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Leopold Conservation Award® Program Seeks Nominees in Kentucky
Steve Coleman,, 502-330-5044
Chris Schellpfeffer,, 608-663-4605 x31

 Frankfort, Ky. – (January 16, 2017) Sand County Foundation, the Kentucky Agricultural Council (KAC) and the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts (KACD) are accepting applications for the Leopold Conservation Award program in Kentucky. The $10,000 award honors Kentucky farmers, ranchers and other private landowners who voluntarily demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources.

“Landowners throughout Kentucky are committed to the enhancement of the state’s rich and diverse landscape,” said Sand County Foundation President, Kevin McAleese. “Their conservation work benefits us all.”

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. It inspires other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders. In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac,” Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”

 "The Kentucky Agricultural Council is proud to be part of the Leopold Conservation Award program,” said Kentucky Agricultural Council Chair, Sharon Furches. “We are proud of the past four year winners, each representing the diversity of the Commonwealth Agricultural Industry and their high standard for stewardship of our natural resources. "We are blessed with so many more well deserving agricultural producers in Kentucky who are deserving of this recognition." 

 “KACD and conservation districts promote the sound management of all our natural resources and we are excited to join the Sand County Foundation and the Kentucky Agricultural Council in recognizing a well deserving landowner in Kentucky,” said David Rowlett, KACD President.  “The Association and conservation districts work daily to assist private landowners in their efforts to adopt sound soil and water conservation practices on their land that benefit us all.”

 Nominations must be postmarked by April 1, 2017, and mailed to Leopold Conservation Award, c/o Franklin County Conservation District, 103 Lakeview Court, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601. Electronic nominations and supporting materials can be submitted to on or before the deadline.

 The award will be presented at the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts Convention on July 11, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky.

 The Leopold Conservation Award in Kentucky is made possible thanks to the generous support of Brereton and Elizabeth Jones Charitable Family Foundation, Farm Credit Mid-America, Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, University of Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Kentucky Woodland Owners Association and the Kentucky Tree Farm Committee.
For application information, please visit or 

The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. Sand County Foundation presents Leopold Conservation Awards in California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Sand County Foundation is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to working with private landowners across North America to advance ethical and scientifically sound land management practices that benefit the environment.


The Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts (KACD) is 501(c)(3) organization consisting of Kentucky’s local conservation districts and watershed conservancy districts. KACD encourages the exchange of information relating to the administration and operation of conservation districts and watershed conservancy districts; to affect cooperation between districts and agencies and organizations concerned with any and all phases of soil and water conservation; to promote the welfare of conservation districts and watershed conservancy districts and the people therein; and to maintain strong and active membership in both KACD and the National Association of Conservation Districts.


The Kentucky Agricultural Council (KAC) is a 501(c)(3) organization consisting of some 80 agricultural organizations representing all sectors of Kentucky agriculture. The membership is composed of commodity groups, state and federal agricultural organizations, agricultural trade organizations and the state’s institutions of higher education that serve Kentucky agriculture.  The KAC functions as an umbrella group and hub for its members, disseminating information and promoting coordination among all agricultural organizations and sectors. Since 2006, the KAC also has served as the “steward of strategic planning” for the future of Kentucky agriculture and Kentucky’s rural communities.

 ***New National Analysis on Forest Stewardship -
How the Farm Bill Has Improved Conservation***

Washington, D.C. - Forest stewardship has increased on America's family forests since the 2008 Farm Bill significantly increased forest owner access to conservation programs. The new study, Forest Conservation in 2009:  A Farm Bill Progress Report, from the American Forest Foundation was unveiled today at a briefing on Capitol Hill featuring national, state, and local forest leaders.
"Most Americans think our forests are owned by state and federal governments. But the greatest segment are actually owned by families and individuals," said Tom Martin, President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation (AFF).  "All Americans rely on these forests for clean water, clean air, carbon storage, recreation and the wood products we use every day. The 2008 Farm Bill was a strong beginning toward acknowledging these public benefits and investing in protecting them."   
"Unfortunately the threats to private forests in general, and family-owned in particular, have only accelerated so we need to continue to ensure that the necessary resources are provided to help family forest owners maintain healthy and productive forests," added Martin.
Among the report's findings:
  • Farm Bill programs helped 36,000 landowners conserve more than 1,019,000 acres of forest land just in 2009. 
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding for forest conservation activities increased by 134% since 2007. This is especially important since more than half of our nation receives its drinking water from forested landscapes.
  • Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) funding increased 296% for forested habitats. Sixty percent of at-risk plant and animals rely on private forests for habitat.
  • EQIP and WHIP together devoted over $40 million in 2009 - up from $14 millio n in 2007 - to practices like wildlife habitat improvement and thinning to reduce fire risk.
  • The Forest Stewardship Program helped nearly 16,000 forest owners develop management plans that promote good stewardship and cover more than 2 million acres.
The study found that states vary significantly in their focus on forestry versus other land types, and the use of Farm Bill program resources for forests:
  • States range from 71 % to 0.05 % of EQIP funding used for forestry.  
  • Alaska, Alabama, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Ohio all top the list, spending more than 10% of their funding to forestry.
Participants at the briefing included, Jay Jensen, USDA Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Cara Boucher, Michigan state forester, Dr. Rob Parkes, vice-chair, Arkansas Forestry Commission, Lisa Parkes, Arkansas Tree Farmer, and Chuck Leavell, AFF Board member, Georgia Tree Farmer and member of the Rolling Stones.
Leavell, with his wife Rose Lane, owns 2,200 acres in Georgia, certified through the American Tree Farm System,® (ATFS), a program of AFF.  "When we inherited this land, I wondered how I would manage this and a busy tour schedule. But I soon learned I had an incredible passion for forests and this avocation has changed my life," said Leavell. "I am hoping that I can help raise awareness about the value of America's family-owned forests and why Farm Bill programs need to continue to provide the necessary resources to keep these forests, forests," added Leavell. 
The American Forest Foundation analyzed data provided by the NRCS, Farm Service Agency, and the U.S. Forest Service, regarding the implementation of conservation programs authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill.  They conducted interviews of family forest owners who have participated in one or more of the programs and are certified by ATFS.  Forest Conservation in 2009:  A Farm Bill Progress Report is available at

Kentucky Tree Farm/Kentucky Forest Industries Association honors:

To view the Press Release click on the link:

2013 Inspector of the Year
Connie Woodcock, Central Region, KY Division of Forestry, Campbellsville, KY

2013 Tree Farmer of the Year
Harry & Karen Pelle
Bradfordsville, KY

2013 Logger of the Year
Gussy Allen, Allen's Logging LLC
Shepherdsville, KY

2012 Inspector of the Year
Hagan Wonn, Kentucky Hardwood Lumber
Somerset, KY

2012 Tree Farmer of the Year
Perry Sebaugh, Park City, KY

2012 Logger of the Year
French Logging, Webster, KY








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