BISMARCK, N.D. - The J.S. Wilson Farm of Jamestown, N.D., has received the 2018 Leopold Conservation Award for North Dakota.
Owners Jeremy and Sarah Wilson accepted the award on Monday, Nov. 19, at the annual banquet of the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts. Jeremy Wilson took the podium briefly, encouraging people to continue trying new things and learning from the experiences.
“This journey has been very rewarding, and it’s far from over,” he said.
The Leopold Conservation Award is named for Aldo Leopold, a conservationist who worked in the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Wisconsin. The award recognizes farmers, ranchers and private landowners who exemplify voluntary, responsible stewardship and management of natural resources. North Dakota recipients received $10,000.
J.S. Wilson Farm and Breker Farm, run by Joe and Patty Breker of Havana, N.D., were the two finalists on hand at the banquet. The Wilsons have used cover crops since 2003 and have demonstrated the effectiveness of cover crops and no-till techniques on land formerly in the Conservation Reserve Program. They also have created a “Heritage Room” in their home, in which they teach guests about conservation. The Brekers were early adopters of no-till practices on the land where they raise corn, soybeans and cover crops. They run Coteau des Prairies, a lodge and eco-tourism learning experience that invites guests to see their farm’s conservation stewardship firsthand.
The North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition, North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts brought the award to North Dakota in 2016. Numerous other organizations also sponsor the award. The winners from the preceding years, Jerry Doan and Ken Miller, were on hand to present the Wilsons with a large sign proclaiming them the 2018 recipients.
The award is given by the Sand County Foundation, along with partners in 14 states: California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.