The Environmental Programs and Services of the Iowa Soybean Association was recognized with a Governor's Environmental Excellence Award at a formal ceremony on August 1, 2011, at the Wallace State Office Building in Des Moines. These awards, which were presented personally by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, are the premier environmental honors in Iowa. They are presented annually to deserving people and organizations.
The award recognizes businesses, organizations and citizens who have excelled in environmental sustainability, demonstrating leadership, innovation and comprehensive environmental ethic in managing natural resources. For its efforts to "increase soybean yields in an environmentally sustainable way," ISA's environmental program was recognized as an example of "the best in environmental leadership."
"Iowa is blessed to have some of the best resources in the world and we want to see them maintained for future generations," said Branstad. "The goal is to protect and enhance our environment and pass it on to future generations better than we found it. Today we recognize leadership and innovation in protecting our natural resources. These awards serve as a small token of appreciation for their commitment to preserve Iowa's precious natural resources for future generations of Iowans to enjoy."
Since the year 2000, ISA has invested over $3 million in this mission
The ISA Environmental Program uses a science-based, data-driven approach to help farmers improve environmental performance while maintaining yields and profitability. Since 2000, ISA has invested well over $3 million in Iowa soybean farmers' checkoff contributions in this mission, leveraging more than three times that amount in public and private grants and contracts.
Fostering partnerships among ag and environmental, public and private groups alike, ISA has pioneered the following innovations: a holistic approach, a watershed approach (providing leadership, technical assistance and coordination in 26 Iowa watersheds), performance-based adaptive management, demonstration of innovative practices and cooperative conservation.
ISA unique as a commodity organization to be doing this on a large scale
With an environmental team that now includes nine professionals, ISA is unique as a commodity/agricultural association in conducting an operation at this scale solely committed to action-oriented programs and services for improving agriculture's environmental performance.
ISA environmental program advisory committee chair Jim Andrew, a farmer from Jefferson, Iowa, and environmental program director Roger Wolf of ISA, accepted the award on behalf of the staff and ISA's board of directors.
Wolf sees the award as recognition of vision demonstrated by ISA's farmer leaders. "Hopefully, this recognition raises awareness of farmers' efforts on behalf of the environment," he says. "It shows how ISA's ability to work with many partners and leverage the investment of checkoff dollars has led to success. We still have a lot of work to do."
Using science-based solutions to seek answers to environmental problems
On behalf of the ISA board of directors, Jim Andrew noted, "This award also recognizes the contributions Roger Wolf and his professional staff have made over the years in addressing soybean farmer's environmental concerns. It is particularly meaningful in that the award is competitively judged by experts and validates that the Iowa Soybean Association has assumed a critical leadership role in seeking practical, science-based solutions to Iowa's environmental problems. ISA will continue this quest by expanding its programs and services expand throughout Iowa in the future."
For more information, go to www.iasoybeans.com/environment. The Iowa Soybean Association develops policies and programs that help farmers expand profit opportunities while promoting environmentally sensitive production using the soybean checkoff and other resources. ISA is made up of nearly 8,000 farmer members and is governed by an elected volunteer board of 21 farmers.