Saluting stewardship

Written by TF Staff 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 2018 Missouri 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.

The Sand County Foundation, a nonprofit conservation organization, presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 13 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In Missouri, the award was presented for the first time in 2017 in conjunction with Missouri Farmers Care and the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council. Missouri’s inaugural Leopold award was presented to the Lambert family of Laclede.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes those 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.

“The Leopold Conservation Award is an excellent venue for Missouri’s agriculture community to highlight the great work of farmers, ranchers and foresters,” said Alan Wessler, chairman of Missouri Farmers Care and vice president of feed for MFA Incorporated. “This program highlights farmers’ best practices and purpose to meet an ultimate goal: leaving the land in as good or better shape for the next generation.”

Nominations may be submitted on behalf of a landowner, or landowners may nominate themselves. All applications must be submitted or postmarked by July 20. The application can be found at http://mofarmerscare.com/leopold-conservation-award/. Finalists will be announced in November.