Missouri Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

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Are you a Missouri farmer, rancher or forestland owner improving soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat on your working land? Apply for the 2023 Missouri Leopold Conservation Award®.

Sand County Foundation, national sponsor American Farmland Trust, and state partners present the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 25 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In Missouri, the $10,000 award is presented annually with state partners: Missouri Farmers Care Foundation, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Missouri farmers and ranchers are continually striving through their stewardship to support long-term viability and productive capacity of their operations,” said Jeff Houts, chairman of Missouri Farmers Care. “We are honored to highlight innovative leaders which are utilizing stewardship practices to meet an ultimate goal: improving land, air, water, habitat and land for the future generations of land stewards.”

“As a national sponsor for Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award, American Farmland Trust celebrates the hard work and dedication of farmers, ranchers and forestland owners,” said John Piotti, AFT President and CEO. “At AFT we believe that conservation in agriculture requires a focus on the land, the practices and the people and this award recognizes the integral role of all three.”

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.

“Recipients of this award are examples of how Aldo Leopold’s land ethic is alive and well today. Their dedication to conservation shows how individuals can improve the health of the land while producing food and fiber,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and CEO.

Nominations may be submitted on behalf of a landowner, or landowners may nominate themselves. The application can be found at www.sandcountyfoundation.org/ApplyLCA or www.MOFarmersCare.com/lca.

Applications can be submitted online at www.MOFarmersCare.com/lca (preferred) or mailed to Missouri Farmers Care Foundation, 19171 State Highway 11, Kirksville, MO 63501. All applications must be submitted or postmarked by June 30, 2023.

Finalists will be announced in September with plans to present the award in November 2023.

The Leopold Conservation Award Program in Missouri is made possible thanks to the generous support of American Farmland Trust, Missouri Farmers Care Foundation, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Missouri Soybean Association, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, Sand County Foundation, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, MFA, Inc., Missouri Fertilizer Control Board, FCS Financial, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Missouri Soil and Water Conservation Program, Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, The Nature Conservancy in Missouri, and McDonald’s.

The first Missouri Leopold Conservation Award was presented in 2017. Britt Farms of Clifton Hill received the award in 2022.

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The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. Sand County Foundation presents the award in California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont). www.leopoldconservationaward.org

American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through its No Farms, No Food message. Since its founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally sound farming practices on millions of additional acres, and supported thousands of farm families. www.farmland.org

Formed in 1984, the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC) is an organization of corn growers dedicated to the profitability of corn production by investing checkoff dollars to facilitate communication with growers and customers, explore new research opportunities, and expand corn utilization in local, state, national, and global markets.

Missouri Farmers Care Foundation enables Missourians to understand the influence and importance of agriculture in their daily lives by serving as the centralized hub of the unified educational programs, awards, and hunger relief efforts of Missouri’s agricultural community. www.MOFarmersCare.com

The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council is a statewide, farmer-led organization working to improve opportunities for Missouri soybean farmers through a combination of research, outreach, education and market development efforts through the soybean checkoff. www.mosoy.org

Sand County Foundation inspires and empowers a growing number of private landowners to ethically manage natural resources in their care, so future generations have clean and abundant water, healthy soil to support agriculture and forestry, plentiful habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation. www.sandcountyfoundation.org

NRCS, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, provides financial and technical assistance on a voluntary basis to land users interested in protecting, restoring and enhancing natural resources. NRCS helps people help the land through more than 100 local offices located in USDA Service Centers. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. www.mo.nrcs.usda.gov