The Iowa Farm Bureau is again co-sponsoring the Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year award in 2021. The award has been co-sponsored by the IFBF and the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship since 1952. It honors an Iowa farmer who has a proven track record of excellence in soil conservation and water quality improvements and is committed to long-term land and water protection. The winner receives 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 sponsored annually by Van Wall Equipment of Perry and John Deere. Last year’s winner was Mark Jackson of Oskaloosa in Mahaska County. 

Now is the time for county Farm Bureaus to consider candidates and get your nomination into your Soil & Water Conservation District for the 2021 Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year award. Nominations are due Monday, May 1, so start the process now. (Remember, most soil district offices are currently closed or working by appointment only due to covid protocols.) A farmer can be nominated by your county Farm Bureau (or anyone or any organization) by sending a brief letter - 100 words or less - summarizing the nominee’s conservation efforts, to the local Soil and Water Conservation District well before the May 1 deadline. You can also call or visit with an elected soil commissioner or an SWCD staffer in the local office. The local SWCD will choose one nomination in each county to develop further and advance for consideration for a regional award. The nine regional award winners will then compete for the overall state award. You can learn more about the award criteria by reviewing the SWCD nomination form at this link. The state winner will be announced at the Iowa State Fair. The winner will receive the keys to their tractor at the county soil commissioners annual conference, during the Conservation Districts of Iowa annual meeting, scheduled for September 23-24 in Ames. For more information, contact Rick Robinson, or your county SWCD office.