Finalists for Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award selected

Wisconsin State Farmer

Four finalists have been selected for the 2022 Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award®.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the prestigious award recognizes farmers and forestland owners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water, and wildlife habitat in their care.  

In Wisconsin the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, American Farmland Trust, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.  

Full Circle Farm

Full Circle Farm of Seymour in Shawano County

With nearly all of its 240 acres in pasture, Full Circle Farm of Seymour in Shawano County builds soil organic matter while sequestering carbon. Rick Adamski, Valerie Dantoin and their son Andrew rotationally graze beef cattle, raise pastured hogs and laying hens, and 10 acres of vegetables. Their farm’s woodlands, wetlands, natural pond, riparian buffers and fence lines provide habitat and migration corridors for wildlife, birds and beneficial pollinators.

Joe Hovel family of Conover in Vilas County

Joe Hovel

Joe Hovel of Conover protects unique and fragile habitats in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. A woodland owner since in the 1970s, he began prioritizing the protection of ecologically important parcels in Vilas County in the 80s. He now manages 3,300 acres in several counties, including Porcupine Tree Farm and the Upper Wisconsin River Legacy Forest. His County Line Wood Products evolved from picnic tables to log homes, employing local labor using local timber. Hovel is the president and founder of the Partners in Forestry Landowners Cooperative.

Noll’s Dairy Farm of Alma in Buffalo County

Noll’s Dairy Farm

The Noll family of Alma has practiced soil and water conservation efforts on their Buffalo County farm overlooking the Mississippi River for generations. Curtis, Mark, Scott Noll and their families, grow cover crops and utilize no-till and contour strip cropping practices to prevent soil erosion. They restored and actively manage an ecologically rare dry bluff prairie that is home to many endangered species. Their managed forest provides oak timber production and wildlife habitat.  

Tomandl Farms of Medford in Marathon and Taylor counties

Tomandl Farms

As former agriculture educators, Joe and Christy Tomandl of Medford regularly host pasture walks at their three dairy farms in Marathon and Taylor counties, where they show the benefits of rotational grazing and conservation practices. Joe leads the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, a first-of-its-kind program in the nation that helps others establish their own farms. In addition to a large wetland the Tomandls restored, they provide bird and wildlife habitat on pastures and woodlands.

This year’s recipient will be revealed at November’s meeting of the Wisconsin Board of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Earlier this year, owners of Wisconsin farmland and forests were encouraged to apply (or be nominated) for the award. Applications were reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation leaders.