Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees


Liam Migdail, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau

Casey Langan, Sand County Foundation
608-663-4605 ext. 32 | Email

For Immediate Release: Jan. 28, 2021

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Know a Pennsylvania farmer or forest landowner who goes above and beyond in the care and management of natural resources? Nominate them for the 2021 Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award®.

Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 22 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In Pennsylvania, the $10,000 award is presented with state partners: The Heinz Endowments and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

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.

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

The application deadline date is August 5, 2021. Applications can be emailed to If mailed, applications must be postmarked by August 5, and mailed to:

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau

c/o Joel Rotz

PO Box 8736

Camp Hill, PA 17001-8736

Applications are reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation leaders.

“We believe the Leopold Conservation Award, and the outstanding leadership in agriculture that it recognizes, plays an important role in encouraging the continued growth of Pennsylvania’s sustainable agriculture movement,” said Andrew McElwaine, Vice President of Sustainability for The Heinz Endowments.

“Many farmers across Pennsylvania have poured their sweat and resources into practices that benefit the land, water and natural resources and climate because they believe that environmental stewardship and smart farming go hand in hand,” said Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert. “We are encouraging Pennsylvania farmers to showcase their dedication to stewardship and innovative approaches to conservation by applying for the 2021 Leopold Conservation Award.”

“Pennsylvania farms sustain our lives and our economy,” Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “The Leopold Conservation Award recognizes farmers who exemplify our longstanding culture of protecting our precious soil and water resources and who are investing daily in a sustainable future.”

“As a national sponsor for Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award, American Farmland Trust celebrates the hard work and dedication of farmers, ranchers and forestland owners,” said John Piotti, AFT President and CEO. “At AFT we believe that conservation in agriculture requires a focus on the land, the practices and the people and this award recognizes the integral role of all three.”

“Recipients of this award are real life examples of conservation-minded agriculture,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer. “These hard-working families are essential to our environment, food system and rural economy.”

The Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award is made possible through the generous support from American Farmland Trust, The Heinz Endowments, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Sand County Foundation, USDA NRCS, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts.

The Leopold Conservation Award will be presented at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in January.

Pennsylvania’s 2020 Leopold Conservation Award was presented to Ben and Sharon Peckman, who own and operate Slate Ridge Dairy Farm near St. Thomas in Franklin County.

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The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. Sand County Foundation presents the award in California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont).


Sand County Foundation inspires and enables a growing number of private landowners to ethically manage natural resources in their care, so future generations have clean and abundant water, healthy soil to support agriculture and forestry, plentiful habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation.


American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through its No Farms, No Food message. Since its founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally sound farming practices on millions of additional acres, and supported thousands of farm families.


The Heinz Endowments is devoted to the mission of helping our region prosper as a vibrant center of creativity, learning, and social, economic and environmental sustainability. Core to our work is the vision of a just community where all are included and where everyone who calls southwestern Pennsylvania home has a real and meaningful opportunity to thrive.


Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.