Johnson Mountain Ranch Named 2014 Utah Leopold Conservation Award Recipient

Utah Land Conservation

Sand County Foundation in partnership with the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Utah Cattlemen’s Association, and Western AgCredit are proud to name Johnson Mountain Ranch as the recipient of the prestigious Utah Leopold Conservation Award.

Stuart and Carma Johnson, with their son Jared and his wife Ginger, own and operate the cattle ranch near Aurora.

The Leopold Conservation Award honors Utah landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources. The Johnsons were presented with a crystal award and $10,000 at the Utah Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Convention in Layton.

Finalists for the award included Jerrold Richins of Coalville, and William “Junior” Goring and son Blake of Deweyville.

The Johnsons graze cattle on different landscapes year round.  With help from partners, the family has worked to improve the health and productivity of the ranch.  Some of their conservation practices include a rotational grazing program, removing juniper and other brush, and reseeding spring range infested with cheat grass.

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.”

“We congratulate the Johnson family – and all the applicants – for this award, as they are examples of the commitment many of Utah’s farmers and ranchers have to taking care of the land and water of our great state,” said Leland Hogan, President of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. “The Johnson’s conservation ethic is rooted in all they do, and helps ensure they will continue to graze livestock for many years to come.”

“Western AgCredit congratulates the Johnson family for winning this prestigious award in recognition of their multigenerational conservation efforts. The four generations of Johnson’s who have been on their ranch are proof that sound conservation results can be achieved while simultaneously maintaining their ranch’s economic viability,” said Richard Weathered, president.  “Conservationist Aldo Leopold made the following challenge to stewards of the land: ‘Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and aesthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient.’ The Johnson family has achieved this critical balance.”

“The Utah Cattlemen’s Association is proud to be a part of a cooperative effort between Utah agriculture groups and Sand County Foundation to recognize landowners in Utah who practice outstanding stewardship and dedication to the principles of conservation,” said Brent Tanner, Executive Vice President, Utah Cattlemen’s Association.

The Leopold Conservation Award in Utah is made possible through the support of the Western AgCredit, Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Utah Cattlemen’s Association. Producers Livestock Marketing, The Nature Conservancy, DuPont Pioneer, Farm Credit, The Mosaic Company and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.