Two local farm families awarded as Iowa Farm Environmental Leaders

Staff Writer
Perry Chief
Two local farm families awarded as Iowa Farm Environmental Leaders

Gov. Terry E. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Sec. of Agriculture Bill Northey and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp presented 95 Iowa farm families with the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award during a ceremony at the Iowa State Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

“It is a pleasure to have the opportunity each year to recognize Iowans who go above and beyond to be good stewards of our land,” said Branstad. “Farmers take pride in conservation efforts and preserving and protecting our natural resources. The Farm Environmental Leader award gives us all an opportunity to recognize their efforts as exceptional leaders.”

“The passion and dedication exhibited by the farmers honored at this year’s Farm Environmental Leader awards was inspiring. Many of the recipients remarked at how long they had been working to achieve such recognition,” said Reynolds. “We know that across Iowa farmers are committed to protecting the land and we were pleased to be able to highlight the work of some farm families’ exemplary work.”

The award is a joint effort shared by Branstad, Reynolds and missions of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources. All share the desire to recognize the efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality and recognize the exemplary voluntary actions of farmers who improve or protect the environment and natural resources, leading by example to others.

This is the fourth year for the award program and to date more than 300 families have received recognition.

“Iowa is a national leader in conservation and water quality efforts, and it is important that we recognize the farmers who are making a significant investment in conservation efforts and serving as examples in how we can continue to better care for our air, soil and water,” Northey said.

Two families in Dallas County were nominated and received the award this year at the fair; Stewart and Lori Baldner, and Raynold and Kay Johnson.

The Bauldners

The Baldners, nominated by the Dallas Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners, also received Century Farm recognition at this year’s fair for 139 years on the family farm. The Baldners operate 2,300 acres of corn and soybeans. They have proven to be conservation stewards by practicing strip till, no till, and using N-serve when applying nitrogen. The Baldners apply P & K using VRT and split applications of N fertilizer. They have also incorporated grassed waterways and field borders in critical areas of the fields. Stewart extends his leadership into the community through his service on the Dallas County Farm Bureau board, where he has served as secretary, treasurer, vice president, and president and voting delegate.

The Johnsons

The Johnsons, also nominated by the Dallas Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners, farm 500 acres of corn and soybeans in Dallas and Boone Counties. They’ve proven to be conservation stewards by practicing conservation tillage, no till and minimum till. The Johnsons use precision application of their fertilizer; soil testing, N application is based on ISU recommended rates and applied as a side dress in spring/summer, any additional P applied is based on soil test optimum levels. Contour farming, cover crops, drainage water management, grassed waterways, nutrient management plan, and a farmstead windbreak are also part of the Johnsons conservation efforts. Raynold’s leadership extends into the community through his service on the board of Directors for the Guthrie County REC, as a Director for the Dallas County Cattlemen, and a board Director of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. He was elected by the residents of Dallas County in 1970 and served 12 years as a Commissioner for the Dallas Soil and Water Conservation District.