Ranchland Trust of Kansas, the Sand County Foundation and the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts (KACD) have named finalists for the 2018 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award. The award honors Kansas landowners for achievement in voluntary stewardship and dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. The finalists are Hoeme Family Farm and Ranch at Scott City, owned by Stacy Hoeme; Alexander Ranch of Sun City, owned by Ted and Brian Alexander; and Z Bar Ranch near Lake City, owned by Turner Enterprises and managed by Keith and Eva Yearout.
Stacy Hoeme and his son, Chaston, have been on the cutting edge of land-friendly farming practices that help their profits, wildlife and the environment. Cattle are rotationally grazed on land that also serves as habitat for the lesser prairie chicken.
Alexander Ranch has successfully used a rotational grazing system for nearly 30 years. The Alexanders have done extensive clearing of eastern red cedar trees to increase native plant and wildlife diversity, including habitat for lesser prairie chickens.
Z Bar Ranch is managed under a philosophy of economic sustainability and ecological sensitivity, with a focus on native species. The ranch raises grass forage to sustain a 1,200-head bison herd.
This year’s Kansas Leopold Award will be presented November 19 at the KACD Convention in Wichita. The winner will receive $10,000 and a crystal award depicting renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold.