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Utah finalists for Leopold Conservation Award namedUtah finalists for Leopold Conservation Award named

The conservation recognition highlights the work of operations in the state.

October 16, 2018

2 Min Read
CONSERVATION FINALISTS: Utah has named three ranchers as finalists for the Utah Leopold Conservation Award. All use practices that boost soil health, enhance habitat for wildlife and improve the land they use.Stephen Pawlawski/Getty Images

Conservation is an important role that farmers and ranchers take very seriously. In early November, three Utah operations will be honored for their work as finalists for the 2018 Utah Leopold Conservation Award.

The award, named for the conservationist Aldo Leopold, recognizes farmers, ranchers and foresters who inspire others through their work on the land, and water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. In Utah, the $10,000 award is presented each year by Sand County Foundation, Western AgCredit, Utah Farm Bureau Federation and Utah Cattlemen’s Association.

This year’s three finalists are:

Basque Cross Ranch, Park Valley, Utah. Lance and Emilie Westmoreland purchased the ranch in 1989 and have worked to improve irrigation and cattle watering systems. Thousands of acres of unproductive black greasewood shrubs were converted to productive native grasses that beef cattle can graze in the winter. The family received the Society of Range Management’s Rancher of the Year award in 2010.

Ercanbrack Livestock, Coalville, Utah. For decades, Ed Ercanbrack and his family have worked to improve soil health and forage production on their cattle operation. The family has partnered with others to improve wildlife habitat and water quality; their conservation work includes regeneration of aspen tree groves. The ranch also hosts youth day camps and conducts outreach on agricultural and conservation issues.

JY Ferry and Son, Corinne, Utah. John, Ben and Joel Ferry own and operate a ranch that encompasses more than 35,000 acres of irrigated farmland, wetlands and rangeland. The Ferrys have implemented new practices to improve soil health, grazing techniques and water quality. Using rotational grazing, cover crops and no-till practices has helped improve soils, crops, cattle and wildlife on the ranch.

The finalists will be recognized Nov. 1 at the Utah Association of Conservation Districts luncheon in St. George. The award recipient will be formally presented Nov. 16, at the Utah Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Layton.

The 2017 recipient was Fred Thurston, a rancher from Morgan in Morgan County.

The Leopold Conservation Award in Utah is made possible thanks to the generous contributions of Western AgCredit, Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Utah Cattlemen’s Association, Utah Association of Conservation Districts, The Nature Conservancy, Utah Wool Growers Association, Producers Livestock Marketing Association, and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

Sand County Foundation presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 14 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. To read the stories of other extraordinary landowners, visit leopoldconservationaward.org.


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