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Three finalists selected for Montana Leopold Conservation Award

Given in honor of conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes farmers, ranchers, foresters and other landowners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land.

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A butterfly in wildflowers on Conservation Reserve Program land. (Liz Harder / Harder Stock)

Three finalists have been selected for the prestigious Montana Leopold Conservation Award.

Given in honor of conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes farmers, ranchers, foresters and other landowners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land.

This is the third year the $10,000 award has been presented in Montana.

The Leopold Conservation Award is presented to private landowners in 22 states with a variety of conservation, agricultural and forestry organizations. In Montana, Sand County Foundation and national sponsor, American Farmland Trust, present the award with the State of Montana, and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s Rangeland Resources Committee.

The finalists are:

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  • Hidden Hollow Hideaway Cattle and Guest Ranch of Townsend in Broadwater County: The Flynn family’s weed control efforts coupled with a deferred rotational grazing system created better forage for livestock and quality wildlife habitat. The family, led by the late Kelly Flynn , used conservation practices to develop a park-like paradise for hunters and summer vacationers. They’ve showed visitors that you can log timber, raise livestock, and still experience a beautiful landscape.
  • Pete and Meagan Lannan of Livingston in Park County: Regenerative agriculture practices used at Barney Creek Livestock are improving the soil and building the resiliency of rangeland. Intensive rotational grazing of their beef cattle is designed around being ecologically and economically profitable. Efforts such as fencing off riparian areas are improving water quality while providing quality habitat for wildlife including sandhill cranes, bees and mule deer.
  • Peterson Angus Ranch of Drummond in Granite County: Randy and Sue Peterson’s cattle ranch is situated in the grassland foothills of the John Long Mountains. Their ranch management prioritizes stewardship of soils, native grassland, wetlands, and other high-quality wildlife habitat. The Petersons share their ranch with scientists, educators, hunters and the general public to advance education, ecology and conservation. They employ innovative grazing practices that balance livestock production with ecosystem protection.

Earlier this year, Montana landowners were encouraged to apply (or be nominated) for the award. Applications were reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation leaders.
The award recipient will be revealed at the Montana Range Tour on Sept. 8. Last year’s recipient was C Lazy J Livestock, owned by Craig and Conni French of Malta in Phillips County.

The Montana Leopold Conservation Award is supported by American Farmland Trust, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s Rangeland Resources Committee, Sand County Foundation, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Sibanye-Stillwater, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, World Wildlife Fund, C Lazy J Livestock Inc., Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, McDonald’s, Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Ranchers Stewardship Alliance, Society for Range Management-Northern Great Plains Section, Soil and Water Conservation Society, and The Wildlife Society of Montana.

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

Related Topics: AGRICULTURESOIL HEALTH
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