HISTORY of the River-Friendly Farmer Award

Since 1999, key conservation and agricultural organizations have sponsored the River Friendly Farmer (RFF) Program. The statewide initiative recognizes farmers, who through good production management practices helps keep Indiana’s rivers, lakes and streams clean.

Annually, each county Soil and Water Conservation District may nominate up to two farmers who do an outstanding job of protecting their rivers, lakes and streams through their every day conservation management practices on the farm. Watershed organizations also may nominate farmers for the award by submitting an application to a county SWCD.

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2019 Indiana River Friendly Farmer Award Recipients

2019 River Friendly Farmer Award Recipients County
Gary Ross Adams – Mr. Ross has farmed for his entire life. He is a 3rd generation farmer and his son is also now farming. He practices 100% no-till and plants cover crops in the St. Mary’s River watershed. He appreciates how he’s been able to save money by less machinery. Gary’s conservation practices, including grass waterways, have kept more soil on his property, reduced the use of chemicals, and reduced overall runoff.
Michael R. Werling Adams – Michael R. Werling has farmed on his family’s ground for 25 years. This farm was started by his great-grandfather and has received the Hoosier Homestead Centennial Award for being owned by the same family for over 100 years. Mike produces corn and soybeans in the St. Mary’s Watershed. He utilizes cover crops to protect and keep something living on the soil all the time. No-till has been beneficial in keeping the ground manageable, decreasing runoff and labor. He likes to share his commitment to conservation with one-on-one conversations with his neighbors.
Nathan Boone Boone – Boone Family Farms is located in the Upper White Watershed. This farm is transitioning to certified organic production of corn, soybeans and specialty vegetable crops.  By practicing no-till & cover crops, they have reaped the benefits of improved soil structure, increased water holding capacity and water infiltration rates. Using cover crops has helped with weed control and no-till combined with cover crops has improved the soil health and provided pollinator habitat for bees, a much needed partner in vegetable production. Nathan works and assists with Purdue’s Beginning Farmer program. He also does consulting for other farmers looking to adopt practices similar to those on his own farm.
Chad Glunt Boone – Glunt Family Farms is using no-till and cover crops in their transition to organic corn & soybean production. The farm is a long time family operation and adoption of these conservation practices and moving to organic certification contributes to the farm’s viability. The use of no-till and cover crop practices has greatly reduced soil loss by controlling soil erosion.  The reduction in soil/sediment loss has also reduced nutrient loss, which results in “cleaner” water leaving the farm after large rain events. Chad utilizes NRCS EQIP programs to assist in adoption of new or additional conservation practices. He is active in local 4-H and the Boone County SWCD.
Steve Stoelting Clay – Stoelting Farms, located in the Lower Eel River watershed, wants to maintain the soil and control erosion for future generations. Cover crops has improved their soil tilth & increased organic matter, has reduced their use of fertilizer and herbicides. Buffer strips have reduced erosion and provided wildlife shelter. They also use WASCOBs and waterways to control runoff. Steve has served on the local SWCD board as supervisor for 14 years and still serves as an Associate Supervisor today.
Matthew Kelley
Clinton – Matthew Kelley’s grain farm is all no-till along with nutrient and pest management systems. He uses cover crops, critical area planting, forest management plan, field borders and conservation cover. He has observed less chemical and fertilizer runoff into streams, much healthier soil, and a return of wildlife. Matthew has been an SWCD Supervisor for over 12 years and a Farm Service Agency county committee member.
Kendall Cattle Daviess – The four brothers of Kendall Cattle ( Don Kendall, Bill Kendall, Joe Kendall, and James Kendall) are carrying on the proud Kendall family farming operation that was passed down from their father, the late George Tom Kendall. Kendall Cattle operates a farm that produces approximately 1,600 acres of corn, soybeans, and wheat annually, as well as managing 200 head of cattle. Aikman Creek runs through the farm and eventually leads to the Lower East Fork of the White River. On a majority of their cropland, Kendall Cattle utilizes minimal tillage or no tillage cropping systems combined with overwintering cover crops such as cereal rye. Conservation practices such as fall cover crops and no-till farming methods have helped to slow the velocity of surface water thus reducing potential erosion of soil and valuable cropland from entering the surrounding streams, creeks and rivers. George along with his four sons previously received the Daviess County SWCD’s Conservation Farmer of the Year award in 1999. Kendall Cattle has also been an active participant of various cover crop programs administered by the local Daviess County SWCD through Clean Water Indiana (CWI) and Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) programs funded by the State of Indiana.
Dick Froehling & Dave Riedeman
Decatur – Decatur Farms is located in the Upper East Fork of White River watershed where they produce corn and soybeans. They have practiced 100% no-till for over 20 years benefiting their farm with less erosion, decreased soil compaction, less wind erosion and equipment cost. Filter strips, besides filtering the water entering waterways, has also provided habitat for nesting birds and mammals. Soil and sedimentation loss has greatly reduced and is evident in the clear water running through the tile and ditches on their farm.
Bill Metz
Decatur – Bill farms PD Farms Inc. in the Upper East Fork White River watershed. His farm produces Corn, Soybeans  & Wheat. He has practiced no-till farming for over 20 years, cover crops, grassed waterways, filter strips and nutrient management. His conservation practices have resulted in improved soil health, fertility and compaction. He has benefited economically as well with less soil erosion, less machinery and fuel costs. He is a member of the Premier Ag Board, County Council, Extension Board, and St. Maurice Church.
Mike and Bryan Lammers
Dubois – JBM Lammers Inc. has no-till history. Their father, Jim, was one of the very first farmers in Dubois County to use a no-till planter to plant corn in a hay field in the 1970’s. They are still no-tilling today and using cover crops, grassed waterways, filter strips, rotational grazing, and rock chutes. Located in the Patoka watershed, they use cover crops to keep the soil in place and provide baleage for their cattle. No-till has reduced their labor input as well as saved them top soil especially in the steep areas they farm.  “When I was a kid and everything was tilled, the mud in the ditches was terrible. Using cover crops and no-till, they are now much cleaner,” they say.
Alan Weyer
Dubois – Alan Weyer Farm is involved in the production of corn, soybeans, beef cattle and hay.
He has implemented the use of water and sediment control basins, waterways, cover crops, no-till, grid soil sampling, variable rate fertilizer application and crop rotation. Everything on the farm has improved including Soil tilth, crop quality, amount of soil loss through erosion, nutrient runoff, amount of manufactured fertilizers applied and increased wildlife population. The amount of nutrient and sediment leaving the fields in the water has been greatly reduced. The water leaving the farm looks clearer, nearly drinkable. He uses rotational grazing, Heavy Use Area Protection, watering  and manure storage facilities. The livestock have been fenced out of the ponds and most of the woodland on the property. Alan is a former SWCD supervisor and chairman, current SWCD associate supervisor, honorary member of the local FFA Chapter, and former IASWCD region director.
Roger & Joe Hibschman Elkhart – Solomon Creek runs through Oneeda Farms where hay, corn, beans and wheat are produced. By adding cover crops & no-tilling to the Oneeda Farm Program, the soil has changed for the positive.  They have better infiltration and less chance or crusting at planting time. The return on investment has increased due to no-till and cover crops, using less fuel & herbicide and reducing the amount of nutrients leaving the farm. There are three locations of wetlands on the farm that are maintained to help promote wildlife and provide shelter. Roger and Joe share their conservation successes as Red coat volunteers, and membership in Gideons and Syracuse Church of God.
Eric Bryson
Fayette – Eric Bryson’s farm is a 4th generation family farm since the late 1800’s. They have practiced no-till since 1975, contour planting, and cover crops. His farm produces Corn, Soybeans, Sunflowers and beef. Because of his conservation practices, he has experienced better drought tolerance, soil retention and less sediment runoff on his fields. He also rotates grazing pastures with no grazing on crop fields. He is a career State Police Officer and has supported DNR conservation enforcement officials throughout the years.
Barbara Vining Gibson Tennis Sisters Heritage Farm, LLC is a tribute to the family who purchased the land in 1929 and raised several generations. Barbara Vining and the current owners are the descendants of the Tennis Sisters and want to honor them by taking good care of the land. They are land stewards and believe that it is a Godly directive to take care of nature. White River is the north boundary of the farm and their conservation practices are building structure, holding the soil in place and increasing pollinators and game. They are currently working with the Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management (SICIM) program as a Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) and other invasive species groups; as well as, Farm Bureau members.
Harold Turner
Grant – Turner Brothers is a family farm that began with Harold’s father. It is located in the Lower Salamonie Watershed. Their farm produces rotating corn and soybeans with some wheat for feed. They utilize the conservation practices of minimum tillage, filter strips near creek banks and rock chutes. These practices have benefited their farm by leaving the soil and nutrients in the field and building soil health. Five acres have been put into wetlands and some ground in a low spot next to woods is in CRP.
Amy Jo Farmer
Hamilton – Amy Jo Farmer’s land is located in the Cicero Creek Watershed with the J.H. Leap Drain and Morse Reservoir nearby. She has transitioned the conventional cropland to a farm that produces Certified Organic Alfalfa  – Mixed Grass Hay.  They also produce honey and beeswax products, eggs, goat milk, pork and produce. Her farm consists of land in the Conservation Reserve Program, a Grassed Waterway and Structure, Filter Strip and a High Tunnel System through EQIP giving local people a chance to consume fresh produce year round. She has noticed that water that potentially contains sediment and nutrient run-off from nearby properties draining to her farm and then it is filtered by the CRP barrier. She shares her passion for farming and conservation by hosting farm site visits for local youth and adults, hosting Women4theLand Conservation Learning Circles and is an Associate Supervisor with the Hamilton County SWCD.
Bruce Beeker & Gary Sparks
Hancock – In 1921, Sparks and Beeker Farms was established.  They received the Hancock County Farm of the Year Award in 2015. Their conservation practices include no-till and cover crops. They also have a pollinator habitat, wetlands, and woodlands providing a wildlife refuge. They raise corn, soybeans and wheat and their goal is to protect the soil on a long term basis and increase their bottom line. The water leaving their farm is clearer and cleaner because the nutrients are staying in the soil on the land. They are Farm Bureau members and they share their commitment to conservation in their church body.
Merlin Martin
Hendricks – Merlin was the 2018 recipient of the Hendricks County Loughmiller Good Stewardship Award. He produces corn and soybeans in the Mill Creek Watershed on ground that has a high potential for run off and erosion to occur due to sloping. Because of this, he takes special care to place diverse mixtures of cover crops to anchor the ground in those sensitive areas.
Martin Farms has been able to decrease their fertilizer and production inputs with the introduction of this diverse cover crop mix to the operation. Merlin also practices no-till, has grassed waterways and has installed Water and Sediment Control Basins. (Pictured: Daughter, Linda, accepting award on his behalf.)
Justin Coleman
Hendricks – Justin is a 5th generation farmer committed to conservation. He has been farming since 2005 and is passionate about how he farms and the protection of water quality. In the Upper White Watershed, Justin produces corn, soybeans, wheat and cattle. Field borders, filter strips, grassed waterways and a no-till/cover cropping system have decreased the amount of sediment and filtered the runoff from his farm. He has lower fertilizer inputs, additional wildlife habitat, and noticeably less sediment and erosion in his farm fields. Justin was the 2018 Hendricks County Farmer of the Year.
Roger Greeson
Howard – Roger, Nora and Isaac Greeson run New Buckeye Farm in the Middle Wabash Deer and Wildcat Watershed. They produce Corn, Soybeans and Wheat utilizing  No-Till, Cover Crops and minimum tillage. Their goals are erosion reduction, nutrient retention and increased biological activity and through their soil health practices, they have experienced a reduction in sediment and nutrient runoff from the farm. Roger was the 2018 Howard County SWCD Conservation Farmer of the Year.
Ray Swingley Jay – Soybeans & Corn are grown on Ray Swingley’s farm located in the Salamonie Watershed. He utilizes no-till farming, Waterways, Filter Strips, and CRP (Quail Preserve). These practices have yielded more wildlife and decreased soil loss. The Quail Preserve, under CRP, has provided nesting areas, more woodlands and pollinators. He is a member of the Farm Bureau Association, Tri-State Gas & Engine, and Randolph County Tractor Clubs.
Ben Singleton
 Knox – AMS Farms produced corn and soybeans utilizing no-till, cover crops, WASCOBS and nutrient management systems. They have experienced improved soil health and structure using these conservation practices. Also, they notice, immediately after a rainfall, that the runoff from their no-till/cover crop fields is clear. They have land enrolled in the Wetlands Reserve Program and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. AMS Farms has hosted soil health and cover crop tours for various groups including other farmers and NRCS & SWCD staff.
Sherm Bryant
Kosciusko – At this time, Sherman and Colleen Bryant operate a mostly grain operation with a few acres of hay in the Tippecanoe Watershed. By improving aggregate stability with the use of no-till and cover crops, they have seen vast improvement in their soil health. Their no-till and cover crop practices have allowed the microbiology to thrive and have increased the amount of organic matter on their land. They have been involved in the Conservation Stewardship Program and InField Advantage Program. Sherm has served on both the county SWCD and IASWCD board over the years. He shares his passion and knowledge of conservation with state legislators and local watershed groups.
Jon and Scott Gochenaur and Scott Beecher LaGrange – Cross-Road Farms is located in the Pigeon River Watershed. This farm produces seed corn, commercial corn, seed beans, commercial beans, wheat, and alfalfa. They are 90% no-till, and use strip till, cover crops, nutrient management, and waterways to improve the health of their land. They want to leave the land in better condition for future generations of farmers.
Their conservation practices have reduced sediment run-off from their fields. Their use of cover crops has absorbed remaining nutrients in the soil decreasing the amount that flows into the waterways. They are members of the LaGrange County SWCD Board, FFA Board, the non-profit organization, Feed My Starving Children, and their church.
St. Alban’s Peace Garden
Marion – St. Alban’s Peace Garden is just that – a place of peace with a garden that produces Fruits and Vegetables that are donated to local food pantries. Conservation practices they utilize include:
no-till, reduced-till, mulching with hay and straw, earthen raised beds for crop and water management, drip irrigation, minimal and strategic use of organic pesticide;  and, native and targeted plantings for beneficial insects. They focus on protecting and improving soil structure with conservation practices so that water can infiltrate and be retained in the garden. Water that falls on the land is efficiently utilized to grow crops. They have a strong partnership with the Marion County SWCD through grant programs, participation in workshops, and providing feedback on conservation practices.  They also partner with schools, individual volunteers, and a strong network of urban farmers  to share information and experiences.
Jerry & Amy Eckrote
Miami – Eckrote Farms is located in the Lake Manitou Watershed and consists of a contract swine operation, cow/calf herd, rotational grazing, hay, soybeans, corn and a custom manure hauling business. They are the first generation of utilizing no till and cover crops of their extended farming family. Their no-till conservation practice has reduced their overhead costs by decreasing fuel and labor costs. Less passes across the ground also has meant less soil compaction. Cover crops have helped reduce erosion and water runoff.  All runoff water from the swine operation runs through conservation filters. They have experienced better yields with less labor using these conservation practices. They share their passion for conservation and water quality through their involvement in FFA, 4-H, the Macy Food Pantry, local schools and church.
Tracy and Christina Hunter
Morgan – Located in the Upper White Watershed, Hunter’s Honey Farm produces honey products, Christmas trees and timber. They manage 500 honeybee hives and use Best Management Practices to minimize chemicals used in and around the hive.  Their family has been keeping bees and producing honey in Indiana since 1910 and have always believed in educating the public of the importance of good stewardship.  They recognize that water quality and soil health are very important as they are essential to good plant health therefore providing nectar and pollen for the honey bees. They maintain woodlands for wildlife habitats; including,  browsing areas, pollinator foraging plots, brush pile habitats, and invasive plant species control. The Hunter Family has been involved with their local SWCD, 4-H, and hosting farm tours.
Terry and Marlene Maxwell
Morgan – Terry and Marlene Maxwell are the fifth generation to farm this land. M & B Farm, Inc. produces trees. They use Grassed Waterways, proper drainage tile, woodland management and grassland maintenance. Their grassed waterways have helped prevent soil and nutrient loss from their land, keeping it out of the streams. Healthy soil has benefited the plant life on their farm, thus benefiting the many species of wildlife that live there. They have participated in several NRCS and SWCD programs and supported their local 4-H and FFA.
Ross Mallatt
Newton – Possum Trot Farm is located in the Iroquois River watershed. This farm was the original homestead of Jessie Mallatt and has been in the Mallatt family for over 100 years. Historically, corn and soybeans were produced, but about six years ago, all tillable acres were enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) program and planted with native grasses and wildflowers. Prescribed burns take place every other Spring. Woodland practices include the maintenance of trails, eradicating invasive species plants, clearing the understory of the woods to allow for hardwoods to regenerate and promoting milkweed plant growth for Monarch butterflies. The purpose of this farm is no longer to grow crops for market but rather to create a wildlife sanctuary.  Putting this farm in CRP has made a tremendous impact on wildlife including an increase in pheasant, deer, turkey, hummingbirds, honey bees, and beaver.
Mark Mallatt
Newton – Mallatt’s Willow Creek Farm was also part of the original homestead of Jessie Mallatt and has been in the Mallatt family for over 100 years. Mark believes that conservation of our natural resources is vital to physical and mental well-being, so creating and maintaining a natural sanctuary for the enjoyment of the community is one of his goals. No longer producing corn and soybeans, much of this property was converted to the Conservation Reserve Program 20 years ago with native grasses and wildflower plantings. A wildlife sanctuary for pheasants, quail, rabbits, turkey, and deer have helped populations rebound. Pheasants, in particular, have greatly increased. Since there is no tillable land, there is no erosion or silt that runs into the river. As well, no herbicides or pesticides are applied that could run off into streams.
Adam Dobson
Putnam – Dobson Farms raises beef cattle and produces rotational row cropping of corn, soybeans, wheat and oats.  This farm also includes timbered acreage. They use a three crop rotation on the row crop acreage utilizing cover crops, buffer strips, waterways, and terraces.  Crops are planted in a no-till system with variable rate fertilizer application. They have experienced more consistent yields and better drainage by practicing no-till.  With the planting of cover crops and the use of buffer strips and waterways, they have experienced less erosion and soil loss during the large rain events the past few years.  Adam shares his success with conservation practices with his neighbors and landlords. He is a past board member of Farm Bureau, a member of Ducks Unlimited and a member of Gobin United Methodist Church.
Justin Daube St Joseph – When Justin was asked why conservation practices are important to his operation, he stated, “My biggest reason is I don’t want my farm to go down the river. I love the outdoors and I want to protect it not only for myself to enjoy but for my kids and their futures.” For this reason he produces corn and soybeans in the Kankakee River Watershed practicing no-till, filter strips, and woodlands and wetlands management. These practices have helped him keep nutrients on the farmland and kept them from washing away into the rivers. He shares his conservation successes with neighbors, encouraging them to use these practices and improve soil health.
Matt Oberlies
Scott – Matt is a first generation farmer who has learned a considerable amount from other conservation minded farmers, the local SWCD board, NRCS staff and various conservation programs. Matt & Erin farm in the Muscatatuck Watershed with several creeks running through their property. They have discovered that using several conservation practices has built organic matter, reduced erosion and less, but cleaner, water now runs off their property. Annual wildlife food plots and forest management practices, such as Timber Stand Improvement, have been utilized as well. Matt is a Soil & Water Conservation District Board member, Agri Institute Alumni, and a member of the volunteer fire department, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Duck’s Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.  Erin participates as a volunteer and Master Gardener.
Chris Burroughs Spencer – Burroughs Farms, Inc. is located in the Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon watershed raising grain. This farm practices minimal tillage, grass waterways, rock catch basins; and, in the fall, they plant wheat in waterways and areas at risk of erosion. Their goal is to minimize erosion, improving water quality and saving the soil for future generations. They are members of Farm Bureau and
Donna is on the Farm Service Agency County Committee.
Lee Nagai
Starke – Walter Siedentop Farm produces commercial corn, seed corn, soybeans, hay and hogs. They have eliminated soil erosion and reduced nutrient run-off using conservation practices such as filter strips. They also regularly soil sample to determine agronomic rate for manure application. They have planted conifer windbreaks as well. Lee is a Soil and Water Conservation District board and Farm Bureau member. (Pictured: wife, Tiffani, accepting on his behalf.)
Larry Jernas
Starke – Jernas Farm, located in the Kankakee Watershed, produces grain and livestock. He states that the sandy soil types in his area require reduced tillage to prevent wind and water erosion. He has also installed filter strips, and is part of the Conservation Reserve Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP. Larry is a fourth generation farmer who utilizes rotational grazing and a diverse pasture mix. He has served in several leadership positions in Farm Bureau, Extension and the Lion’s Club.
Dan and Shawna Andrew
Switzerland – Producing a higher quality product while also helping the environment is what motivates Dan and Shawna Andrew in their conservation practices. They utilize no-till and cover crops which has limited their soil loss and nutrient runoff. They produce hay and grain. With their beef cattle operations, they use Heavy Use Area Protection Pads, fence the livestock out of waterbodies and woodlands, as well as rotational graze and pasture/hay land management. Dan was previously awarded the Conservation Farmer of the Year in Switzerland County. He is a former Supervisor with the SWCD while Shawna is currently serving on the board.
Ken Briggs
Switzerland – Indian Creek runs through some of Ken Briggs’ farm where he produces beef cattle and hay.
His conservation practices have reduced nutrient runoff and soil loss on the property. He has minimized spraying and eliminated unwanted weeds and shrubs by installing a goat herd in the cattle pasture. Heavy Use Area Pads, rotational grazing and livestock watering facilities are also utilized. By utilizing conservation practices, he is able to maximize output while being environmentally conscientious. Ken is currently serving as the President of the Switzerland County SWCD board of supervisors.
Bryan Shelby Tippecanoe – Bryan Shelby is a sixth generation farmer and is utilizing no-till and cover crops. These practices have helped to control soil erosion and compaction. He also uses a nutrient management system, including soil testing and variable rate application of nutrients, which has ensured that the correct amount of nutrients are applied. These practices have reduced erosion and nutrient loss, keeping soil and nutrients on the field instead of washing away. Bryan installed field borders and pollinator habitat plantings this spring. He is active in both Farm Bureau and 4-H.
George Fehrenbacher
Vanderburgh – George Fehrenbacher has received numerous awards for his conservation efforts over the years. His farm is located in the Lower Wabash Watershed where row crops of corn and beans are produced. By utilizing waterways, WASCOBS, cover crops and no-till, the sloping ground he farms has seen less erosion. He has also had less inputs due to the increase in soil health on this land. George is involved in Farm Bureau and several local co-ops.
Denny Bell Vigo – TerreMax Farms LLC is located in the Otter Creek Watershed. Denny uses no-till soybeans and strip till corn. He has noted increased soil structure, better water drainage into the soil and therefore less erosion. He has served on his local SWCD board as a Supervisor for 10 years.
Runkel Farms Wabash – Runkel Farms is operated by brothers, Gary and Steve in the Upper Middle Eel River- Beargrass Creek Watershed. This corn and soybean operation uses no-till and cover crops on their rolling acres. By using cover crops they have improved the biological activity in the soil, and reduced the amount of soil and nutrient run-off. By installing a two-stage ditch, erosion has been eliminated. Filter strips were installed along all ditches. Pollinator plots were established two years ago to provide better wildlife habitat.
Todd Armstrong
Washington – This Homestead Farm has been in the family for over 200 years. Armstrong Cattle and Crops located in the Mill Creek-Blue River Watershed produces Corn, Soybeans, Hemp, Angus Breeding Stock, and Sweet Corn. With no-till, cover crops and manure management their soil health and organic matter levels have improved and the amount of commercial fertilizer use has decreased. Water quality and aquatic life has increased as the amount of soil erosion and nutrient loss has decreased. Heavy Use Area Protection Pads and some rotational grazing as well as filter strip maintenance has helped protect the nearby waterways. Todd serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Washington County Soil & Water Conservation District. He is also involved in FFA, and was named a Soil Health Champion by the National Association of Conservation Districts.
David Williamson
Wayne – David Williamson & Dad produce corn and soybeans where West Brook and Greens Fork River run through the acreage. They have been 100% no-till since 1982, utilize cover crops, and maintain over six acres of grassed waterways and almost an acre of pollinator habitat.  David estimates that before no-till he was losing 35 ton/acre per year and after no-till he estimates he only loses 2 ton/acre per year. He states that he likes his farm and by utilizing sound conservation practices over the years the organic matter has greatly increased, he has less compaction;  and less overhead, including fuel costs and the ability to use older equipment to do the work.  He is a past Wayne County Conservation Farmer of the Year, Goodyear Conservation Award recipient and Farm Bureau member.
Dale Thomas
Wells – Dale Thomas farms in the Upper Wabash Watershed producing Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, Hay, and Beef Cattle where several creeks run through the property. Improved organic matter and soil structure have been a result of long term continuous no-till and cover crops. Increased water filtration, less runoff and erosion have also been experienced. He has been Wells County SWCD board member for 13 years and hosted various field days on his farm.
Brent Emerick
Whitley – With Brent’s conservation practices, such as no-till, he has reduced erosion and input costs thus preserving the land for the next generation. He is a first generation farmer producing corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, cow/calf operations and hogs who has learned the importance of sustainability from past River Friendly Farmer Award recipients. Grass buffers have helped filter any water leaving the property. He also maintains several wetland areas on the ground he farms as well as wooded acreage in the EQIP program. His hog barn is a zero-discharge facility as he utilizes a deep manure pit. Brent is an SWCD and County Extension board member, Vice president of the Whitley County Young Farmers, and Graduate of Leadership Whitley County

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