A lifetime of dedication to Iowa agriculture and a legacy of achievement in the Iowa agriculture community has earned two farmers the 2018 Iowa Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award.  Dean Lemke of Dows and Roger Bumann of Ida Grove were recognized with the prestigious honor during the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Annual Meeting in Des Moines, Dec. 3-5.

Lemke, a fifth-generation farmer in Franklin County, farms with his two sons, who represent the sixth generation on the family farm with roots dating to 1876.  Lemke is best known as a leading advocate for soil and water conservation, with four decades of experience developing and implementing research initiatives and new technologies and programs to advance conservation and environmental stewardship. 

As Chief of the Water Resources Bureau with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), Lemke advanced the environmental stewardship of production agriculture as the lead author of the agricultural non-point source section of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.  Throughout his career with IDALS, and on his own family farm, Lemke has led the charge to take on the challenge of improving Iowa’s water quality and soil health.

Today, Lemke serves as the Director of Nutrient Management and Environmental Stewardship, leading the environmental programs of the Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council (INREC).  Lemke was responsible for the formation and mission of INREC, an Iowa ag organization that brings together farming and ag commodity groups with agribusinesses with the focus of measuring farmers’ conservation progress and adoption of practices outlined in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy. 

“If you could pick one person with the most influence on designing and implementing statewide conservation practices in Iowa, Dean Lemke is that guy,” says Larry Sailer, past president of the Franklin County Farm Bureau, who nominated Lemke for the award.   

In fact, Lemke’s conservation reach extends well beyond his Franklin County farm and even Iowa, where he’s played a leading role in conservation implementation.  Lemke served as co-chair of the national coordinating committee of the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrients (Gulf Hypoxia) Task Force and organized and chairs the five-state Upper Mississippi River States Collaboration Team with a focus on addressing Midwest water quality and the hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Lemke regularly authors technical and scientific pieces and is a regular presenter at conservation conferences, seminars, and workshops as a leading expert in water quality and soil health improvement. 

Roger Bumann might be the most visible farmer in Ida County, currently serving on eight county boards including Ag in the Classroom (AITC), Ida County Pork Producers, chair of the Ida County NRCS, and he even serves as a township trustee.  Additionally, Bumann has served on the Ida County Farm Bureau board for more than 30 years. 

Perhaps Bumann is best known for grilling at as many as 45 community events per year.  Whether it’s a fundraiser for the school, a local sporting event, or even a Kiwanis program, Bumann proudly mans the grill and talks about agriculture and food production with the attendees. 

Bumann was nominated by the Ida County Farm Bureau for being a leading advocate for local agriculture and taking an active role connecting with consumers and answering questions about farming today. 

The Distinguished Service to Agriculture award honors individuals who have played a significant role in the agricultural industry at the local, state and/or national level.  This is the 39th year for the service award.  The two winners received plaques honoring their achievements and will be added to a permanent display at the IFBF headquarters in West Des Moines.