Nominations and applications are now being accepted for the 2024 Utah Leopold Conservation Award®.

The $10,000 award honors ranchers, farmers and forestland owners who go above and beyond in their management of soil health, water quality and wildlife habitat on working land. 

Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 27 states. In Utah the award is presented with state partners: Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Western AgCredit and Utah Cattlemen’s Association

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes landowners who inspire others with their dedication to environmental improvement. In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac,” Leopold called for what he called “a land ethic,” 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. Applications are reviewed by an independent panel of Utah’s agricultural and conservation leaders. 

The application deadline date is August 1, 2024. The application can be found at http://www.sandcountyfoundation.org/ApplyLCA; Applications can be emailed to award@sandcountyfoundation.org

If mailed, applications must be postmarked by August 1, and mailed to:

Leopold Conservation Award

c/o Utah Farm Bureau Federation

9865 S. State Street

Sandy, UT 84070


The Utah Leopold Conservation Award will be presented at the Utah Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in November.

The first Utah Leopold Conservation Award recipient was selected in 2007. Bennion Ranch of Vernon received the award in 2023. 

“Utah’s farmers and ranchers are always thinking about how to wisely use our resources and take care of the land,” said ValJay Rigby, Utah Farm Bureau Federation President. “I’m really proud of their dedication to preserving our land and water, which is top of mind for many Utahns right now. I look forward to recognizing these hardworking farm and ranch families with this prestigious award for all they’ve done and keep doing.”

“Utah farmers and ranchers do an amazing job of caring for their lands and natural resources,” said Brent Tanner, executive vice president of the Utah Cattlemen’s Association. “The Leopold Conservation Award demonstrates that Utah farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land and truly care for the environment.”

“Farmers and ranchers are the original conservationists, and they continue today to utilize tried and true practices, along with emerging technology, to conserve water, improve range ground, and enhance wildlife habitat,” said Western AgCredit President David Brown. “Utah farmers and ranchers have a great conservation story to tell, and we encourage them to showcase their contributions to environmental stewardship by applying for the Leopold Conservation Award.”

“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.”

“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.

The Leopold Conservation Award Program in Utah is made possible thanks to the generous support of American Farmland Trust, Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Western AgCredit, Utah Cattlemen’s Association, Sand County Foundation, Utah Department of Natural Resources, CKP Insurance, Producers Livestock Marketing Association, The Nature Conservancy in Utah, Utah Association of Conservation Districts, and Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

For more information on the award, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org.


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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 Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, 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 on the 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 6.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally sound farming practices on millions of additional acres, and supported thousands of farm families. www.farmland.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.

THE UTAH FARM BUREAU FEDERATION is the largest general farm and ranch organization in the state with more than 34,000 member families. Its mission is to inspire all Utah families to connect, succeed and grow through the miracle of agriculture. It strives to bring value to every citizen and community through love of God, family, country, and the land through political action, educational and informational means. www.utahfarmbureau.org.

WESTERN AGCREDIT is the leader within the agricultural finance industry with nearly 100 years of lending to farmers in the Intermountain West. It currently serves approximately 1,700 customers with a full range of credit and financial services, as well as providing financial and volunteer support to several agricultural and community activities, including, among others, Utah Farm Bureau, Utah Cattlemen’s Association, Utah Wool Growers Association, the FFA, and the 4-H. www.westernagcredit.com.

THE UTAH CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION has represented Utah cattle producers since 1870, preserving the heritage and strength of the industry through education and public policy and by supporting and establishing the adoption of good principles of raising and marketing cattle and caring for the land we ranch on. Efforts are made possible through membership contributions. www.utahcattlemen.org.