Six area families win Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards at fair

Joel and Mary Thomas of Adel were one of 94 Iowa families to receive the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award for 2016 at the Iowa State Fair. Attending the awards ceremony were, from left, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp, Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad, Mary and Joel Thomas of Adel, Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Bill Northey.

DES MOINES – Six area farm families have landed Iowa Farm Environmental Leader awards for their efforts to protect and preserve the natural environment on their Iowa farms. The awards were presented earlier this month at the Iowa State Fair.

“It is a pleasure to have the chance every year to recognize Iowans and their families who go above and beyond to be good stewards of our land,” said Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad, who presented the awards in company with Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Bill Northey and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp.

Among the 94 Iowa farm families receiving awards were Joel and Mary Thomas of Adel, Robert and Ruth Harvey of Redfield, Darrell and Joyce Jamison of Van Meter, James and Margaret Koch of Van Meter, Michael Koch of Van Meter, Tim Minton of West Des Moines and Bryan and Teresa Mowrer of Guthrie Center.

“Iowa is a national leader in conservation and water quality efforts,” according to Northey, “and these awards are an opportunity to recognize the farmers who are leading the way and highlight the significant investment they making to better care for our air, soil and water.”

Winners were presented a certificate and yard sign donated by biotech giant Monsanto, soon to be acquired by German chemical giant Bayer to form the world’s largest seed and pesticide company.

A commemorative program was provided to the award winners by the Iowa Agricultural Water Alliance, a group allying the Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Clarion, Iowa-based Hagie Manufacturing sponsored a recognition luncheon following the ceremony at the Penningroth Sale Center.

The Farm Environmental Leader Award aims “to recognize the efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality,” according to Dustin Vande Hoef, IDALS communications director. The farm environment leaders show “the exemplary voluntary actions of farmers that improve or protect the environment and natural resources of our state while also encouraging other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building success upon success,” Vande Hoef said.

More than 400 Iowa farm families have received the award since its founding in 2011. All winners were chosen by a selection group representing both conservation and agricultural groups.

Choosing the 2016 winners were Jim Gillespie from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Bruce Trautman from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Jim Frederick from the Conservation Districts of Iowa, John Lawrence from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Sean McMahon from Iowa Agricultural Water Alliance, David De Geus from the Nature Conservancy, Jeff Pape from the Iowa Farm Bureau, Roger Zylstra from the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Jim Andrew from the Iowa Soybean Association, Pat Daufeldt from the Iowa Turkey Federation, Dan Wetherell from the Iowa Pork Producers Association and Katie Oltoff from the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.

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  1. No offense intended to the families being awarded, but being honored for conservation by Branstad and Monsanto is like getting the Nobel Peace Prize from Herman Goering and Krupp Steele.


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