Finalists have been selected for the prestigious 2022 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award®.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes ranchers, farmers, and forestland owners who inspire others with their voluntary conservation efforts on private, working lands.

Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award to landowners in 24 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. 

In Colorado, the $10,000 award is presented with the Colorado Cattlemen’s AssociationColorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land TrustTri-State Generation and Transmission AssociationUSDA-Natural Resources Conservation ServiceGates Family FoundationAmerican AgCreditCoBankFarm Credit of Southern Colorado, and Premier Farm Credit.

The finalists are:

  • Pankey Ranch of Craig, Colorado: Keith and Shelley Pankey and their family raise beef cattle and hay in Moffat and Routt counties. With solar pumps, revamped wells and pipelines, they’ve developed dependable water resources for livestock, big game and birds. With increased wildlife habitat the Pankeys provide public hunting, while preserving the Greater Sage-Grouse population. By reseeding stream banks and planting hundreds of willow trees they are preventing soil erosion. Their efforts to control noxious weeds have led to reestablishment of desirable native grasses.
  • Round River Resource Management LLC of Rush, Colorado: Since establishing Round River Resource Management LLC (RRRM), a land and livestock management company in 2008, Louis Martin’s team implements regenerative practices on cattle ranches in collaboration with landowners, federal and state agencies, conservation and community groups. RRRM manages the Bret Gray Ranch in Lincoln County and the BX Ranch in Pueblo County. Improved grazing and watering systems are regenerating the ecosystem. These efforts reduce soil erosion, enhance water quality downstream, and help control flooding.

This year’s recipient will be announced in April. The formal award presentation will take place on June 13, 2022 at the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association’s Annual Convention in Colorado Springs. 

“As the national sponsor for Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award, American Farmland Trust celebrates the hard work and dedication of the Colorado award finalists,” said John Piotti, AFT President and Chief Executive Officer. “At AFT we believe that conservation in agriculture requires a focus on the land, the practices and the people and this award recognizes the integral role of all three.”

“Colorado’s farming and ranching families feed a growing society through sustainable production practices that produce more by using less, all the while benefitting our communities, economy, and environment,” said Steve Wooten, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association President. “CCA celebrates the Leopold Conservation Award recipients and applicants for their commitment to outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements on working lands.” 

“Celebrating the voluntary conservation accomplishments of Colorado’s farmers and ranchers is a highlight of our work. And the 2022 Leopold Conservation Award nominees and applicants certainly showcase the diversity of agriculture, land management, and conservation ethics in Colorado,” said Erik Glenn, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust Executive Director. “We are honored to help tell the story of agriculturalists and their dedication to the lands they steward, their communities, and their families.” 

“These award finalists are examples of how Aldo Leopold’s land ethic is alive and well today. Their dedication to conservation shows how individuals can improve the health of the land while producing food and fiber,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and CEO.

To learn more about previous recipients, including the 2021 recipient, May Ranch of Lamar, Colorado, visit https://www.sandcountyfoundation.org/colorado.    

The Leopold Conservation Award in Colorado is made possible by generous contributions from the American Farmland Trust, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Sand County Foundation, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, American AgCredit, CoBank, Farm Credit of Southern Colorado, Premier Farm Credit, Gates Family Foundation, Stanko Ranch, Colorado Department of Agriculture, The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, The Nature Conservancy in Colorado, and McDonald’s.

For more information on the award, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org.

Pankey Ranch
Round River Resource Management LLC

By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.