Top three finalists selected for 2019 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award | TheFencePost.com

Top three finalists selected for 2019 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award

Colorado Cattlemen’s Association

ARVADA, Colo. — Three finalists have been selected for the prestigious 2019 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award. Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes ranchers, farmers, and foresters who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land.

In Colorado the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Colorado Cattlemen's Association, Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The finalists are:

• The Livingston Ranch of Stratton in Kit Carson County: Mike and Julie Livingston raise cattle, wheat, milo, corn and hay with their children Kari and Justin, and their families. Cover crops and no-till practices have improved soil health, while reducing water runoff and soil erosion. Their beef cattle and land have benefited from an efficient watering system and planned grazing system across 119 pastures. Wildlife habitat is important to this operation and has been included in all conservation efforts.

• Off Ranches of Del Norte in Rio Grande County: Cory Off raises beef cattle and hay at his ranch along the Rio Grande River. The combination of innovative grazing management, fencing and watering systems have made the ranch more resilient; both ecologically and economically. Conservation improvements to the ranch's landscape, such as the establishment of buffer areas around wetlands, have bolstered wildlife habitat and attracted a variety of plants, birds and wildlife.

• Gregg, Chris and Brad Stults of Wray in Yuma County: The Stults' have implemented a variety of conservation practices on their cattle ranch. Cover crops and no-till practices have increased soil health, retained water, and reduced erosion while growing wheat, milo, sunflowers and hay millet. Their land provides habitat for 53 species of birds, including Greater Prairie Chickens and the western yellow-billed cuckoo. Beaver dams are credited with spurring beneficial streambank vegetation.

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This year's recipient will be revealed in April, prior to Earth Day. The formal presentation will take place June 17 at Colorado Cattlemen's Association's 2019 Annual Convention, which will be held at the Steamboat Grand in Steamboat Springs, Colo. The 2018 recipient was Beatty Canyon Ranch of Kim, Colo. ❖