|WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Nominations are now being sought to find and recognize the 2018 Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year.
The prestigious honor includes a substantial prize; the winner receives use of a new John Deere 6E utility tractor for a year, courtesy of prize sponsors Van Wall and John Deere. The award, co-sponsored by the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) honors an Iowa farmer who has a proven track record of excellence in soil conservation and water quality improvements and is committed to continuously working to improve the land and water.
“Farmers are the most effective at influencing other farmers to do even more on their land to prevent erosion and protect water quality, so it is important we recognize those that have made a commitment to conservation,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey. “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 the community and across the state.”
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.
“Water quality is important to all Iowans, and over the years we’ve proudly honored incredible farmers who lead by example and have made great progress in conservation,” says IFBF President Craig Hill. “Conservation is not optional on Iowa farms, and we all have a role to play as we work to improve water quality and soil health. This award is a great opportunity to recognize the farmer conservationists who are leading the way.”
The nomination process is easy – a farmer can apply or be nominated for the award by sending a brief letter, 100 words or less, summarizing the nominee’s conservation efforts to the local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) by June 1. The local SWCD 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 during the Iowa Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners Annual Conference, September 9-11 in Des Moines. As part of receiving the award, the 2018 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 sponsored annually by Van Wall Equipment of Perry and John Deere.