Leopold Conservation Award

Dedication to the land, water and wildlife resources in their care.

The Leopold Conservation Award Program recognizes agricultural landowners actively committed to a land ethic. It recognizes and celebrates extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation by private landowners, inspires countless other landowners by example and provides a prominent platform by which agricultural community leaders are recognized as conservation ambassadors to citizens outside of agriculture. The Leopold Conservation Award is a productive investment in private lands conservation that builds bridges between agriculture, government, environmental organizations, industry and academia to advance the cause of private lands conservation.
2021 Nominations are open – Apply by July 15

2020 Winner – Burroughs Family Farms, Stanislaus County

Rosie and Ward Burroughs and family at farm in Denair CA

Burroughs Family Farms of Denair, where Ward and Rose Marie Burroughs and their children raise dairy and beef cattle, poultry, eggs, almonds and olives. The organic farm has refined its systems to enhance water efficiency, improve soil fertility and increase biodiversity through actions including rotational grazing of cattle and chickens in orchards. The farm hosts research projects including studies of the carbon-sequestration benefits of reincorporating almond hulls into orchards after processing.

2020 Finalists

Leopold finalist and Stemple Creek owner Loren Poncia with his family, Lisa Poncia and daughters Avery (11yrs) and Julianna (8yrs) on rocks looking out over their ranch.

Stemple Creek Ranch of Tomales, where Loren and Lisa Poncia raise organic, grass-finished beef and lamb, and pastured pork. They have planted more than 10,000 trees and installed 5 miles of fencing to protect riparian areas, and use rotational grazing conducted with movable fencing. The ranch provides habitat for more than 50 species of birds, owls, ducks and bees.



Verwey Farms, Hanford, CAPhilip and Shelly Verwey , Frank and Kathy Cardoza and Brent and Camberia Verwey

Philip Verwey Farms of Hanford, where Philip and Shelley Verwey’s 9,500-cow dairy farm conserves water and energy while producing milk and electricity. The farm reuses water several times to chill milk tanks, clean the barn and parlor, and provide the herd’s drinking needs through a water recycling system. A covered-lagoon manure digester generates electricity for the farm’s buildings, irrigation wells—as well as for 3,000 area homes.