Nominations now open for 65th annual Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year

Nominations are now being sought to find the 2017 Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year, a prestigious honor with a substantial prize; the winner receives use of a new John Deere 6E utility tractor for a year.  The award, co-sponsored by the Iowa Department of Ag and land Stewardship (IDALS) and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), honors the Iowa farmer who has a proven track record of excellence in soil conservation and water quality improvements and is committed to continuing efforts that continuously improve the land and water. 

“Iowa farmers continue to take on the challenge of better protecting their soil and improving water quality.  This award is an opportunity to highlight and recognize a farmer that has gone above and beyond in their conservation efforts and serves as a model of land stewardship in their community and across the state,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said. 

The award, which got its start in 1952, is designed to help raise awareness about the importance of caring for Iowa’s fertile lands and vital waterways and to acknowledge those who accept the challenge of continuously working to improve conservation. 

“Leading by example is so important, because everyone has a role to play in protecting our soil and water quality.  Over the years we’ve proudly honored incredible Iowans who lead by example and have made incredible progress in conservation and their efforts encourage others to step up to the plate,” says IFBF President Craig Hill.  “Our role as farmers is to do more than grow food; we must all work towards leaving the land and watershed better for the next generation.”   

A farmer can apply or be nominated for the award by sending a brief letter summarizing the nominee’s conservation efforts to the local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) by May 1.  The local SDWCD will choose one nomination to advance for consideration for a regional award, and the nine regional award winners then compete for the overall award, which will be announced July 17 at the Iowa Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners Annual Conference in Altoona.  As part of receiving the award, the 2017 Conservation Farmer of the Year winner will receive free use of a John Deere 6E Series utility tractor, for up to 12 months or 200 hours of use.  The prize, valued at more than $12,000, is once again donated by the Farm Bureau partner Van Wall Equipment of Perry and John Deere.