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Iowa farmers, families recognized as environmental leaders at Iowa State Fair

September 8, 2013
Reinbeck Courier

Ankeny, Iowa Iowa soybean farmers were well represented today at the second annual Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award ceremony at the Iowa State Fair.

Sixty-two Iowa farmers and farm families -- more than two-thirds were Iowa Soybean Association members -- were recognized for their commitment to healthy soils and improved water quality. The awards are sponsored by the Iowa Governor's office, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The awards recognize farmers who serve as local leaders in environmental stewardship by utilizing a variety of techniques and best management practices. Examples include conservation tillage, restoring wetlands, installing grass waterways and using precision agriculture, among other things.

ISA member Laura Foell and her husband, Bill, of Schaller were honored for utilizing no-till and strip till, buffer strips, terraces, field boarders, grass waterways, stalk testing and planting wild flowers to help honey bees. Despite record spring rains, Laura Foell said she didn't notice any erosion on their 900-acre soybean and corn farm. Farmers want to improve soil water quality, she said.

"We started using these practices in the early 1990s and our goal is to leave the land better than how we got it," says Foell, who also serves on the United Soybean Board.

Award winners received a signed certificate from Gov. Terry Branstad and a metal sign donated by Monsanto commemorating the honor. Hagie Manufacturing, based in Clarion, hosted a catered lunch in honor of the winners, as well.

Gov. Branstad said the awards highlight agriculture and the great progress family farmers are making to improve the environment.

"Farmers are taking steps to protect soil and water, while increasing crop production to feed us," Branstad said.

ISA's Environmental Program and Services and On-Farm Network teams assist members in their environmental efforts, while helping them be as productive and profitable as possible. ISA board member Jim Andrew of rural Jefferson served on the award selection committee.

The award winners are (listed alphabetically by county):

Grundy: Fred & Vicki Abels; K&A Acres, Inc.

To learn more about ISA, go to



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