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KGLC Board Member Environmental Stewardship Award

2S Land and Cattle Receives 2016 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award

Wichita, Kansas - (November 22) - Sand County Foundation, the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts (KACD) and the Ranchland Trust of Kansas (RTK), are proud to announce 2S Land and Cattle as the recipient of the 2016 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award®, which honors Kansas landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

Owned and managed by Randy and Nicole Small, 2S Land and Cattle is a sixth generation cattle ranch and crop farm in the Verdigris River Basin near the southeastern corner of Kansas. The Smalls work alongside their family, including their two young sons who have a budding interest in the family business and have even taken on the responsibility of planting their own crops.

The Smalls have long been considered leaders in relay cropping, which occurs when a second crop is planted into the first crop before harvest. Lespedeza is grown into their wheat crop and sold as seed to other producers, and red clover has been seeded to provide an emergency source of hay during dry years.

Rotational grazing occurs in 2-3 pasture rotations, and their stocking rates are dependent on the quality and type of pasture. The Smalls have purchased and leased several overgrazed pastures over the years, regenerating and building the native grass biodiversity over time with light grazing, patch burning and limited herbicide treatments. These efforts have paid off in productivity, often allowing the pastures to be stocked at heavier rates than neighboring paddocks.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. It inspires other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders. 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 $10,000 award and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold was presented to the Smalls at the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts Annual Convention in Wichita on November 21.

"The Kansas Association of Conservation Districts is proud to recognize the Smalls for their outstanding land stewardship," said Jim Krueger, KACD Executive Director. "The Smalls are incredibly deserving of this award. Their commitment to land health demonstrates how you can be successful in agriculture while conserving Kansas' natural resources."

"The Smalls are an extraordinary family that represents the best of voluntary conservation of our natural resources," said Bill Eastman, RTK Chair of the Board. "They do an incredible job balancing their love of the land and respect for wildlife with their farm and ranch needs."

The Leopold Conservation Award Program in Kansas is made possible thanks to the generous support of Clean Line Energy Partners, USDA NRCS Kansas, Ducks Unlimited, ITC Great Plains, Westar Energy, Kansas State Forestry, and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

Environmental Stewardship - Sproul Ranch - 2010 Region VII Award Winner

The Sproul Ranch, owned by Bill and Peggy Sproul, Sedan, Kan., is a 2010 regional Environmental Stewardship Award winner, representing Region VII of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. The Sprouls operate a cow-calf and stocker grazing operation on native tallgrass prairie rangeland in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Brian Obermeyer, Flint Hills project director for the Nature Conservancy, called this prairie "the most major altered habitat type in North America" and praised agricultural use in operations like the Sprouls for helping preserve it for future generations. Bill Sproul is so attuned to his land that he uses the viability of rangeland birds and wildlife to measure grassland health and the ability of the ranch to generate income. Sproul serves as a Board Director for KGLC.
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