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Attending the 2017 Aldo Leopold Award announcement were, from left, Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, award winners Ken and Bonnie Miller, Gov. Doug Burgum, Jerry and Renae Doan, 2016 ALA winners; and Lance Irving, National Program Director Aldo Leopold Award, Sand County Foundation. (Photo courtesy of the North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition)

Morton County family wins 2017 North Dakota Leopold Conservation Award

MANDAN, N.D. – North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced that Ken and Bonnie Miller, Fort Rice, have been named the winners of the 2017 North Dakota Leopold Conservation Award® Sept. 12 at a dinner party held at Black Leg Ranch near McKenzie.

Miller Ranch was nominated by the Morton County Soil Conservation District, which wrote, “The Miller Ranch truly embodies the diversity North Dakota carries in its agricultural portfolio. From livestock to crops, from grazing to gardening, from dryland to irrigation, from commodity marketing to direct marketing and from family to agricultural advocacy, the Millers display and share it all confidently, yet humbly, with a land ethic that runs through and through.

The Millers accepted the honors at the ranch of the 2016 Aldo Leopold Conservation award winners Jerry and Renae Doan, and family. Honored guests attending the dinner party were Burgum, Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner and representatives from the ND Department of Agriculture, the Sand County Foundation and its North Dakota partners the North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition, North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts and the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association.

The Leopold Conservation Award, given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, honors a North Dakota landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

It inspires other landowners through example 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 Millers will receive $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold at a formal presentation in November at the North Dakota Association of Soil and Conservation Districts convention.

Visit for more information about Aldo Leopold and his legacy.