Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award's Finalists Named - Kentucky Farm Bureau

Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award's Finalists Named

Posted on Jun 1, 2018

May 24, 2018

FRANKFORT, KY. – Three finalists have been named for the prestigious 2018 Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award®.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes those who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. 

In Kentucky the $10,000 award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, Kentucky Agricultural Council and the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts. 

The finalists are:

  • Dr. James W. Middleton raises beef cattle near Munfordville, where he has converted many acres to hay fields and forests. He has restored native grasslands to pastures, planted 100,000 hardwood trees along two miles of frontage along the Green River. A commercial hunting business and timber sales from managed forests provide additional farm revenue.   
  • Edward Trunnell owns and manages Trunnell Farms near Utica. The 1,600-acre farm produces corn, wheat, hay, soybeans, pumpkins and other vegetables. No-till practices are used on nearly all of the cropland. Water control basins and diversion structures have been built to reduce water runoff and erosion. Substantial wooded areas provide wildlife habitat.
  • James R. ‘Buddy’ and Sandie Smith own JRS Angus Farm near Lawrenceburg in Anderson County. Their 385 acres consists of 335 acres of pasture and hay fields, and 20 acres of woodland. Their use of rotational grazing systems and cover crops provide feed for their herd of Angus beef cattle, reduces soil erosion and benefits wildlife and pollinators.

“The Kentucky Agricultural Council is proud to once again partner with the Sand County Foundation and the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts to recognize exceptional stewardship and conservation practices among Kentucky’s private landowners,” said John W. McCauley, Kentucky Agricultural Council President. “The finalists for the 2018 Leopold Award are extraordinary.”

“KACD and conservation districts promote the sound management of all our natural resources and we are excited to join Sand County Foundation and the Kentucky Agricultural Council in recognizing these well deserving landowners in Kentucky,” said David Rowlett, Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts President. “The Association and conservation districts work daily to assist private landowners in their efforts to adopt sound soil and water conservation practices on their land that benefit us all.”

The award will be presented at the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts Convention on July 10, 2018. 

The 2017 recipient was Tallow Creek Farm of Bradfordsville. 

The Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award is made possible thanks to the generous support and partnership of Kentucky Agricultural Council, Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts, Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Kentucky Woodland Owner’s Association, Kentucky Tree Farm Committee, Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association, AgriBusiness Association of Kentucky, and the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Sand County Foundation, the nation’s leading voice for conservation of private land, presents the Leopold Conservation Award to private landowners in 14 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. 

For more information on the award, visit


The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. Sand County Foundation presents the award in California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 

SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to working with private landowners across North America to advance ethical and scientifically sound land management practices that benefit the environment.

KENTUCKY AGRICULTURAL COUNCIL is a 501(c)(3) organization consisting of some 80 agricultural organizations representing all sectors of Kentucky agriculture. The membership is composed of commodity groups, state and federal agricultural organizations, agricultural trade organizations and the state’s institutions of higher education that serve Kentucky agriculture. The KAC functions as an umbrella group and hub for its members, disseminating information and promoting coordination among all agricultural organizations and sectors. Since 2006, the KAC also has served as the “steward of strategic planning” for the future of Kentucky agriculture and Kentucky’s rural communities.

KENTUCKY ASSOCIATION OF CONSERVATION DISTRICTS is 501(c)(3) organization consisting of Kentucky’s local conservation districts and watershed conservancy districts. KACD encourages the exchange of information relating to the administration and operation of conservation districts and watershed conservancy districts; to affect cooperation between districts and agencies and organizations concerned with any and all phases of soil and water conservation; to promote the welfare of conservation districts and watershed conservancy districts and the people therein; and to maintain strong and active membership in both KACD and the National Association of Conservation Districts.