Secretary's Iowa Ag Leader Awards Presented at Agribusiness Showcase

DES MOINES -- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced two agribusinesses and two Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) as recipients of the Secretary’s Iowa Ag Leader Award for outstanding leadership in improving Iowa’s water quality. Northey recognized Dow AgroSciences and Two Rivers Cooperative and CCAs Kellie Blair from Dayton and Jim Anderson with Remington Seeds in Williams.

“Iowa is fortunate to have businesses like Dow AgroSciences and Two Rivers Cooperative and Certified Crop Advisers like Kellie Blair and Jim Anderson that are taking a leadership role in advancing water quality efforts in the state,” Northey said. “All of these award winners are a great example of the stakeholders across the agriculture industry in Iowa that are providing tools and information to help farmers and landowners make improvements on their farm to better protect water quality.”

Northey presented the awards at the Agribusiness Association of Iowa’s Showcase and Conference at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

Kellie Blair, a Certified Crop Adviser – Dayton, IA
Kellie Blair is a graduate of Iowa State University with a double major in Forestry and Agronomy. Blair and her husband, AJ, operate AKR Farm near Dayton where they grow corn, soybeans, cattle and hogs. She also develops manure management plans, is a Technical Service Provider and has assisted in setting up field trials for Boone River Watershed Project through the Iowa Soybean Association.

The Blair family is committed to the long term preservation of the family business by increasing productivity and profitability through efficient and environmentally conscious management. They take opportunities to encourage, promote, and protect agriculture and related industries in the local and international arena.

Blair is a proud conservationist, agronomist and mom of two children. She is passionate about telling the story of agriculture and is open to every opportunity to answer questions about food and family.

Jim Anderson, a Certified Crop Adviser with Remington Seeds – Williams, IA
Jim Anderson was born, raised and educated in Iowa and currently serves as a location manager for Remington Seeds in Williams, IA. He has 35 years of experience in seed production, working both domestically and internationally. He has been a CCA for 17 years.

Anderson is a board member of Iowa Seed Association and Southfork Watershed Alliance. In these roles he has been an active participant in Water Quality Initiative demonstration project that is focused on increasing use of cover crops on seed corn acres across Iowa.

Dow AgroSciences
Dow AgroSciences focuses on the importance of environmental stewardship and fertilizer efficiency. With technology such as N-Serve® and Instinct® nitrogen stabilizers, growers can achieve strong yield in a way that helps protect the environment. Instinct and N-Serve keep more nitrogen available in the root zone for crops to use, which reduces the escape of nitrates into groundwater and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

“Dow AgroSciences is honored to receive the Secretary’s Ag Leader Award and proud to support the state of Iowa’s efforts to implement a science-based program to improve water quality,” says Eric Scherder, PhD, field scientist, Dow AgroSciences. “We look forward to continuing our support of a voluntary approach to nutrient stewardship that provides growers with tools that support environmentally beneficial farming practices while maximizing yield opportunity.”

Two Rivers Cooperative
Two Rivers Cooperative is a farmer-owned cooperative with locations in Pella, Otley, Monroe, and Tracy, Iowa. Two Rivers Coop has been engaged in working with producers to improve crop nutrient usage since its inception in 2001. Two Rivers Coop has promoted the use of grid sampling and implemented the use of variable rate technology for phosphate and potash application.

Two Rivers Coop has also worked to promote efficient nitrogen usage throughout this time by following “Don’t apply until 50 degrees” and promoting the use of nitrogen stabilizers to provide best management practices with their customers. Two Rivers also promotes split application of nitrogen products through both its custom dry and liquid nitrogen application operations.

Two Rivers Cooperative embraced the voluntary approach of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy by working with producers to expand the use of these best management practices and add the use of cover crops to these practices to protect Iowa’s waters.  This included the introduction of custom drilling in the fall of 2013 to promote the use and proper timing of cover crop seeding. Since the inception of the custom drilling program, Two Rivers has seen its custom seeding acreage more than double and sales of cover crop seeds has doubled as well.