This is an archived article that was published on in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rancher Steve Osguthorpe of Summit County and his family have been honored with the 2011 Leopold Conservation Award by Sand County Foundation, the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, the Utah Cattlemen's Association and Western AgCredit.

"The Osguthorpes have made conservation a family tradition," said Brent Haglund, president of the Sand County Foundation, a conservation group. "Through adaptive management techniques, innovation and outreach, Steve and his family are going a long way to ensure that the agricultural operation and its natural resources will, not only endure, but thrive for future generations."

While managing 178,000 acres of land near Park City, Osguthorpe has carried on a tradition of conservation and sustainable agriculture that he credits to his father, D.A. Osguthorpe.

"One thing my father taught us is if you have land, you leave it in better condition than you found it for the benefit of the next generation," said Steve Osguthorpe. "Protecting the soil and watersheds, that's been the focus of our farming operations, because we know that if we're going to be in business tomorrow, we've got to take care of the land today."

Initially, the Osguthorpes' primary income sources were livestock, crops and wool. Although the family continues to run sheep and grow alfalfa, corn, barley, and oats, it also has incorporated other sources of income into its agricultural operation. A forestland management plan has allowed the family to add timber sales into the equation.

Recreation also has come into play. The family leases about 1,000 acres to the Canyons Ski Resort and operates a horseback riding and snowmobiling company. This allowed the Osguthorpes to adjust to changing economies and surrounding land uses, while keeping the property in agricultural production.

Osguthrope also has developed a seed mix for use on the land the family leases to the ski resort, which has reduced soil erosion and stream sediment to the point where the streams on their property now run clear.

The family has also placed a conservation easement on 120 acres of crop and rangeland, keeping it in agriculture and away from development.

The Leopold Conservation Award, named in honor of world-renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, is made up of $10,000 and a Leopold crystal. The award is presented annually in eight states to private landowners who practice responsible land stewardship and management.

Utah finalists for the 2011 award were Heaton Ranch, Karl and Raymond Heaton of Kane County ; The Dennis Stowell family of Iron County , and Fred Thurston of Morgan County.

The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive honor that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. In 2011, Sand County Foundation presented conservation awards in California, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The Utah award was made possible through the support of Western AgCredit, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Utah Farm Bureau, Farm Credit and the Utah Association of Conservation Districts.