Leopold Conservation Award 2019
According to the sponsors of the prize, the award is a recognition to landowners who display extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation, help the public understand the vital role private landowners play in conservation success and inspire other landowners through their example.
It's the last bit that Mike Livingston takes to heart.
In 2009 a multi-state lawsuit took away the family's access to water for irrigation, and three years later a historic drought took hold.
"Went from farming 22 circled of farming to farming 2 circles in one year. That was really devastating to all of us."
The Livingston's enrolled in the Ranching for Profit School which Mike calls a "life-changing experience" and opened his mind to agricultural conservation practices like cover crops, no-till and planned grazing. Watering systems were replaced with 100,000 feet of new pipeline. Miles of new fencing replaced a configuration of 36 old pastures, with 119 pastures that are grazed less often. Planting cool season grasses meant two more months of green grass.
They implemented a planned grazing system.
Hundreds of additional acres are left ungrazed from summer through winter to provide additional habitat for turkeys, prairie chickens, pheasants, bobcats, and herds of whitetail and mule deer.
And now Mike shares what they learned with other ranchers with one main idea.
The Livingstons will be presented with the $10,000 award on Monday, June 17 at the Colorado Cattlemen's Association's 2019 Annual Convention