Six area farmers were among 55 farmers honored last week for the work they do to promote soil health and water quality on their Indiana farms.
These special Hoosier producers received the prestigious River Friendly Farmer conservation award during ceremonies at the Indiana State Fair. The award is sponsored by the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc.
Among this year’s honorees were Kosciusko County farmers Randy Beer and Darrel Byrer, Elkhart County farmers Keith E. Miller and Mike Neff, and Whitley County farmers Gary Hoffman and Peter Rouch.
“We have an impressive group of recipients this year” says Ray McCormick, IASWCD president. “The conservation practices these farmers use improve soil health on their farms not just for themselves but for future generations.
“Our River Friendly Farmer winners know soil is a complex living ecosystem and we all have an obligation to sustain and improve it. That’s what they are doing to conserve our natural resources every day,” adds McCormick.
The 2012 River Friendly Farmer recipients represent grain, livestock and poultry producers from watersheds in 40 Indiana counties. They join an elite group of 600 winners since the award was first given in 2000 to Hoosier farmers who use exceptional conservation practices to improve soil health and protect water quality.
Recipients were honored by Lt. Governor Becky Skillman and Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock. Also on hand for yesterday’s ceremony was USDA NRCS State Conservationist Jane Hardisty and President Abraham Lincoln (played by Wilbur Tague of Brownsburg, Ind.) who helped celebrate the USDA’s 150th anniversary.