Finalists Announced for Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award

Four finalists have been selected for the 2023 Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award®.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the prestigious award recognizes farmers and forestland owners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water, and wildlife habitat in their care.

The finalists are:

Bartling’s Manitowish Cranberry Co. of Manitowish Waters in Vilas County:

  • Brothers David and Steven have improved cranberry yields with nutrient management for better plant and soil health. They planted five acres of native pollinator gardens for the honey bees needed to increase crop pollination. Efficient water management has reduced input costs and improved water quality. The cranberry leaves that come off the plant when cranberries are harvested is later sold to local gardeners and landscapers.

Full Circle Farm of Seymour in Shawano County:

  • Full Circle Farm builds soil organic matter while sequestering carbon on its pastures. Rick Adamski, Valerie Dantoin and their son Andrew rotationally graze beef cattle, raise pastured hogs and laying hens, and grow 10 acres of vegetables. Their farm’s woodlands, wetlands, natural pond, riparian buffers, and fence lines provide habitat and migration corridors for wildlife, birds, and beneficial pollinators.

Joe Hovel of Conover in Vilas County:

  • Joe Hovel protects unique and fragile habitats in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. A woodland owner since in the 1970s, he began prioritizing the protection of ecologically important land in the 80s. He now manages 3,300 acres in several counties, including Porcupine Tree Farm and the Upper Wisconsin River Legacy Forest. Hovel owns County Line Wood Products and is the president and founder of the Partners in Forestry Landowners Cooperative.

Noll’s Dairy Farm of Alma in Buffalo County:

  • The Noll family has practiced soil and water conservation efforts on their farm overlooking the Mississippi River for generations. Curtis, Mark, and Scott Noll grow cover crops and utilize no-till and contour strip cropping practices to prevent soil erosion. They restored and actively manage an ecologically rare dry bluff prairie that is home to many endangered species. Their managed forest provides oak timber production and wildlife habitat.