Kansas Department of Agriculture News Releases

Kansans Recognized for Conservation Efforts

The Division of Conservation in the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA-DOC) is pleased to recognize Lazy VJ Farms near Fredonia as the recipient of the 2017 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award® and Andrew Larson Jr. of Finney County as the recipient of the 2017 Don Rezac Memorial Award.

The Kansas Leopold Conservation Award® honors Kansas landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources, and is presented by the Sand County Foundation in conjunction with the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts and the Ranchland Trust of Kansas. Lazy VJ Farms is owned and managed by Rod Vorhees and his family. When Vorhees began taking a leadership role at the farm, he focused on improving land health, converting tillage land to cover crops and using other methods to extend the time of available quality forage. The pastures on the ranch are managed using rotational grazing, and dedicates care to land management issues such as nongame wildlife, pollinators and migrating species.

The Don Rezac Memorial Award recognizes an individual who exemplifies commitment to conservation, community leadership and family, and is presented by the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts. Larson is a self-employed farmer who has served Kansas conservation efforts in a number of roles including on the State Conservation commission since 1994 and on his Conservation District Board starting in 1978. He embraces the grassroots approach to conservation: “locally led, locally developed and implemented” and values the building and maintaining of relationships and partnerships throughout many levels.

“The Division of Conservation appreciates the dedication of both Rod Vorhees and Andy Larson to the efforts of conservation in Kansas,” said Rob Reschke, director of the KDA-DOC. “Local involvement is critical to conservation, and we are fortunate to have the leadership of these two individuals, as well as the example they have set for others by implementing conservation practices on their own land.”

The Kansas Division of Conservation works with local conservation districts, watershed districts, other special purpose districts, and state and federal entities to administer programs to improve water quality, reduce soil erosion, conserve water, reduce flood potential and provide local water supply. These efforts support KDA’s mission, which includes helping to ensure a safe food supply, protecting natural resources, promoting public health and safety, protecting animal health, and providing consumer protection to the best of their ability.

For more information about the Leopold Conservation Award, go to www.leopoldconservationaward.org. For more information about the Kansas Division of Conservation, go to www.agriculture.ks.gov/conservation.

The complete press release from the Sand County Foundation can be read here: 2017 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award