Sand County Foundation, the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, the Utah Cattlemen's Association and Western AgCredit have announced the finalists for the coveted 2011 Leopold Conservation Award.
While the winner of the prize of $10,000 will not be announced until Nov. 17, those in the running include:
n Karl and Raymond Heaton, Kane County
n Osguthrorpe Family, Red Pine Land and Livestock, Summit County
n Dennis Stowell Family, Iron County
n Fred Thurston, Morgan County
"The diversity of these agricultural operations is remarkable, yet they all share a commitment to enhancement of Utah's natural resources," says Brent Haglund, Sand County Foundation president. "These finalists are examples of the determination, innovation and dedication that characterize agricultural families across Utah."
The Leopold Conservation Award is among the top ag prizes presented in the West, and those winning the prize are considered to be among the most influential trend-setters for conservation in the region as well in the Midwest.
The prize is named in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold who died in 1948. Among his many writings on ecology was A Sand County Almanac, which sold two million copies.
Published after Leopold's death, one of the thematic phrases he wrote was "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends to do otherwise."
The finalists will be formally recognized at a Nov. 3 meeting of the Utah Association of Conservation Districts in St. George. The annual recipient will be announced during the Utah Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting on Nov. 17 in Layton.
The Leopold award is a competitive prize recognizing landowner achievement n voluntary conservation. The recipient will receive a crystal depiction of Aldo Leopold seated on a horse and a $10,000 check.
The awards are presented in Colorado, Wyoming, California, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin as well as in Utah.
The Sand County Foundation is a not for profit conservation group working with private landowners to improve habitat on their land.