Library Categories


Conservation champs honored

Each year, outstanding conservationists are recognized throughout the state with the Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year award. It may be for teaching youth about the environment, caring for a windbreak, hosting no-till field days and volunteering to teach others.

Key Points

Conservation champions are recognized at soil district commissioners conference.

Awards presented to deserving Iowans for soil and water conservation efforts.

Conference is held each fall, with people attending from all over the state.

The 2011 state-level awards were presented at the Iowa Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners’ 65th annual conference in September and include:

Outstanding Conservation Teacher. Tanja Sanders, Clarion, Clarion-Goldfield School, Wright SWCD (Group 1); and Mike Todd, Ames, Ames High School, Story SWCD (Group 2). Group 1 is given to a teacher from the elementary level and Group 2 from the secondary level. Honored teachers have displayed a personal conservation ethic, have helped build a conservation ethic in their students, and inspired them to be good stewards of Iowa’s soil and water. The award is sponsored by the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition.

Outstanding Conservation Farmer. Loretta Bechert Trust, Ottumwa, Wapello SWCD. This award is given to a farmer who has installed practices that retard or prevent erosion, has promoted conservation, and is protecting water and air quality, managing nutrients, providing wildlife habitat, conserving energy and using technology for natural resource conservation. The award is sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.

Woodland Owner of the Year. Michael Couch, Cumming, Warren SWCD. This award is given to the woodland owner who has a goal of producing quality trees. The owner often follows a written management plan that’s revised periodically with the district Iowa Department of Natural Resources forester. Iowa DNR is sponsor.

Izaak Walton Windbreak Award. Kevin Timp, Calmar, Winneshiek SWCD (farmstead windbreak); Greg and Rachel Richards, Ionia, Chickasaw SWCD (newly established farmstead windbreak); and Duane and Lucille Kent, Aurelia, Cherokee SWCD (field shelterbelt windbreak). This award is sponsored by Izaak Walton League.

Outstanding Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner. Bob Donahoo, Peterson, Buena Vista SWCD. This award is given to a commissioner who has held various leadership positions, has a conservation ethic that benefits the district, and is actively engaged in meetings. This award is sponsored by Wallaces Farmer magazine.

Ken Wagner Award. Jim Frederick, Sac City, Sac SWCD. This award is given to the outstanding new commissioner who has five or fewer years of experience. It is sponsored by the Ken Wagner estate.

Ruth Wagner Award. Alan Lemker, Breda, Carroll SWCD. This award is given to an outstanding assistant commissioner. The award is in memory of Ruth Wagner, an assistant commissioner who served in the Johnson SWCD for 53 years. The award is sponsored by the Johnson SWCD.

Outstanding Watershed Award. Buckeye Creek Water Quality Improvement and Flood Reduction Project, Wapello SWCD. This award honors a district-sponsored watershed project that has resulted in major improvement in resource conservation through the watershed approach. The Conservation Districts of Iowa and the State Soil Conservation Committee are sponsors.

Honorary Awards. Paul Valin, Des Moines; Cathie Graves, Norwalk; Bill Ehm, West Des Moines; Duane Sand, Norwalk; John Sellers, Corydon. Each year Conservation Districts of Iowa, the State Soil Conservation Committee and the Division of Soil Conservation recognize exemplary achievements and contributions by certain individuals. This recognition is frequently for a lifetime of service.

The awards program was revamped this year with simplified electronic forms. For information on each winner, see

Strom is a field representative for the Division of Soil Conservation, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.


A BEAUTY: Kevin Timp’s farmstead windbreak in Winneshiek County in northeast Iowa is winner of the 2011 Izaak Walton League Farmstead Windbreak Award. Timp achieved 99% survival of the windbreak.


NEW ONE: Greg and Rachel Richards’ farmstead windbreak in Chickasaw County, is winner of the Izaak Walton League Newly Established Farmstead Windbreak Award. The nine-row windbreak was planted for wildlife habitat and to reduce wind erosion.


SHELTERBELT: Duane and Lucille Kent’s windbreak in Cherokee County is the winner of the Izaak Walton League Field Shelterbelt Windbreak Award.

This article published in the November, 2011 edition of WALLACES FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.