Sommers to be recognized for 2012 Leopold Conservation Award
May 22, 2012
Pinedale-area ranchers, siblings Albert and Jonita Sommers, will be honored by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association for winning the 2012 Leopold Conservation Award. The award will be presented during the Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 1 at noon in Jackson, Wyoming. The award ceremony is part of the Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show May 30-June 2 at Snow King Resort.
The Sommers Ranch
The Sommers Ranch is a three-generation cattle and native hay program operated by siblings Albert and Jonita Sommers.
"This ranch is a wonderful example of what good people, sound management and a deep sense of commitment to the resources, the industry, family, friends and neighbors can accomplish," The Sublette County Conservation District and Pinedale NRCS Field Office said in their nomination of the Sommers Ranch.
In cooperation with neighboring Grindstone Cattle Company, the Sommersí placed a large portion of their land under conservation easement with the Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust. The combined easements totaled 19,000 acres and included a public fishing access.
Albert Sommers leads a volunteer permittee range monitoring program on the expansive Upper Green River forest allotment. This program documents stewardship maintenance and improvements made to the land. Albert extended the monitoring program to include other public and private lands he grazes and uses monitoring to document how grazing can fit with sage-grouse habitat. The Sommers Ranch provides habitat for mule deer, sage grouse, moose, pronghorn and migrating waterfowl.
Albert and Jonita are both extremely active in their community, including preserving and documenting the history of the area and serving on numerous boards and committees, both locally and statewide. They have both received numerous awards for their involvement and stewardship practices.
About the award
The Leopold Conservation Award in Wyoming is presented by Sand County Foundation, WSGA, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. and Peabody Energy and the 2012 winner will be announced in January. The winner receives $10,000 and the two runners up receive $1,000 each. WSGA and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture also host the Environmental Stewardship Tour each year on the winning ranch.
The state winners go on to regional selection, and if chosen, compete at the national level. Wyoming has the most national winners of any state with three ranches earning the title and also boasts five regional winners.
WSGA and partners Sand County Foundation, Encana Oil & Gas and Peabody Energy are proud to recognize the positive impact these stewards have on the land and the agriculture industry.
About the Wyoming Stock Growers Association
Since 1872, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association has served the livestock business and families of Wyoming by protecting their economic, legislative, regulatory, judicial, environmental, custom and cultural interests. We promote the role of the cattle industry in resource stewardship, animal care and the production of high-quality, safe and nutritious beef. Learn more and join at www.wysga.org or call 307-638-3942.