Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation: Meuer Farm named 2015 Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award recipient

Contact: Chris Schellpfeffer, Sand County Foundation, 608.663.4605 ext. 31

MADISON, Wis. – (November 18, 2015) Sand County Foundation, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association are proud to announce Meuer Farm is the recipient of Wisconsin’s Leopold Conservation Award®. The award honors Wisconsin landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources. The announcement was made during the November 18 meeting of the Wisconsin Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Board in Madison. An independent judging panel made the selection September 17.

David and Leslie Meuer own and manage a diverse farm in Chilton. The Meuers raise cattle and egg layers; produce a variety of crops such as specialty grains, hay, alfalfa and strawberries; and host visitors at their corn maze and pumpkin patch. They also host farm-to-table dinners during the summer months and bring in local chefs to prepare meals featuring produce grown on the farm.

The Meuers installed stream bank fencing along the stream running through their property, which provides water for their cows. The fencing has reduced soil loss, keeping the stream cleaner as it heads to Lake Winnebago. For several years the Meuers have let their pastures grow naturally, allowing native grasses to flourish and seeds deposited by birds to grow into apple trees and gooseberry shrubs. The trees provide ample habitat for their bees and other pollinators that pollinate their strawberry fields.

“The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is pleased to support this important award,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Jim Holte. “Conservation is top of mind for farmers. Farm Bureau is very happy to recognize the Meuers for taking the responsibility of caring for their land and natural resources to a higher level.”

“The Meuers not only understand the importance of resource protection, they practice it in all they do on the farm,” said Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association Executive Director Jim VandenBrook. While the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association is honored to recognize their commitment to conservation, the land they steward so well tells the story much more powerfully.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the 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 2015 Leopold Conservation Award will be presented December 6 at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells. The award recipient will be presented with a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold and $10,000.

The Leopold Conservation Award in Wisconsin is made possible through the generous support of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Badgerland Financial, Alliant Energy Foundation, American Transmission Company, Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association, DuPont Pioneer, The Mosaic Company and The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

Visit http://www.leopoldconservationaward.org.

ABOUT THE LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. The award consists of $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold. Sand County Foundation presents Leopold Conservation Awards in California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

ABOUT SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION Sand County Foundation (http://www.sandcounty.net) 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.

ABOUT WISCONSIN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (http://www.wfbf.com) is Wisconsin’s largest general farm organization. It represents nearly 24,000 farms and agriculturists who belong to one of 61 county Farm Bureaus found across the state. Much like Wisconsin’s diverse agricultural landscape, Farm Bureau members represent all farm commodities, farm sizes and management styles. Farm Bureau’s mission is to lead the farm and rural community through legislative representation, education, public relations and leadership development.

ABOUT THE WISCONSIN LAND & WATER CONSERVATION ASSC. The Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association, a 501(c)3 non-profit, is a membership organization that supports the efforts of 450 Land Conservation Committee supervisors and 350 conservation staff in 72 county Land Conservation Department offices through training, conservation standards development, youth education, grants, partnership building, and advocacy.