SANDY - Sand County Foundation, the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, the Utah Cattlemen's Association, and Western AgCredit were pleased to present the 2010 Leopold Conservation Award to the Tanner family of Box Elder County and their Della Ranches.
"The Tanner family's commitment to the health of the natural resources is truly exemplary," said Dr. Brent Haglund, Sand County Foundation President. "Perhaps more importantly, they are dedicated to sharing their land management approach within and beyond the agricultural community."
The Tanner family has ranched in the Grouse Creek area of Box Elder County for more than 130 years, with brothers Blaine, Brent and Jay currently ranching in Grouse Creek Valley. The ranch is comprised of private, state- and federally-owned lands totaling approximately 192,000 acres of grazing and farm land.
The Tanners have provided exclosures located throughout the ranch to be used as monitoring tools for grazing and rangeland health projects, as recommended by rangeland specialists throughout the state.
"We believe that we should not only live on the land and make a living from it, but we should be striving to improve and conserve its precious natural resources," the Tanner family said in a statement. "This is accomplished only through a cooperative effort of not only ranch management, but also working with partners in conservation such as land management agencies and education specialists."
Conservation and environmental protection is important to the Tanner family, yet they know that those goals cannot be accomplished without a sustainable and economically viable cattle ranching enterprise. The Tanners feel conservation and sustainability are mutually beneficial to the land and the economics of their ranch.
The Leopold Conservation Award, named in honor of world-renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, is comprised of $10,000 and a Leopold crystal. The award is presented annually in eight states to private landowners who practice responsible land stewardship and management.
The Tanners were presented the Leopold Conservation Award Nov. 18 at the Utah Farm Bureau Annual convention in Layton.
"We are very excited to present this award on behalf of the farmers and ranchers of Utah," Leland Hogan said. "This award, however, is great for all of Utah because the recognition and funding helps to preserve and enhance our open space. Utah's farmers and ranchers have a long history of land preservation and a deep commitment to preserving Utah's natural resources. As stewards of the land we want to ensure that history continues well into the future."
The Leopold Conservation Award in Utah is made possible through the generous funding of the Bradley Fund for the Environment, Western AgCredit, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Utah Farm Bureau Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Utah Council of Farmer Cooperatives and Farm Credit.
Sand County Foundation (www.sandcounty.net) is a private, non-profit conservation group dedicated to working with private landowners to improve habitat on their land. Sand County's mission is to advance the use of ethical and scientifically sound land- management practices and partnerships for the benefit of people and their rural landscapes. Sand County Foundation works with private landowners because the majority of the nation's fish, wildlife, and natural resources are on private lands. The organization backs local champions, invests in civil society and places incentives before regulation to create solutions that endure and grow. The organization encourages the exercise of private responsibility in the pursuit of improved land health as an essential alternative to many of the commonly used strategies in modern conservation.
The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. The award consists of a crystal depiction of Aldo Leopold seated on a horse and a check for $10,000. In 2010, Sand County Foundation presented Leopold Conservation Awards in California, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The awards are presented to accomplish three objectives: First, they recognize extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation on the land of exemplary private landowners. Second, they inspire countless other landowners in their own communities through these examples. Finally, they provide a visible forum where leaders from the agriculture community are recognized as conservation leaders to groups outside of agriculture.