Rick and Marlis Doud receive first South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award 2010 | TSLN.com

Rick and Marlis Doud receive first South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award 2010

PIERRE, SD – The Wisconsin-based conservation organization Sand County Foundation, in partnership with the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and the South Dakota Grassland Coalition, is proud to name Rick and Marlis Doud of Midland as the recipients of the inaugural Leopold Conservation Award in South Dakota.

“Rick and Marlis Doud are exceptional, innovative stewards of the natural resources that are under their care, but it is to their credit that their efforts don’t stop at their ranch’s borders,” said Dr. Brent Haglund, Sand County Foundation President. “They reach out to others through a great deal of community involvement and educational opportunities that promote the importance of sustainable agriculture.”

The Douds operate 6,000 deeded acres and 2,500 leased acres on which they run nearly 400 cow-calf pairs. They made a significant switch in their management technique when they transitioned to rotational grazing and a summer calving program at the beginning of the decade, which the Douds credit as the catalyst for tremendous improvement in the productivity and diversity of the grasses in their rotated pastures even in the face of severe drought. The family has installed cross-fencing, more than 15 miles of water pipeline and 20 water tanks. Rick and Marlis have also planted three shelterbelts to catch snow for runoff and provide nesting cover for wildlife. Their land and water management techniques have led to an abundance of wildlife, which is managed through a hunting program. The Douds believe in lifelong learning, and Rick has passed his knowledge on as a mentor to young ranchers who have an interest in summer calving and rotational grazing.

“Everything we have has truly been a gift from God and we’re grateful for all we’ve been given and grateful we can give back,” Marlis Doud said. “We’re humbled and honored to be the winners of the 2010 Leopold Conservation Award.”

The $10,000 Leopold Conservation Award will be presented to the Douds at the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association’s Annual Convention on Dec. 1, 2010 at the Ramkota in Aberdeen. Anyone interested in learning more about the Leopold Conservation Award in South Dakota is invited to attend. Please RSVP by Nov. 29 by calling 605.945.2333 or e-mailing office@sdcattlemen.org.

The Leopold Conservation Award in South Dakota is possible thanks to generous contributions from many organizations, including: the Bradley Fund for the Environment, American State Bank, Daybreak Ranch, Ducks Unlimited, Millborn Seeds, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, the South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation, the South Dakota Grassland Coalition, and The Nature Conservancy.

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