Cover photo for Leopold Conservation Award

Leopold Conservation Award

Sand County Foundation

The Leopold Conservation Award Program recognizes agricultural landowners actively committed to a land ethic. Sand County Foundation, national sponsor American Farmland Trust and several prominent state conservation partners present the prestigious honor, which consists of $10,000 and a crystal award, in settings that showcase the landowners’ achievements among their peers.

The Leopold Conservation Award is a productive investment in private lands conservation. 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. Finally, the program builds bridges between agriculture, government, environmental organizations, industry and academia to advance the cause of private lands conservation. Watch this video to learn more about the Leopold Conservation Award.

The Leopold Award is adiminstered separately in each state, with slightly different application details and deadlines in the beginning of the calendar year.


Although the specifics within each category may vary slightly from state to state, these are the base criteria that are used by an independent panel of agricultural professionals in each state to evaluate each application for the Leopold Conservation Award.


The award seeks landowners who have voluntarily exceeded the minimum obligations of regulation to enhance and conserve natural resources.


The award seeks landowners who have used business and conservation methods to make their operation productive into the future.


The award seeks nominees who have shared their conservation ethic and techniques with others insider and outside of agriculture, through community service, leadership roles and media outreach.


The award seeks landowners who have taken risks by utilizing or experimenting with new techniques to adapt a change (consumers, markets, weather, regulations, etc.).


The award seeks landowners with farms, ranches and forests that work with natural systems (soil, water, plants and wildlife, etc.) and benefits others.

Application Instructions

To apply, go to this page, click the link for your state and follow the application instructions.


Financial Instrument


Minimum Award Amount


Maximum Award Amount


Updated March 22, 2024

Image Credit: Kelly Sikkema

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