Three Kansas ranches have been named finalists for the Kansas Leopold Conservation Award.
The award honors Kansas landowners for achievement in voluntary stewardship and natural resource management.
The finalists are the Vorhees family, owners of Lazy VJ Farms near Fredonia; Ted and Brian Alexander, owners of Alexander Ranch at Sun City; and Beaver Creek Buffalo of Goodland.
Rotational grazing and cross-fencing are used to prevent overgrazing in the Vorhees family's cow-calf operation. They also have created wetlands, buffers and riparian areas to improve water quality, reduce soil erosion and provide wildlife habitat.
Alexander Ranch successfully has used a rotational grazing system for nearly 30 years. The Alexanders also have done extensive clearing of eastern red cedar trees and increased native plant and wildlife diversity. Beaver Creek is managed by Ken and Laurie Klemm, while partnering with Peter and Marian Thieriot on a meat marketing venture known as The Buffalo Guys. The ranch is managed using holistic practices and is a frequent site for conservation experimentation.
The 2017 Leopold Award will be presented November 20 at the KACD Convention in Wichita. A check for $10,000 and a crystal depicting renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold will be awarded to the overall winner.