Hoeme Family Farm and Ranch receives 2018 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award
Hoeme Family Farm and Ranch of Scott City has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award.
Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for private conservation, created the Leopold Conservation Award to inspire American landowners by recognizing exceptional farmers, ranchers and foresters. The prestigious award, named in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, is given in 14 states.
In Kansas the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Kansas Association of Conservation Districts, and Ranchland Trust of Kansas.
Hoeme Family Farm and Ranch was revealed as this year’s recipient at the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts’ Annual Convention in Wichita on Nov. 19. The Hoeme family was presented with a $10,000 award and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold.
For decades the Hoemes have used limited tillage and crop rotation to promote soil health and manage water usage. Their land ethic involves strategies that far exceed those suggested by state and federal conservation programs.
The Hoemes developed a cattle grazing program that recognizes that prairies require grazing and rest periods to maintain their natural productivity. The diverse collection of plants on their pastures supports some of the largest known populations and densities of the lesser prairie chicken.
Their land was the focal point of the largest study ever conducted on lesser prairie chickens. It was just one way the family has been supportive of research on the rare bird.
The Hoemes also participated in a large research project that sought to learn why the mule deer was in long-term decline. Separately, when biologists from the Brule Sioux Reservation in South Dakota wanted to re-establish swift foxes on tribal lands, they captured, transported and released about 12 swift foxes from the Hoemes’ land.
The many insights gained on their land have influenced how government, conservation partners, and other landowners manage the landscape for wildlife.
The Hoemes were among western Kansas’ first ranches to fence off ponds to protect water quality and use solar power to pump water for their livestock. They manage many food plots for deer, pheasants, bobwhite quail and migrating song birds. In times of deep snow, the grain left standing may be their only easily accessed food for miles.
A frequent host for a variety of educational tours, the Hoemes have also stepped into political activism for agriculture and wildlife. An additional act of dedication to preserving the fragile, prairie environment found in Kansas is the family’s on-going plan to place their ranch in a conservation easement.
Such efforts are the reasons why Stacy has twice been honored as Conservationist of the Year by the Kansas Wildlife Federation. His land ethic is undeniable. Thousands of acres of perfect prairie as designed by Mother Nature exist due to decades of diligence by the Hoeme family.
“RTK appreciates the vast conservation work the Hoeme family has done and continues to do,” said Cade Rensink, Ranchland Trust of Kansas Board Chair. “We are very excited to be a partner in the annual recognition of top natural resource stewards in Kansas.”
Among the many outstanding Kansas landowners nominated for the award were finalists: Alexander Ranch in Sun City, and Z Bar Ranch in Lake City.
The 2017 recipient was Lazy VJ Farms of Fredonia.
The Leopold Conservation Award in Kansas is made possible thanks to the generous contributions from Ducks Unlimited, ITC Great Plains, Westar Energy, Clean Line Energy Partners, Kansas Forest Service, Kansas Department of Agriculture (Division of Conservation), Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, The Nature Conservancy, and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
For more information on the award, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org.
Sign up for HPJ Insights
Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest news straight to your inbox including breaking news, our exclusive columns and much more.