By MEGGIE I. FOSTER
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — On Aug. 14, Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann honored 46 farmers with the coveted River Friendly Farmer conservation award for helping to preserve Indiana’s natural resources for future farming generations during a special ceremony on Farmer’s Day at the Indiana State Fair.
The 2013 River Friendly Farmer recipients represent grain, livestock and poultry producers from watersheds in 37 Indiana counties. They join a group of 702 winners since the award was first given in 2000 to Hoosier farmers who utilize exceptional conservation practices to improve soil health and protect water quality.
Steve Crowe, Greene County farmer and a 2013 award recipient, uses no-till, cover crops, water ways and filter strips on his farm said, “This farm belongs to my family. My wife and children and I work it knowing that it will be handed over to them and to their children in the future ... ‘Home-Health-Heritage.’ What that means to me is we care for our land through our conservation practices, practices that protect our homes, and our health, for generations to come.”
Crowe was one of 26 recipients on hand to receive the award.
“This is always a rewarding day to thank these men and women for the job they are doing to protect our environment,” said Jeff Meinders, Indiana Assoc. of Soil and Water conservation Districts president.
Recipients were honored by Ellspermann and Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock. Also on hand for the ceremony were USDA-NRCS State Conservationist Jane Hardisty and Meinders.
“Thank you for your commitment to stewardship,” said Ellspermann as she addressed the winners. “The conservation projects on your farm take time, effort and planning. It’s our responsibility to do our part to protect our local watersheds. Hopefully this award and your hard work will help encourage others to join the commitment and outstanding efforts of the 700 farmers before us who have received the honor of being named River Friendly Farmers.”
Winners include: Adams County, Rediger Farms Inc., Martin Rediger; Allen County, Byer Farm Service, Ned Byer; Clark County, Valley View Farms, Sam Hagest; Clark County, Dallas Lowery; Clinton County, Windy Lane Farms, Inc., Hal and Ty Brown; Crawford County, Bach Farm, Rollin Bach; Crawford County, Newton Farm, Marcus Newton; Decatur County, Smiley Brothers, Gordon and Jeff Smiley; DeKalb County, State Line Farms, Leon, Mel, and Ed Steury; Dubois County, Welp Homestead Farms, Inc., Mark and Brad Welp; Franklin County, David Hartman; Fulton County, Norman Farms, Michael Norman; Gibson County, Horrall Farms, Ed Horrall; Greene County, Crowe Farms, Inc., Steve Crowe; Hamilton County, Stewart Farms, Jeff Stewart; Howard County, Zell Farm, Dale Zell; Jay County, James Laux; Jay County, Andy Schemenaur; Jefferson County, Reed’s Orchard, Wes Thomas; Knox County, Anson Family Farms, Mark, Michael, Douglas, and Daniel Anson; Knox County, Worland Farms, LLC, Daniel Worland; Kosciusko County, Romine Farms, Brian Romine; Kosciusko/Fulton County, Paxton Farms, Brent Paxton; LaGrange County, Mishler Family Farm, Dewayne Mishler; Newton County, Prairie Park Farm, Warren Johnson, Jr.; Newton County, Strole Grain Farms Inc., Larry Strole (deceased); Pike County, R J Adams Farms, Inc., Larry and Grant Adams; Pike County, Randy and Ron Leistner; Posey County, Reineke Farms, Steve and Tim Reineke; Pulaski County, Gary Culp; Putnam County, Cedar View Farm LLC, Ron Sutherlin; St. Joseph County, Whitmer Farms, Jim Whitmer; St. Joseph County, Doug Millar; Scott County, Bill and Mary Beth Comer; Spencer County, Freschly Farms, Dean Freschly; Starke County, Pflugshaupt Farms, Robin Pflugshaupt; Starke County, Greg Stone; Steuben County, Moody and Crew LLC, Tyson Franks; Tippecanoe County, Pig Alliance, Todd Welch; Vanderburgh County, Curran and Ann Miller Family LLC, Hugh Miller; Vermillion County, Cheesewright Farms, Kelly Cheesewright; Wabash County, Treska Farms, Gary Treska; Washington County, Cornucopia Farm, Kevin, Linda, Michael, and Jared Baird; Washington County, River Farm, David Souder and Whitley County, Jim Cormany Farms, Jim Cormany; Whitley County, Jagger Farms, Kevin Jagger.
The River Friendly Farmer Award is sponsored by Indiana Assoc. of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and their 92 county Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., Indiana State Department of Agriculture Division of Soil Conservation, Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
For more information, visit www.iaswcd.org