Stewardship could land you $10,000

on .

Missouri farmers, ranchers and other private landowners who voluntarily demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources will have an opportunity to win a $10,000 award for their efforts.

Applications are now being accepted for the Leopold Conservation Award Program, recognizing those who have made extraordinary achievements in voluntary conservation. Nominees will be evaluated on such criteria as conservation ethic, innovation, adaptability, resilience, leadership and communications.

Administered by the Sand County Foundation, a non-profit conservation organization, the awards have recently come to Missouri for the first time through a partnership with Missouri Farmers Care and the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council.

“This action fits Missouri Farmers Care’s role in educating and advocating for agriculture’s hardworking farm and ranch families and their history of responsible stewardship of the land and resources from which they derive their living,” said Alan Wessler, chairman of the MFC board and vice president of feed for MFA. “Those same families strive to ensure that the land and its wildlife environment are well taken care of to pass along to future generations.”

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders. In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac,” Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”

Missouri’s inaugural Leopold award will be presented at the 2017 Governor’s Conference on Agriculture in December.

Applications for the award must be postmarked by July 1, 2017. Visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org for more information and details on the application process.

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