Nominations are now being sought to find the 2020 Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year. This is the 68th year this prestigious honor has been given to Iowa farmers who are committed to exceptional environmental stewardship.

The statewide and regional awards, co-sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), honor Iowa farmers with distinguished track records of continuous commitment to soil conservation and water quality improvements. The grand prize winner will receive the use of a new John Deere 6E utility tractor for one year.

To nominate a farmer for the award, send a brief letter, 100 words or less, summarizing the nominee’s conservation efforts and commitment to improving soil and water, to your local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) office. Nominations are due May 18, 2020.

Last year’s Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year, Jarad Weber, farms in Lee County and was recognized for embracing innovation in conservation as he takes on the challenge of improving Iowa’s water quality.

“Farm families take great pride in caring for their land so they can pass it down to their children and grandchildren. That’s why farmers all over the state are embracing conservation practices to improve soil health and water quality,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “I encourage all Iowans to nominate deserving conservation leaders in their communities for this distinguished award.”

“Leading by example is so important because everyone has a role to play in protecting our soil and water quality. Over the decades we’ve proudly honored countless Iowa farmers who have taken a leading role making progress in conservation. Their efforts to help share the importance and success of conservation practices encourage others to follow in their footsteps,” says IFBF President Craig Hill.

One nominee will be selected by each of Iowa’s 99 SWCD offices. These individuals will be considered for regional conservation awards. Nine regional award winners will compete for the title of “Iowa’s Conservation Farmer of the Year.”

The winner will be announced during the Iowa State Fair and will receive the keys to their tractor during the Conservation Districts of Iowa annual meeting, Aug. 10-11, in Ames. The 2020 Conservation Farmer of the Year winner will receive free use of a John Deere 6E Series utility tractor for up to 12 months or 200 hours of use. The prize, valued at more than $12,000, is once again donated by the Farm Bureau partner, Van Wall Equipment of Perry, and John Deere.