2022 Phillips Conservation District “Conservationist of the Year Award”

Congratulations to Leo Barthelmess and the Barthelmess Ranch Corporation for being chosen as the 2022 Phillips Conservation District Conservationist of the Year.  They were presented the award at the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance  banquet, recently held at the Tin Cup.

The Phillips Conservation Districts Conservationist of the Year Award recognizes local individuals for outstanding contributions to the conservation of our district’s natural resources.

The Barthelmess Ranch has been a leader in conservation practices for years and was one of the first in the area to apply holistic resource management. A few of their conservation practices include burning decadent grass stands, monitoring for declining bird species, practicing multi-species grazing and managing for winter grazing.  Implementing a virtual fence program on the ranch has been their latest conservation effort.   This program uses GPS-loaded collars that allow cows to rotational graze without physical fences, thereby promoting better wildlife movement and more intensive management.

Leo has also been a tireless advocate of conservation and has spent many years serving his industry and community.  He has served on the Montana Stockgrowers Association board, the Montana Livestock Ag Credit board, the Mt Chapter of The Nature Conservancy Board of Trustees and is currently the President of the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance.  Under Leo’s leadership RSA has grown from a shoestring, all volunteer work force to a thriving, fully staffed, nationally recognized non-profit organization.  RSA’s conservation committee has helped ranchers in Blaine, Phillips and Valley counties put into effect conservation projects in the last 5 years’ worth $2,500,000.  Leo has traveled around the country speaking, making friends, building relationships and informing people on the merits of conservation. Congratulations again on this well-deserved recognition!


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