Finalists Named for 2016 Utah Leopold Conservation Award

Sand County Foundation, in partnership with Western AgCredit, the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, and the Utah Cattlemen’s Association, are proud to announce the finalists for the prestigious Utah Leopold Conservation Award which honors Utah landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

The finalists are:

  • Michael Peterson oversees the family Triple P Ranch in Nephi where they manage a cow – calf ranch. Maintaining and working from a list of potential range improvement projects, the Petersons have completed many projects that enhance the natural resources while reducing operational costs. Triple P partnered with others to improve sage grouse habitat and the Bear River waterway to prevent erosion and improve water quality.
  • Jerrold Richins owns and manages a sheep and cattle ranch in Summit County. Richins’ project to install erosion control structures has been credited as the catalyst for other conservation practices to improve the entire watershed. His innovative, automated irrigation system efficiently reduces energy and water use, field runoff and improves habitat for the Bonneville cutthroat trout while improving ranch productivity.
  • Andy Taft owns and manages Taft Ranch, a sheep outfit in Wayne and Garfield Counties. To improve livestock distribution and wildlife habitat, Taft worked with others to build and maintain a water pipeline to deliver water to ponds. Taft also participates in a sagebrush forage experiment, hosting students and media and providing leadership to find common ground and stimulate improvements.

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 Leopold Conservation Award will be presented at the Utah Farm Bureau’s Convention on November 18. The award recipient will receive $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold.

“Western AgCredit is proud to sponsor the Leopold Conservation Award in Utah. These ranching families have worked for generations to improve the quality and production capacity of their ranches. Conservation is a way of life to these families and we appreciate their commitment to being exemplary stewards of the land,” said David Brown, CEO, Western AgCredit.

“We congratulate these families on the recognition that comes from being listed as finalist for this award. The Sand County Foundation and Aldo Leopold are a great example of the good that can be done when groups work together to promote the wise use of our natural resources. While we can only recognize a few families as finalists, they truly represent the vast majority of farmers and ranchers in our state who feel a sense of responsibility to the land and animals,” said Ron Gibson, President, Utah Farm Bureau.

“The Utah Cattlemen’s Association is proud to be a part of a cooperative effort to recognize Utah landowners who practice outstanding stewardship and dedication to the principles of conservation,” said Brent Tanner, Executive Vice President, Utah Cattlemen’s Association.

The Leopold Conservation Award in Utah is made possible through the support of Western AgCredit, The Nature Conservancy, Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Producers Livestock Marketing, Utah Department and Agriculture and Food, Utah Wool Growers Association, Utah Cattlemen’s Association and Utah Association of Conservation Districts.