MDC recognizes Linn County landowners for commitment to conservation

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LACLEDE, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) works with Missouri landowners to implement sound conservation practices on private property. Whether managing for wildlife or livestock, prairie plants or crop production, conservation partnerships can improve recreation, aesthetics, and profitability on private property.

MDC knows that Missourians care about conservation, and since roughly 90-percent of land in our state is privately owned, true conservation success depends on contributions from landowners.

Matt and Kate Lambert contribute to this cause on their north-central Missouri farms consisting of 2000-acres of row crop, hay production, managed CRP, commercial Red Angus cattle, and Hampshire and Dorper sheep.

The Lamberts recently received the first Missouri Leopold Conservation Award for their conservation efforts on Uptown Farms. Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award inspires other landowners and provides a visible forum where farms, ranchers, and other private landowners are recognized as leaders. In his influential, posthumous 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”

“I worked with Matt and Kate as a Private Land Conservationist in Linn County,” said MDC Agriculture Liaison Brent Vandeloecht. “They demonstrate a conservation ethic that others should strive to emulate, and they work to improve their agricultural operation to benefit the land, wildlife, and their bottom line, not only because they want to be good stewards, but also because they want to instill that same conservation ethic into their children.”

The Lamberts have utilized several recommended soil and water conservation practices to improve water quality and nutrient retention capacities of their operation. The entire 2000-acre row crop portion of their farm uses no-till practices which allow for better control of soil erosion, decreased runoff, and healthier soil profiles. Matt and Kate began using cover crops a few years ago to minimize erosion, reduce chemical and fertilizer use, improve soil health and increase overall sustainability.

While in cover crops, many of their crop fields are grazed by their cattle herd to increase grazing season length, reduce dependency on hay, and to build organic matter in their crop fields for soil health. Additionally, Matt and Kate carefully planned a grazing rotation schedule on their 225-acres of pasture to protect the soil from excess nutrients, erosion, and runoff.

The Lamberts protect their waterways by working to keep their cattle out of sensitive areas, and implementing terrace systems to help manage, protect, and clean the water leaving their farm. They also manage nearly 450-acres of native grass CRP that increase habitat for deer, turkey, small game, and pollinators.

MDC proudly partners with landowners all over the state, in rural and urban settings, to improve land use through conservation practices which can increase property values, and return long term profits for landowners and our state’s natural resources, alike.

When practical land-use methods work hand-in-hand with conservation efforts, communities thrive and landowners earn a greater stake in Missouri’s conservation legacy. As Leopold noted in 1947, “if conservation can become a living reality anywhere, it can do so in Missouri.”  

Learn more about how MDC works with landowners to benefit natural resources conservation and enrich outdoor experiences at Find more information about the Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Award at  


PHOTO ID: MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley presents the Leopold Conservation Award to Kate Lambert of Uptown Farms at the 2018 Missouri Natural Resources Conference at the Lake of the Ozarks. Pictured left to right: Dr. Stanley A. Temple, Beers-Bascom professor emeritus in conservation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Sand County Foundation board member; Colleen Meredith, Missouri Department of Natural Resources Soil & Water Conservation program director; Karen Brinkman, assistant state conservationist at USDA-NRCS Missouri; Kate Lambert, co-owner and operator of Uptown Farms; MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley; Ashley McCarty, executive director, Missouri Farmers Care; Lance Irving, national program director, Sand County Foundation.