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Serving: KS

Leopold Conservation Award nominations open

CarbonBrain/Getty Images Creek winding through Kansas pasture
CONSERVATION AWARD: Nominations are now open for the 2022 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award. The $10,000 award recognizes private landowners for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation.
Kansas Digest: Workshops focus on farmers markets; Corn STEM program, Farmer Veteran fund accepting applications.

Know a Kansas farmer, rancher or forestland owner who goes above and beyond to care and manage their natural resources? Nominations are now open for the 2022 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award.

Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 23 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In Kansas, the $10,000 award is presented with the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts and the Ranchland Trust of Kansas.

“Conserving our state’s rich and diverse natural resources is ingrained deeply in the culture of our multigenerational farms and ranches,” Kansas Agriculture Secretary Mike Beam says. “The Leopold Conservation Award serves an important role of reminding the general public of how private land managers conserve and enhance these resources for future generations.”

Nominations can be submitted on behalf of a landowner, or landowners may nominate themselves, and all are reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservations leaders.

Applications are due June 1, and can be found at sandcountyfoundation.org.

Farmers market virtual workshops

The Kansas Department of Agriculture and K-State Research and Extension will offer virtual workshops Jan. 31 to Feb. 4 to assist farmers market vendors and managers, and also for those wanting to sell food products directly to consumers.

The workshop series includes four online Lunch and Learn sessions, followed by a half-day virtual workshop. Some K-State Research and Extension offices will be offering in-person watch parties for the Feb. 4 half-day workshop.

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen an increase in people’s enthusiasm for locally sourced food, and these workshops will address common questions and concerns for farmers and small businesses who are embracing these opportunities to reach local consumers,” says Londa Nwadike, food safety specialist with K-State Research and Extension and the University of Missouri. “It’s also important for farmers to understand certain legal, safety and financial parameters before choosing to sell either directly to the consumer or at a farmers market.”

Registration is $5 per participant and can be found at fromthelandofkansas.com.

Kansas Corn STEM education program

Kansas Corn STEM is accepting applications from teachers for its 2022 Seed to STEM workshops for middle school and high school teachers this summer. Seed to STEM Track 1.0 and Track 2.0 will both be available June 13-14 in Salina, and June 16-17 in Topeka.

These free workshops are geared toward sixth through 12th grade Kansas science teachers. Those teachers selected will practice more than 10 labs they can use in the classroom to help students learn science and the roles science plays in agriculture. Each workshop includes a farm and field visit, an ag industry dinner, and a field trip to an ethanol plant. And every teacher selected will receive $500 in free lab resources and all on-site expenses will be paid.

The 1.0 Track is available to teachers who have never participated before, and applications are due April 1. The 2.0 Track is aimed for returning teachers, and applications are due March 1.

Middle school teachers can apply at kscorn.com, while high school teachers can apply at kscorn.com.

Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund

Now in its 11th year, the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund has granted more than $3.5 million in support of more than 800 military veterans pursuing careers in agriculture. These grants help beginning farmers and ranchers overcome the hurdle of access to startup capital.

Applications for funding in the 2022 cycle opened Jan. 3 and will be accepted through Feb. 14. Rachel Petitt, program director, says the fund anticipates raising $500,000 to give out to this year’s class of fellows. To apply, visit farmvetco.org.

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