Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award seeks nominees

Casey Langan
Sand County Foundation
David Geiser, of New Holstein, checks the growth of a perennial forage stand with the Gold Star farmstead buildings in the background. Geiser was the 2018 Leopold Conservation Award winner.

Know a Wisconsin farmer or forester who goes above and beyond in the care and management of natural resources? Nominate them for the 2019 Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award®.

Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for the conservation of private land, presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 13 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In Wisconsin the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association.  

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes landowners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac,” Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage.

David Geiser, with wife, Deb Reinhart, and son, Joshua.

Nominations may be submitted on behalf of a landowner, or landowners may nominate themselves. The application can be found at:

Applications must be postmarked by Aug. 5, 2019. Mail applications to: Leopold Conservation Award, c/o Sand County Foundation, 131 W. Wilson Street, Suite 610, Madison, WI 53703. 

“Leopold Conservation Award recipients are at the forefront of a movement by America’s farmers and ranchers to simultaneously achieve economic and environmental success,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer.

“This award showcases outstanding farmers who are going above and beyond to make sure they are protecting land and water resources for the next generation,” said Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau President. “I know many of our state’s farmers have already implemented sustainable farming practices and could easily fit the criteria. I encourage all who are eligible to apply.”

“Dairy farmers have a long history of nurturing and protecting the natural resources within their care. The Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and the dairy farm families we represent are proud to again sponsor the Leopold Conservation Award,” said Patrick Geoghegan, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin Senior Vice President of Marketing and Industry Relations.

“Locally led conservation would not be nearly as effective without the hard work and collaboration with farmers across Wisconsin. Environmental stewardship is an indivisible part of sustainable agriculture and Leopold Conservation Award nominees are models for successfully applying those practices,” said Matt Krueger, Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association Executive Director.

The Leopold Conservation Award Program in Wisconsin is made possible thanks to the generous support of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association, American Transmission Company, Compeer Financial, We Energies Foundation, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board, Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, and McDonald’s.

The Leopold Conservation Award will be presented at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in December.

The first Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award recipient was selected in 2006. David Geiser of New Holstein received the award in 2018.