Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds on February 17 were joined by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Director Chuck Gipp of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to announce that nominations are open for the 2013 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards. Nominations are due by June 15, 2013 and the nomination form can be found at governor.iowa.gov/
You are urged to nominate someone you know who you think deserves this award and you are encouraged to get the nomination process started now, well ahead of the deadline. "These awards are an opportunity to recognize the many farmers that are taking significant voluntary steps to protect the soil and improve water quality here in Iowa," Branstad said. "Iowa farmers take great pride in caring for the soil and water, and we want to lift them up as examples for other farmers to follow."
"Iowa is fortunate to be at the forefront in agriculture and to keep our leadership position we must protect and conserve our state's natural resources and fertile soil for future generations," Reynolds said. "Agriculture plays a critical role to Iowa's global competitiveness and economic status."
Encouraging other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building upon success
The award is a joint effort between the Gov., Lt. Gov., Iowa Department of Agriculture and 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. It seeks to recognize 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.
Farmers who are nominated should have made environmental stewardship a priority on their farm and adopted best management practices throughout 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.
Voluntary action by farmers and landowners is key to success of newly released Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy
"A critical component of the recently released Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is to increase the amount of voluntary, science-based soil and water conservation practices that are put into practice on the landscape," Northey said. "Recognizing farmers who are taking the lead in conservation is a way to encourage others to consider adopting some of the same practices on their land."
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. The award was created in 2012 and 67 Iowa farm families were recognized during the inaugural award ceremony at the Iowa State Fair last August. Winners receive a certificate as well as a yard sign donated by Monsanto.