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LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARDS SEEKS NOMINEES: CALIFORNIA FARMERS AND RANCHERS MANAGING THEIR LAND AND RESOURCES SUSTAINABLY

April 19, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - For the first time, the Leopold Conservation Award will be presented in 2006 to a California landowner who demonstrates responsible stewardship and management of natural resources. Nominations of California farmers and ranchers are sought for the $10,000 prize.

"We're proud to bring the Leopold Conservation Award to California in partnership with Sustainable Conservation and the California Farm Bureau Federation to honor the voluntary conservation work of private landowners in the Golden State," said Dr. Brent Haglund, President of Sand County Foundation, the award's sponsor. "California has extraordinary natural resources, a strong and diverse agricultural sector, and untold opportunities for effective conservation."

Given in honor of Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In his influential book, A Sand County Almanac (1949), Aldo 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 land ethic described by Aldo Leopold is alive and well today in California," said Ashley Boren, Executive Director of Sustainable Conservation. "From protecting streams to restoring habitat, from harvesting trees sustainably to growing crops responsibly, California private landowners can contribute to a healthy environment and a healthy economy every day."

"The Leopold Conservation Award shines a spotlight on the California farmers, ranchers and foresters around the state who demonstrate this ethic through responsible management of the land and natural resources," said Doug Mosebar, President of California Farm Bureau. "It's important to not only recognize their achievements but also to inspire other landowners to take a more active role in protecting and restoring the environment."

The Leopold Conservation Award will be presented annually in California beginning in 2006 by Sand County Foundation, Sustainable Conservation and California Farm Bureau. Nominations will be considered in three categories: Nurseries and Crops; Dairy, Beef and Poultry; and Rangeland and Timber.

The California Award will be presented December 4, 2006 at the California Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in Anaheim, at the opening plenary session.

The nomination deadline is July 14, 2006. For more information, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org, email suscon@suscon.org or call (415) 977-0380.

ABOUT SAND COUNTY 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. For more information, visit www.sandcounty.net.

ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU
The California Farm Bureau Federation (Farm Bureau) is California's largest farm organization, comprised of 53 county Farm Bureaus representing over 88,000 members throughout California, including farm families and those who support the farming way of life. It is a non-governmental, non-profit, voluntary membership organization whose purpose is to represent, protect and promote agricultural interests throughout the State of California and to find solutions to the problems of the farm, the farm home and the rural community. The California Farm Bureau strives to protect and improve the ability of farmers and ranchers engaged in production agriculture to provide a safe and reliable supply of food, fiber, and flowers through responsible stewardship of their resources. For more information, visit www.cfbf.com.

ABOUT SUSTAINABLE CONSERVATION
Sustainable Conservation partners with business, agriculture and government to find practical ways that the private sector can protect clean air, clean water and healthy ecosystems. The independent nonprofit organization leads powerful collaborations that produce lasting solutions and sustain the vitality of both the economy and the environment. Recent accomplishments include: establishing a statewide methane digester program for California dairy farmers to generate renewable energy; demonstrating "conservation tillage," which decreases particulate air pollution while reducing farmers' energy and labor costs; establishing a set of business practices for automobile recyclers to keep toxic materials out of the waterways; and creating a regulatory framework for private landowners to get prompt one-stop approval of sound habitat restoration projects. The organization received the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2004.

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