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News Release

Finalists Named for Kentucky’s First Annual Leopold Conservation Award

Steve Coleman

Sand County Foundation and the Kentucky Agricultural Council (KAC) are proud to announce the finalists for the prestigious 2013 Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award, which honors Kentucky landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources. 

The finalists are:

  • John Bednarski of LaGrange
  • Don and Meredith Halcomb of Adairville
  • Todd Clark of Lexington

John Bednarski and his wife Sylvia own Sherwood Acres LLC, a cattle operation outside of Louisville.

Don and Meredith Halcomb own and operate Walnut Grove Farms in southern Kentucky.

Todd Clark raises cattle, chickens and tobacco on Clark Family Farm in Fayette County.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the $10,000 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 Kentucky Agricultural Council is thrilled with the participation and enthusiasm within the agricultural community for the Leopold Conservation Award in Kentucky.  In this very first year, we received 19 high-quality applications and nominations from all across the Commonwealth,” said Kentucky Agricultural Council Chairman, Tony Brannon. “The judging panel, comprised of leaders within Kentucky Agriculture and the KAC, had to make extremely hard choices to narrow it down to these three finalists, two of which are proud first generation farmers. These three finalists truly represent award- winning Kentucky farmers who have taken a successful and thoughtful approach to modern production agriculture while practicing conservation and stewardship of our land.”

The Kentucky Agricultural Council will present a celebration of the finalists and name the award recipient at the Kentucky Ag Summit, November 14 and 15, 2013. Visit or


The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. The award consists of a crystal sculpture depicting Aldo Leopold and a check for $10,000. In 2013, Sand County Foundation will present Leopold Conservation Awards in California, Colorado, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Nationally, the Leopold Conservation Award is made possible thanks to the generous support of The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.


Sand County Foundation ( is a private, non-profit conservation group dedicated to working with private landowners to improve habitat on their land. Sand County’s mission is to advance the use of ethical and scientifically sound land management practices and partnerships for the benefit of people and their rural landscapes. Sand County Foundation works with private landowners because the majority of the nation’s fish, wildlife, and natural resources are found on private lands. The organization backs local champions, invests in civil society and places incentives before regulation to create solutions that endure and grow. The organization encourages the exercise of private responsibility in the pursuit of improved land health as an essential alternative to many of the commonly used strategies in modern conservation.


The Kentucky Agricultural Council (KAC) 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.