Blair Brothers Angus Ranch to Receive South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award

In conjunction with Earth Day, Governor Kristi Noem announced that Blair Brothers Angus has been selected for the South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award®.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist, Aldo Leopold, this award recognizes private landowners who inspire others with their dedication to the land, water, and wildlife resources in their care.

In South Dakota, the award is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and the South Dakota Grassland Coalition. The Blairs will be presented with the $10,000 award at the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association’s Annual Convention in Rapid City, December 1-2.

“South Dakota feeds the world, and with that job comes the responsibility to conserve our own national resources,” said Noem. “The innovation and stewardship of South Dakotans like the Blairs ensure that our beautiful state will continue to thrive for future generations.”

About the winner:

Brothers Ed and Rich Blair, and their sons Chad and Britton are the namesakes of Blair Brothers Angus Ranch. The cow-calf, stocker, and feed lot business spans 40,000 acres of deeded and leased rangeland near Sturgis and Vale in western South Dakota. Embracing conservation practices that enhance soil, water, livestock, and wildlife has allowed the ranch to evolve and grow with each generation since Enos Blair established it more than a century ago.

“Leave it better than you found it” is more than a familiar motto. It describes the land ethic that drives this South Dakota cattle ranching family.

Today, in addition to providing leadership to livestock and general agriculture organizations, the family has formed working partnerships with local, state, and national agencies and organizations to learn new conservation practices.

In an area that receives an average of just 14 inches of annual rainfall, the Blairs know that overgrazing would be detrimental to the soil, plants, livestock, wildlife, watershed, and economics of their ranch. By coupling rotational grazing, cover crops, and no-till practices on cropland, the Blairs have improved water infiltration and soil health. Their improvements have benefitted habitat for deer, antelope, insect pollinators, pheasants, and 17 other species of nesting birds.

For more information on the award, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org

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