During this year's AFAN annual meeting, attendees celebrated the work of the 2019 Leopold Conservation Award winner, and looked ahead to 2020.
We visited with Craig Utter with the Sand County Foundation at the AFAN annual meeting. Utter is the Nebraska coordinator for the Leopold Conservation Award. The award is geared toward highlighting the work of farmers and ranchers who have a great land ethic in relation to conservation and commodity production. The 2019 winner is Russ, Angela and Cheyenne Sundstrom of Moorefield, Nebraska. They own and operate the Broken Box Ranch. "Russ is an innovative land owner of restorative and grazing management practices," Utter said. "Russ has done a lot with the removal of invasive cedar trees, as well as intensive grazing."
Next year is going to be a big year, in that it will be Nebraska's 15th recipient. "What makes this award special is that all of our cooperating partners have the ability to nominate someone. Nominations through our application process is huge," Utter said. A call for nominations is now going out. "You can nominate a farmer or rancher, or even yourself." If you'd like to nominate someone, go to sandcountyfoundation.org or the AFAN website at becomeafan.org. The nomination forms are available online.
"We want to tell those fantastic stories about agriculture," Utter said. "People have no idea the great conservation work that's happening in Nebraska, and so sharing that story with others is very important." Applications for the 2020 Leopold Conservation Award are being accepted from January to March of 2020.