Colorado Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

Leopold Conservation Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the Leopold Conservation Award honoring agricultural landowners in Colorado who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources.

Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 24 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In Colorado, the $10,000 award is presented with the Colorado Cattlemen’s AssociationColorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land TrustUSDA-Natural Resources Conservation ServiceGates Family FoundationAmerican AgCreditCoBankFarm Credit of Southern Colorado, and Premier Farm Credit.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the prestigious award recognizes landowners 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.

Nominations may be submitted on behalf of a landowner, or landowners may nominate themselves. The application can be found at  

The application deadline date is Feb. 1, 2023. Applications can be emailed to If mailed, applications must be postmarked by Feb. 1, and mailed to:

Leopold Conservation Award

c/o Colorado Cattlemen’s Association

8833 Ralston Road

Arvada, CO 80002-2239

“The Leopold Conservation Award not only highlights the positive influences agriculture has on the environment, our communities, and our economy, but also illustrates the heritage of natural resource stewardship on working landscapes,” said Philip Anderson, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association president.

“These award recipients 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.

“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,” 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.”

The Leopold Conservation Award Program in Colorado is made possible thanks to the generous partnership and support of American Farmland Trust, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Sand County Foundation, Gates Family Foundation, American AgCredit, CoBank, Farm Credit of Southern Colorado, Premier Farm Credit, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Assoc., The Stanko Ranch, Colorado Department of Agriculture, McDonald’s, The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, and The Nature Conservancy.

The first Colorado Leopold Conservation Award recipient, Capps Ranch of Walsenburg, was selected in 2003. Pankey Ranch of Craig received the award in 2022.

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