Water Quality Initiative Leader Awards Presented at Agribusiness Showcase

DES MOINES -- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced four recipients of the Secretary’s Water Quality Initiative Leader Award that recognizes individuals, companies and organizations for outstanding leadership in improving Iowa’s water quality.  Northey recognized Hagie Manufacturing, Eldon C. Stutsman, Inc. and Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs) Joe Shirbourn from Clayton County and John Holmes from Wright County.

“Partnerships have been a key to the Water Quality Initiative since the very start and it is great to be able to recognize these ag businesses and Certified Crop Advisors that have really taken a leadership role in helping advance water quality efforts in the state,” Northey said.

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

Eldon C. Stutsman, Inc. is eastern Iowa’s largest supplier of agricultural products, retail and wholesale.  In recent years, they have added a number of new initiatives focused on helping farmers better protect water quality.  Their precision ag program, ProVantage, promotes grid sampling and variable rating nutrients onto fields. This year they started variable rate nitrogen applications.

Stutsmans has also worked very hard to promote cover crops through their sales force, plot tours, and monthly newsletters. As a result, they have seen a significant increase in the number of customers adding cover crops to their operations, not only helping to keep nutrients in the field for the next crop but also keep the soil in place over the harsh winter months.  They have also been very aggressive promoting nitrogen stabilizers, with a company goal to have every tank of fall anhydrous leave with a stabilizer.

Stutsmans has promoted minimum tillage equipment through their youtube channel, monthly newsletters, sales force, and their equipment rental program and have purchased a drill to seed cover crops for customers.

Hagie Manufacturing is a 67-year-old manufacturer of innovative agricultural application solutions. Alan Hagie, a third generation owner, has a tremendous passion for agriculture and is leading the company with the purpose of solving problems for customers.

Hagie offers a range of innovative solutions that enhance their equipment versatility, while also doing the right things for the environment and boosting profitability.

For more than a decade, Hagie has offered a high-clearance Nitrogen toolbar (NTB).  Originally intended as a rescue Nitrogen bar, this tool has evolved into a full season solution for performing timely Nitrogen applications, which helps with optimal crop uptake to boost yield and minimize loss. Hagie is also offering a new High Speed Toolbar (HsTB) to efficiently cover more acres and perform precise Nitrogen applications in early growth stages for maximum input productivity.

Hagie also introduced the CCI, a new cover crop Interseeding solution, for below canopy broadcast seeding of cover crops to maximize soil health and protect inputs.

Hagie has also been a key partner to help honor the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award winners the past two year. The award is a joint effort between the Governor, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources to recognize the efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality.  Hagie has sponsored a recognition luncheon for recipients following the ceremony.

Joe Shirbroun, Certified Crop Advisory in Clayton County
Shirbourn and his family, farm and operate a Pioneer seed dealership, and an ag consulting business.  On their farmland, the Shirbourn’s have been very active in the Water Quality Initiative Watershed Demonstration Project in Clayton County.  In addition to installing thousands of feet of terraces, this year they aerially applied over 300 acres of cover crops in the targeted watershed highly visible locations along Highways 18 & 52. 

He also hosted a meeting for his clients this winter and brought in speakers to discuss cover crops water quality practices.  He has also offered to host demonstrations showcasing high clearance equipment for cover crop seeding on his farm.

John Holmes, Certified Crop Adviser in Wright County
Holmes works for North Central Coop in Clarion and has been a key partner of the Boone River Water Quality Initiative Demonstration Project.  He has done a number of N-inhibitor trials for the project using strip trials of inhibitor and no inhibitor and also strip trials on N-serve and N-Zone inhibitors.  He is also a strong advocate of nutrient management, strip-tillage and cover crops.

Holmes is a former Iowa State University Extension agronomist and is well recognized and respected in the area.  He has been very active in Boone River Partners meetings and presented a several field days on water quality practices.