Celebrating Agriculture’s Leadership In Conservation
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
In South Dakota, agriculture is a tradition and a way of life. As our No. 1 industry, agriculture defines who we are as South Dakotans and the practices that we pass on from generation to generation.
One of those practices is conservation. No one understands the importance of being good stewards of the land better than our farmers and ranchers. Their livelihoods depend on it. Because 80 percent of land in our state is privately owned, conservation efforts employed by farmers and ranchers are integral to the quality of our natural resources.
Each year in conjunction with Earth Day, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Grassland Coalition and Sand County Foundation bestow the Leopold Conservation Award on a farming or ranching family that demonstrates outstanding land, water and wildlife conservation.
This year’s Leopold Conservation Award recipient, Jorgensen Land and Cattle, knows what it means to be a good steward of the land. The Jorgensens’ management style on their farm and ranch near Ideal – which consists of 10,000 acres of non-irrigated cropland, 850 head of cattle and a hunting lodge – demonstrates that good conservation practices can benefit the environment and a family’s bottom line. They believe the soil is their greatest asset, which is why they have been no-till since 1991. Their decisions are always based on a personal responsibility to care for and improve the land.
I congratulate the Jorgensens on winning this award. I am grateful for their stewardship and for all landowners across South Dakota who treat the environment with such care. Their passion and dedication help ensure our natural resources will be there for generations to come.