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Leopold Conservation Award expands to Iowa in 2022

The Leopold Conservation Award is expanding to Iowa this year. The award recognizes agricultural landowners who inspire others with their dedication to ethical land, water, and wildlife habitat management.

Owners of farm and forest land in Iowa may apply for the award themselves or be nominated by another party. The Iowa application deadline is July 1.

“Recipients of this award are real life examples of conservation-minded agriculture,” says Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation president and chief executive officer. “These hard-working families are essential to our environment, food system, and rural economy.”

The award is named in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold. 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 conservation ethic inspired by Aldo Leopold is very strong in Iowa. He was born and raised in Iowa where he learned to love the land. That same land is now loved and preserved by many other great conservationists,” says John Whitaker, Conservation Districts of Iowa executive director.

Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust annually present the Leopold Conservation Award to farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners in 24 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation.

“As the 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,” says John Piotti, AFT president and chief executive officer. “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.”

The recipient receives $10,000, and their conservation success story will be featured in a video and in other outreach. The recipient will be announced at The Big Soil Health Event in Cedar Falls in December.

In Iowa, the award is presented with state partners: Conservation Districts of Iowa, Farmers National Company, and Practical Farmers of Iowa.

“The dedication these farmers and landowners exhibit to preserving Iowa's natural resources is exceptional. We're honored to help elevate their leadership and commitment to conservation,” said Sally Worley, Practical Farmers of Iowa Executive Director.

The award is also available in California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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