Leopold Conservation Award Finalists Announced

Taylor HillmanGeneral

Sand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation are proud to announce the finalists for the prestigious California Leopold Conservation Award®, which honors private landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

The finalists are:
Full Belly Farm, Yolo County
Hafenfeld Ranch, Kern County
Kautz Farms, San Joaquin County

Full Belly Farm is a certified organic farm owned by Andrew Brait, Paul Muller, Judith Redmond and Dru Rivers. It produces a large diversity of crops that are sold year-round directly to consumers. The owners strive to balance the farm’s bottom line with environmentally sound practices to support the local food economy. The farm has an extensive education and outreach program, including popular tours, events, class visits, a children’s summer camp and a farm internship program.

Hafenfeld Ranch is owned by Bruce and Sylvia Hafenfeld and operated with their son and his wife, Eric and Jamie. They manage certified organic cattle pastures on the family ranch and their leases with the U.S. Forest Service and Audubon’s Kern River Preserve. The ranch has a Southwestern willow flycatcher mitigation easement that demonstrates how cattle, wildlife and water management are tied together. The Hafenfeld’s land stewardship also includes erosion control, installation of wildlife-friendly water systems, and improved irrigation infrastructure to more efficiently use water and manage water quality.

Kautz Farms is owned by John and Gail Kautz and includes vineyards in Lodi and the Sierra Foothills. The Kautzes have been technological pioneers, bringing drip irrigation to California, implementing natural methods for combating damaging insects and other sustainable practices in their vineyards. Wastewater from their winery is now naturally treated on-site for field irrigation. Kautz Farms steadfastly advocates for California agriculture and agriculture education.

Hear from past recipients:
Craig McNamara, Sierra Orchards
Jill Giacomini-Basch, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company

The 2014 California Leopold Conservation Award will be presented December 8 at the California Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Garden Grove. Each finalist will be recognized at the event. The award recipient will be presented with a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold and $10,000.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”

The Leopold Conservation Award program inspires other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders.

The California Leopold Conservation Award is made possible thanks to generous contributions from many organizations including the California Farm Bureau Federation, Sustainable Conservation, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, American Ag Credit, Farm Credit, DuPont Pioneer and The Mosaic Company.