ST. LOUIS, March 3, 2014 — Three no-till operations were awarded Conservation Legacy Awards from the American Soybean Association (ASA) for their respective regions at last week’s Commodity Classic in San Antonio.
Mark and Phyllis Legan of Coatesville, Ind., received the award for the Northeast Region. The Legans’ operation is both 100% no-till and 100% cover cropped, which Phyllis says enhances soil biological activity and improves organic matter. The Legans also utilize the manure from their large-scale hog operation as a nutrient for integration into their soil.
Through drainage tiling, cover cropping, man-made wetlands and other methods, the Legans are also invested in smart water management on their farm as well.
David Ausberger of Jefferson, Iowa, was named the Midwest Regional winner of the Conservation Legacy Award for his use of no-till — or as he describes it, “never-till” — and expansive cover cropping, a practice he says enables him to better manage soil and water quality, disease, weeds and insects.
An active participant in multiple federal conservation programs, Ausberger also pointed to innovative strategies like the strategic application of nutrients through an extensive composting program that makes use of poultry litter from a nearby operation, and waste wood chips from the City of Jefferson.
Through cooperation with the Iowa Soybean Association and participation in multiple ISA initiatives, Ausberger developed a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan to reduce nutrient loss and better manage inputs. As a Certified Conservation Farmer, Ausberger shares his success with advanced conservation measures with other farmers in his area through more than 40 hours of classroom and field experience. Finally, Ausberger is part owner of a seven-turbine wind farm that generates enough electricity for his entire community.
The Conservation Legacy Award for the South Region went to Jerry Peery of Clinton, Ky.
Peery began no-till farming after attending several field days with no-till pioneers Shirley Phillips and Harry Young, Jr., in the late 1960s, and the Peery farm has been entirely no-till since the mid-1980s.
In addition to no-till, Peery utilizes annual rotation, buffer strips and waterways, cover crops, advanced soil and tissue testing, and makes extensive use of GPS and other precision agriculture technology to allow for more precise application of inputs and collection of valuable data. This provides Peery with a vast set of data points from which to ensure he receives maximum benefits from the smallest amount of inputs and environmental impact.
ASA presented the awards on Friday during the association’s annual awards banquet at Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Nominations are open for the 2015 Conservation Legacy Awards Program online at www.SoyGrowers.com/Award-Programs.