COMMITTED TO CONSERVATION: Finalists named for S. D. Leopold Conservation Award | TSLN.com

COMMITTED TO CONSERVATION: Finalists named for S. D. Leopold Conservation Award

The Perman family, Rock Hills Ranch near Lowry, South Dakota, was the 2014 South Dakota Leopold Award recipient. Photo courtesy USDA NRCS South Dakota.

April 7, 2015 Sand County Foundation, the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association and the South Dakota Grassland Coalition are proud to announce the finalists for the 2015 Leopold Conservation Award®, which honors South Dakota landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

The finalists are:

Cammack Ranch of Union Center, a cow/calf ranch with 10,000 grazing acres owned by Gary and Amy Cammack. The Cammack family has implemented rotational grazing, constructed windbreaks, and planted over 30,000 trees on their ranch.

Cronin Farms of Gettysburg, a multi-generational mixed livestock and crop farm owned by Monty and Mike Cronin and their wives Nancy and Jamie. The Cronins practice a holistic approach to land management and use no-till techniques and diverse crop rotations.

John and Donita Moes of Florence. The Moes family owns and runs a cow/calf ranch and farm including a feedlot and ag waste pond. They have adopted no-till practices, rotational grazing, and planted several acres of trees and native grasses.

Jorgenson Land and Cattle Partnership of Ideal, a fourth generation farm, including diversified crops, livestock and hunting. It is owned by Bryan and Brenda Jorgensen; Cody and Abby Jorgensen; Greg and Deb Jorgensen; Martin and Mary Jorgensen, and Nicholas Jorgensen. Their farm has been no-till since 1991 and contains 10,000 acres of non-irrigated crops, 850 registered Angus females, and a 22-room hunting lodge.

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Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. It inspires other landowners through these examples and 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."

Award applicants are judged based on their demonstration of improved resource conditions, innovation, long-term commitment to stewardship, sustained economic viability, community and civic leadership, outreach and multiple use benefits.

"Our South Dakota finalists work to enhance the landscape through their commitment to stewardship of natural resources and to sharing what they've learned with the broader community," said Brent Haglund, Sand County Foundation President.

The 2015 award recipient, who will receive $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold, will be announced later this month and recognized at the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association's Annual Convention in December.

"The Leopold Conservation Award is a celebration of the private landowners who recognize the value of taking care of the land that takes care of their families. SDCA is proud to recognize these finalists for making conservation of our natural resources a priority," said Todd Wilkinson, a cattle feeder and president of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association.

"South Dakota is privileged to have farmers and ranchers who are committed to conserving our natural resources and we are pleased to honor these outstanding landowners as finalists for the Leopold Conservation Award, " said Jim Faulstich, Chairman, South Dakota Grassland Coalition.

The Leopold Conservation Award in South Dakota is possible thanks to generous contributions from many organizations, including: South Dakota Department of Environment & Natural Resources Discovery Center, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks, South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation, South Dakota Grassland Coalition, South Dakota State University Foundation, American Bank & Trust, Belle Fourche River Watershed Partnership, Daybreak Ranch, Ducks Unlimited, Millborn Seeds, Mortenson Family, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Professional Alliance, South Dakota's Conservation Districts, South Dakota Department of Agriculture Resource Conservation & Forestry, The Nature Conservancy Western Dakotas Program, World Wildlife Fund Northern Great Plains, US Fish & Wildlife Service, DuPont Pioneer, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and The Mosaic Company.

–South Dakota Cattlemen's Association