Sand County Foundation and Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation are proud to announce Cates Family Farm is the recipient of the prestigious Leopold Conservation Award, which honors Wisconsin landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.
The award announcement was made during the November 13 meeting of the Wisconsin Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Board in Madison.
Dick and Kim Cates operate Cates Family Farm, a grass-fed beef enterprise near Spring Green in Iowa County. The farm includes 700 acres of managed grazing land and 200 acres of managed forest. They direct market their pasture-raised steers to grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias and households around southern Wisconsin and the Chicago area.
Since 1987, the Cates have worked to make the family farm more environmentally sound and profitable. They adopted rotational grazing practices and created a managed grazing system included subdivision fencing and stream crossings for livestock. They encouraged the revitalization of a native oak savannah and care for Lowery Creek, a trout stream that runs through the grazing acreage.
“This is the proudest moment of my agricultural career,” Dick Cates said at the award presentation.
“The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is pleased to sponsor this important award and to recognize Dick and Kim Cates as this year’s recipients,” said Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President. “Cates Family Farm is an excellent representative of the farms across Wisconsin that care for land and natural resources through proper conservation.”
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 2013 Leopold Conservation Award was presented December 8 at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells. The award recipient was presented with a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold and a check for $10,000.
The other finalists for the award included Katie and Hans Breitenmoser Jr. of Merrill, Jack and Pat Herricks of Cashton and David and Angelita Heidel of Random Lake.
The Leopold Conservation Award in Wisconsin is made possible through the generous support of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Alliant Energy Foundation, American Transmission Company, Rural Mutual Insurance Company, UW-Extension, We Energies Foundation, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association.
For more information, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org.
Story by Casey Langan. Original version appeared in the December/January 2013-14 issue of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Rural Route.