Summit County’s Osguthorpe family to receive 2011 Leopold Conservation Award

Nov 25, 2011
by WLJ

Sand County Foundation, the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, the Utah Cattlemen’s Association and Western AgCredit are pleased to name the Osguthorpe family as the recipient of the 2011 Leopold Conservation Award.

“The Osguthorpes have made conservation a family tradition,” said Brent Haglund, Sand County Foundation president. “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 their 178,000 acres of land near Park City, Steve Osguthorpe and his family carry on a tradition of conservation and sustainable agriculture that Steve inherited from his father, D.A. “Doc” 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,” Steve said. “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.”

When the Osguthorpes began working their land, primary income sources were livestock, crops and wool. Although the family continues to run sheep and grow alfalfa, corn, barley and oats, they have incorporated other sources of income into their agricultural operation. A forestland management plan has allowed the family to add timber sales into the equation.

In addition, the Osguthorpes made a significant change to their land management strategy by adding recreation to their operation. They lease approximately 1,000 acres to the Canyons Ski Resort and operate a horseback riding and snowmobiling company. These changes allowed Steve and his family to adjust to changing economies and surrounding land uses while keeping the land in agricultural production and natural forest. Watershed management is a key component of the family’s conservation efforts. Steve 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.

Given their location, the Osguthorpes are surrounded by development, which they have resisted. Steve and his family have placed a conservation easement on 120 acres of crop and rangeland, keeping it in agriculture and ensuring that future generations will have the opportunity to carry on the family’s conservation legacy.

The Leopold Conservation Award, named in honor of world-renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, is comprised 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.

Other finalists for the 2011 award, listed alphabetically, were:

Heaton Ranch, Karl & Raymond Heaton, Kane County; Dennis Stowell family, Iron County; and Fred Thurston, Morgan County.

The Osguthorpes were presented the Leopold Conservation Award Nov. 17 at the Utah Farm Bureau Annual in Layton.

“We are very excited to present this award on behalf of the farmers and ranchers of Utah to the Osguthorpe family,” said Leland Hogan, president of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. “This award, however, is great for all of Utah because the recognition and funding helps to preserve and enhance our open space. Utah’s farmers and ranchers have a long history of land preservation and a deep commitment to preserving Utah’s natural resources. As stewards of the land, we want to ensure that history continues well into the future.”

The Leopold Conservation Award in Utah is made possible through the generous support of Western AgCredit, the Lynde and Harry

Bradley Foundation, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit and the Utah Association of Conservation Districts.

For more information, please visit or contact Matt Hargreaves at 801/233-3003 or — WLJ