Nominations Now Open for 67th Annual Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year
Nominations are now being sought to find the 2019 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 statewide award and regional awards, co-sponsored by the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), honor the Iowa farmers who have a proven track record of commitment to soil conservation and water quality improvements and is dedicated to continuing efforts that continuously improve the land and water.
“The 2017 Census of Agriculture found Iowa farmers planted 973,000 acres of cover crops, representing a 256 percent increase from the 2012 census,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “It’s great to see Iowa farmers taking on the challenge of protecting their soil and improving water quality. This award is an opportunity to highlight and recognize a farmer that goes above and beyond in those efforts and serves as a model of land stewardship in their community and across the state.”
The award, which was launched 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 remarkable Iowans who have made incredible progress in conservation who also 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 and remain focused on continued improvement.”
The nomination process is simple; a farmer can be nominated for the award by any Iowan sending a brief letter or email, 100 words or less, summarizing the nominee’s conservation efforts. Nominations are due to the county Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) by June 1. The 99 county SWCDs will choose one nominee from each county to advance for consideration for a regional conservation award, and the nine regional award winners will compete to be named ‘Iowa’s Conservation Farmer of the Year.’
The winner will be announced during the Iowa State Fair and the winner will receive the keys to their tractor during the Conservation Districts of Iowa annual meeting August 18-20 in Ames. The top prize, 12 months or 200 hours of free use of the John Deere 6E Series tractor, valued at more than $12,000, is once again donated by the Farm Bureau partner Van Wall Equipment of Perry and John Deere.