Hoeme Family Farm and Ranch of Scott City recently was selected as the recipient of the 2018 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award, according to a press release from the Sand County Foundation.

The foundation, the nation’s leading voice for private conservation, created the award to inspire American landowners by recognizing exceptional farmers, ranchers and foresters. The award, named in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, is given in 14 states.

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 $10,000 and a crystal award depicting Aldo Leopold.

Stacy Hoeme and his son, Chaston, farm about 9,000 acres along the Smoky Hill River, and another 10,000 acres in Scott County. For decades, the family has used limited tillage and crop rotation to promote soil health and manage water usage.

The Hoemes also have developed a cattle grazing program that recognizes that prairies require grazing and rest periods to maintain their natural productivity, according to the foundation press release. The diverse collection of plants on their pastures supports some of the largest known populations and densities of the lesser prairie chicken.

According to Sand County, the Hoemes' land was the focal point of the largest study ever conducted on lesser prairie chickens, and the family also participated in a large research project that sought to learn why the mule deer was in long-term decline.

The many insights gained on their land have influenced how government, conservation partners, and other landowners manage the landscape for wildlife, according to Sand County.

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, according to Sand County, and they also manage many food plots for deer, pheasants, bobwhite quail and migrating song birds.

Stacy Hoeme has twice been honored as Conservationist of the Year by the Kansas Wildlife Federation.

“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.”

The Leopold Conservation Award in Kansas is made possible thanks to the 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.