Born January 19, 1913, near Belfield, Leonard Davis grew up on a small, diversified ranch. In his adult years, he was dedicated to improving the productive quality of the land and conserving precious moisture. He was noted for his careful planning and record keeping skills and for trying new ideas and techniques.
Leonard married Mildred Ann Owens in June 1934. In 1936, he purchased the original Oakdale town site from his mother in law, the Oakdale postmistress, and started the Killdeer Mountain Ranch. He ended with about 2,000 acres after adding adjoining parcels, including the historic Killdeer Mountain Roundup Rodeo grounds in 1959.
He concentrated on commercial beef, cash grain crops, winter feedlot operations and raising feed for cattle. The ranch provided wooded areas for cattle shelter and cool springs for animal and human water supply.
Leonard also promoted establishment of a fully funded animal disease research center in North Dakota as he feared animal diseases would become more problematic in the future.
He received the Dunn County Soil Conservation Achievement Program award in 1948, 1950 and 1958, Man of the Year in North Dakota Agriculture from the NDSU Saddle and Sirloin Club in 1959, an honorary ‘State Farmer’ degree from the North Dakota Future Farmers of America in 1963 and an honorary ‘Chapter Farmer’ award from the Killdeer Chapter of the FFA in 1964.
Leonard served as president of the ND Stockmen’s Association and five terms in the State Legislature. Working to improve the quality of life for farmers and ranchers in western North Dakota was his life’s mission. He could be described as a loyal North Dakota rancher, with vision, integrity, energy and a joy of living. Leonard died October 31, 1972.
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