Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey last week announced two recipients of the inaugural Iowa Water Quality Initiative Leader Award. The award recognizes individuals, companies and organizations for outstanding leadership in improving Iowa's water quality. Northey presented one of the 2014 awards to ag retailer Heartland Co-op and presented the other one to Bruce Baier, a certified crop adviser, or CCA.
"Ag retailers and CCAs are a trusted adviser for many farmers. Their engagement and support of practices that help protect water quality have been critical to the success of the Iowa Water Quality Initiative," Northey said. "It is important we recognize the broad support we've received for the entire agriculture sector to make the initiative a success."
Northey presented the awards to Heartland Co-op and to Baier at the Agribusiness Association of Iowa's Showcase and Conference at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Baier is director of Precision Ag Services for Ag Partners, LLC at Albert City, and is a long time certified crop adviser. He was one of the first CCA's to get actively engaged in the development of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy starting in 2010. Baier currently serves on the Agribusiness Association of Iowa's Nutrient Management Task Force, representing CCA's and has also been involved in the Agriculture Clean Water Alliance, of which Ag Partners is a member.
Ag retailers and CCAs are trusted advisers to many farmers
Baier served on the Iowa CCA board of directors from 2004 to 2010, including a term as chairman in 2008. In 2012 he was named Iowa CCA of the year by his fellow CCAs.
"Bruce is a respected voice with farmers and within the CCA community and has been a great advocate for voluntary, science-based water quality practices," Northey said.
Heartland Co-op is a full service, farmer-owned ag retailer with facilities in 62 Iowa communities. As a sign of their commitment to improving water quality and serving customers, Heartland recently added a new position in the company, the director of environmental resources. The role is designed to lead efforts to identify and implement best management practices to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative.
Heartland has 32 sales agronomists: 26 of whom are CCAs. The co-op also has technical service providers who work specifically with livestock producers.
Heartland has taken a leadership role within the Agribusiness Association of Iowa related to the Water Quality Initiative. In particular, Dave Coppess, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Heartland, has been a vocal advocate for the Water Quality Initiative. He serves on AAI's board of directors, is chair of the agronomy committee and is a member of AAI's Nutrient Management Task Force. He has also played a leadership role with Agriculture's Clean Water Alliance, of which Heartland is a founding member.
Learn more about Iowa's voluntary, science-based nutrient reduction strategy
"Heartland Co-op has made a tremendous commitment to supporting the Water Quality Initiative in all areas of their business," Northey said. "They see the tremendous opportunities available to work with farmers as we continue to develop new technologies and strategies to better protect water quality."
Visit CleanWaterIowa.org to learn more about voluntary, science-based practices that can be implemented on farms and in cities to improve water quality. Iowans can also follow @CleanWaterIowa on Twitter or "like" the page on Facebook to receive updates and other information about the ongoing Iowa Water Quality Initiative.