Gov. Terry E. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Secretary 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.
Jim Andrew of Jefferson was among them. A total of 1,296 acres in Grant and Franklin townships, all of them in no-till corn and soybeans, comprise Andrew Farms Inc. He was nominated for the award by the Greene County soil and water conservation district.
Andrew has been a pioneer in environmental stewardship. Without cost-share benefits, he installed waterways and surface drainage, extensive tile, field borders on most fields, a dike along the edge of Hardin creek, border strips along all the creek banks in his fields, and some terracing. He was one of the first to install waterways moving to 100 percent no-till practices in his entire operation in 1993.
Using cost-share opportunities he has installed 3.5 miles of tile/terracing, three farm ponds, wildlife habitat areas, and goose nesting boxes and bird houses. He has 8.5 acres in the CRP.
Andrew is the fourth generation to farm Andrew land and the fifth to farm Thompson land that came through his mother’s family. “Our long heritage of farming drove home to us the importance of conserving our soil and environment for generations to come. It is our way of life. We want to lead by example and model techniques and practices others may note and adopt in their operations,” Andrew said.
Andrew was a state director for the Iowa Corn Growers in 1974 and then was a director in the Iowa Soybean Association until last December. As an early member of the On-Farm Network, he hosted national field days that modeled best practices, and he spoke several hundred times to government and farm groups around the world. “We have had a great story to tell over the years and have welcomed every opportunity to share it with the media and the press on the local, state, national, and in the European Union and Southeast Asia. It has been a wonderful life,” Andrew said.
“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 Gov Branstad at the award presentation. “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 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. It seeks to recognize the exemplary voluntary actions of farmers that improve or protect the environment and natural resources of our state while also encouraging other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building success upon success.
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,” Secretary of Agriculture Northey said.
Winners were presented a certificate as well as a yard sign donated by Monsanto and a commemorative program provided by the Iowa Ag Water Alliance. Hagie Manufacturing sponsored a recognition luncheon following the ceremony. Bob Quinn from WHO Radio served as the master of ceremony.
All winners were chosen by a selection group representing both conservation and agricultural groups.
Jim Andrew of Jefferson was presented with the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award during a ceremony at the Iowa State Fair on August 19. Making the presentation were, from the right: Governor Terry Branstad, Lt Governor Kim Reynolds, Andrew, Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and two unnamed officials.