Leopold Award finalists announced for 2018

The Sand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation are proud to announce the 2018 finalists for the prestigious California Leopold Conservation Award®. The award honors private landowner achievement in the voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources. The finalists are:

 • Lundberg Family Farms, Butte County, is a multi-generation organic rice farm and rice-products company. The Lundberg family has a long commitment to sustainable farming practices that care for the soil, wildlife, air and water. Their conservation achievements include growing rice following national organic standards, utilizing natural methods of pest control, and flooding fields to break down rice stubble and to provide habitat for millions of migrating waterfowl each winter.

• Rominger Brothers Farm, Inc., Yolo County, is a  diversified farm and ranch owned and operated by fifth-generation farming brothers Bruce and Rick. They grow a variety of vegetable, tree, fruit and grain crops, having spent the last 30 years evolving their operation into a model of sustainability. Included in their list of accomplishments is growing their main crop, tomatoes, with water-wise drip irrigation and in-field moisture sensors to ensure they’re applying no more water than their crops need.

• Sweet Haven Dairy, Fresno County, a dairy run by brothers Donny and Andy Rollins. The brothers’ conservation commitment led them to test and scale an underground water-wise drip irrigation system to grow cow feed in lieu of the standard irrigation technique of flooding fields. This and other water-saving practices have helped them reduce their water use by 50% and save tens of millions of gallons of water each year. The brothers are also pioneers in the use of conservation tillage on their cow-feed crops.

 The 2018 California Leopold Conservation Award will be presented in December at the California Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in San Diego. Each finalist will be recognized at the event. The award recipient will receive a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold and $10,000.