Sand County Foundation and the Kentucky Agricultural Council (KAC) announce Jerry and Valarie Peery, owners of Springhill Farms, as the recipients of the prestigious 2014 Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award, which honors landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

With more than 40 years experience of no-tilling, which Jerry will speak about at the 2015 National No-Tillage Conference in Cincinnati, the Peerys' conservation practices, combined with the use of precision farming technologies to manage inputs like seeds and fertilizer, have lowered overall operating costs while increasing crop production. At the same time, valuable habitat and forage has been maintained for many species of wildlife. 

The $10,000 Leopold Conservation Award is presented in honor of renowned conservationist and author Aldo Leopold, who called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage. Award applicants are judged based on their demonstration of improved resource conditions, innovation, long-term commitment to stewardship, sustained economic viability, community and civic leadership and multiple use benefits.

Sand County Foundation and the Kentucky Agricultural Council presented the award at the American Farmland Trust National Convention in Lexington, Oct. 21, 2014.

“The Peery family's acceptance speech for the award was testimony to a lifetime of improving the economic and environmental sustainability of their land. As they increased their landholdings, they implemented more and more sustainable environmental practices. Their farm is emblematic of Leopold's belief that productivity is best when the environment is a prime focus,” said Nancy Cox, Kentucky Ag Council President.