Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is challenging Iowans to celebrate National Agriculture Day on Wednesday, March 18, by photographing their connection with Iowa agriculture and sharing it online. With over 88,000 family farms in Iowa and nearly 420,000 Iowans employed in agriculture, accounting for one in every five Iowans, no two people's days are the same.
"Iowa is a beautiful place and spring is an exciting time in agriculture. The Day in Iowa Agriculture photo project is intended to document this special day of the year and record the activities of not only farm life in our state, but the many, diverse aspects of Iowa agriculture," Northey says.
Not a contest, this is a chance to show what you do in agriculture
This is not a contest. It is an opportunity for farm families, employees in ag-related industries, and supporters of agriculture to document and celebrate Iowa's leading efforts to produce food, fiber, and fuel to support the world's growing population.
Photos can be submitted on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram by including the hashtag #DayinIAag.
A selection from the photos submitted will be assembled in an online album to be published later in the month. The photos will also be considered for a display in the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at the Wallace building in Des Moines. Secretary Northey will also be sharing photos online of his day, promoting the success, diversity and abundance of Iowa agriculture.
Any photo take during the 24 hours of March 18 is eligible to submit
"We are looking for photos that document all aspects of farming and Iowa agriculture. This includes caring for livestock, preparing for spring planting, working on or showing conservation practices, moving farm equipment, and showing family members and children on the farm," Northey says. Any photo taken during the 24 hours of March 18, 2015 is eligible.
Nominations sought for Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards
In other news, the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship is encouraging Iowans to nominate farmers for the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award. These are farmers who have taken voluntary actions to improve or protect the environment and natural resources of Iowa. Nominations are due by June 15, 2015 and the nomination form can be found at iowaagriculture.gov/EnvironmentalLeader.asp.
The award is a joint effort between the office of the Governor of Iowa, Lt. Governor, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources to recognize the efforts of Iowa's farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality.
"The Iowa Water Quality Initiative is growing due to farmers' engagement in the plan," says Gov. Terry Branstad. "The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award is our chance to recognize producers who are going the extra mile in their land stewardship." Adds Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds "Iowa's farmers are leading the way in environmental stewardship through collaborative, science-based practices. The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award allows the state to recognize the farmers who feed the world and continue to drive Iowa's economy."
Nominate farmers who make environmental stewardship a priority
Farmers who are nominated should have made environmental stewardship a priority on their farm and incorporated best management practices into their farming operation. As true stewards of the land, they recognize that improved water quality and soil sustainability reaps benefits that extend beyond their fields to citizens of Iowa and residents even further downstream.
Nominations may be submitted on a year-round basis and are due by June 15 of the year to be considered for the award. Farm owners and operators are eligible for consideration. "Iowa is leading the way in using voluntary, science-based practices to protect our soil and improve water quality. This wouldn't be possible without the thousands of farmers who've collectively invested millions in conservation practices on their farms. This award is an opportunity to highlight those farmers that are leading the way and going above and beyond to adopt conservation practices on their farm," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.
Recipients of this award will be recognized at 2015 Iowa State Fair
An appointed committee of representatives from both conservation and agricultural groups will review the nominations and select the winners. The recipients will be recognized at the Iowa State Fair. Since creation of the award in 2012, 219 farm families have been recognized. Winners are presented a certificate as well as a yard sign donated by Monsanto. Hagie Manufacturing also sponsors a recognition luncheon for award recipients following the ceremony.