Iowa farmers recognized by state for environmental stewardship

A buffer strip of trees, native grasses, and terraces protecting Bear Creek from agricultural runoff in Story County, Iowa. (USDA National Agroforestry Center/flickr)
Jenna Ladd | August 18, 2016

Iowa leaders honored 94 farmers yesterday for their leadership in voluntary conservation practices.

Iowa Farm Leadership Award recipients were recognized yesterday at the Iowa State Fair for their commitment to improving soil and water quality. Farmers were selected from a pool of community nominated individuals for using farming practices that improve or protect the environment and encouraging other farmers to do the same. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey presented the award and noted that it recognizes those that have done more than what is expected of them to help the Hawkeye state lead the way in voluntary conservation practices.

Examples of best practices include reduced till or no-till farming, use of cover crop, rotational grazing of livestock, wetland restoration and maintenance, and contour buffer strips. Charles Hellend of Huxley, Iowa has been working to mitigate erosion and improve water quality on his 150 year old family farm. He said he’s already seen positive change, “We see a lot less water flowing down the hills. We don’t see dirt in the snow drifts in the winter anymore like we did when we were young and I think the water’s getting cleaner.”

The award is a joint effort of the Governor and  Lt. Governor’s office, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources. A list of past recipients can be found here.

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