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It’s time to honor farmer conservationists

Nominations are being sought for Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards

For many decades, Iowans have understood that preserving the state’s soil and water resources is vital if agriculture is to remain a viable pursuit. That’s why farmers and state agencies and private sector groups have long championed conservation practices that will preserve the quality of our land and water. In that regard, Iowa has been a national leader in adopting farming techniques that not only generate crop totals that are the envy of the world, but also make certain it will be possible to do so for many more generations. It is no exaggeration to claim that Iowa’s farmers are showing people everywhere how agricultural producers and conservationists can collaborate effectively to achieve what are in truth highly compatible goals.

In view of the important role farmers play in ongoing conservation efforts, each year our state honors individuals and farm families with the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards. These prestigious recognitions will be presented on Aug. 19 at the Iowa State Fair. Since the award was created in 2012, there have been more than 600 recipients.

“Iowa farmers have been feeding and fueling the world for generations, and are leaders in conservation,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds. “They go above and beyond improving water quality and soil health, serving as a model for others to follow. The 2020 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards are one way we say thank you, and recognize farmers for all they do.”

Nominations will be accepted through May 4. Nomination forms and other relevant background information are available online at iowaagriculture.gov/farm-environmental-leader-awards.

To be eligible for this distinction, individuals need to have taken voluntary actions to improve soil health and water quality. Typically, candidates will have incorporated optimal land and crop management practices in their agricultural operations. Beyond that, the committee selecting award recipients hopes to honor individuals who are local leaders in conservation efforts.

“Farmers across the state are investing in practices that positively impact their land and water,” Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, who heads the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, said. “Conservation practices like cover crops, saturated buffers and wetlands are being implemented at a rate that we’ve never seen before. I look forward to recognizing the farmers who have adopted practices that help achieve the goals outlined in Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

The Messenger applauds the many conservation achievements in our state. We look forward to even more success stories in the decades ahead. We urge our readers to think carefully about which individuals in their communities are showing conservation accomplishments and are inspiring others to join in this important work. If you are aware of outstanding conservation contributors, take the time to nominate them for the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award. Calling attention to their positive efforts will help motivate others to join the conservation-minded all across Iowa in protecting and enhancing our environment.