(DES MOINES) – Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today encouraged Iowans to nominate farmers for the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award who have taken voluntary actions to improve or protect the environment and natural resources of our state. Nominations are due by June 15, 2014 and the nomination form can be found at www.iowaagriculture.gov/EnvironmentalLeader.asp.
The award is a joint effort between the Governor, Lt. Governor, 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.
“We have seen great participation by farmers in the Iowa water quality initiative and these awards are an opportunity to recognize farmers that are taking steps to protect the soil and improve water quality here in Iowa,” Branstad said.
“Iowa is leading the way in working with farmers to encourage the use of voluntary, science-based practices that can improve our water quality while ensuring our farmers can continue to feed the world and power our state’s economy,” Reynolds said.
Farmers that 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.
Nominations may be submitted on a year-round basis and are due by June 15th of the year to be considered for the award. Farm owners and operators are eligible for consideration.
“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,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.
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 last year 63 Iowa farm families were recognized. Winners were presented a certificate as well as a yard sign donated by Monsanto. Hagie Manufacturing also sponsored a recognition luncheon following the ceremony. Last year EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy spoke at the luncheon and recognized the efforts of the winners.