk.
  • May Ranch of Lamar in Prowers County: From a carbon credit offset program and rangeland health assessments, to how cattle are properly cared for, rancher Dallas May and his family utilize a variety of third-party verifications to measure and manage conservation success. In addition to managing the grasslands his cattle graze, the Mays have installed wildlife-friendly fencing, improved wetlands and streams, restored playas, and planted native trees. They actively work with conservation groups by hosting surveys of bird species, tours and biological inventories on the ranch.
    This year’s recipient will be announced in April. The formal award presentation will take place on Monday, June 15 at the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association’s 2020 Annual Convention, which will be held at the Colorado Springs Marriott in Colorado Springs.
  • This year’s recipient will be announced in April. The formal award presentation will take place on Monday, June 15 at the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association’s 2020 Annual Convention, which will be held at the Colorado Springs Marriott in Colorado Springs.

    “Agriculture producers positively benefit the environment, our communities, and our economy while feeding a growing society through sustainable production practices that produce more by using less,” said Steve Wooten, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association President. “This approach is the very backbone of stewardship that the Leopold Conservation Award honors and CCA celebrates the award recipients and applicants, and also all of Colorado’s farmers and ranchers for their conservation contributions.”

    “The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust is proud to celebrate the voluntary conservation accomplishments of Colorado’s farmers and ranchers,” said Erik Glenn, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust Executive Director. “The 2020 Leopold Conservation Award nominees and applicants showcase the diversity of agriculture in Colorado and the dedication that farming and ranching families have to the lands they steward, their communities, and their families.”

    To learn more about previous recipients, including the 2019 recipient, Livingston Ranch of Stratton, Colorado, visit https://www.sandcountyfoundation.org/our-work/leopold-conservation-award-program/state/colorado.

    The Leopold Conservation Award in Colorado is made possible by generous contributions from the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Sand County Foundation, Gates Family Foundation, Stanko Ranch, American AgCredit, The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, The Nature Conservancy in Colorado, and McDonald’s.

    Sand County Foundation presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 20 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation.

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

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