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These young farmers are outreach trailblazers

Slideshow: Several up-and-comers are recognized by Iowa Farm Bureau for leadership, achievement and dedication to agriculture.

Beth Baudler’s passion for agriculture and commitment to sharing that passion has earned her the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s prestigious Young Farmer Leadership Award for 2018. It was presented during the organization’s 100th annual meeting Dec. 3-5 in Des Moines.

At the milestone annual convention, which carried the theme “A Century Strong,” several other young farmers were also recognized for leadership activities and dedication to agriculture in their local communities.

In addition, two “older” farmers were honored for their accomplishments and activities supporting Iowa agriculture over the years. One is a nationally recognized conservationist; the other is a long-time community active farmer. They both were honored with IFBF’s Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award for 2018.

Helping community learn about ag
In addition to managing her own cow-calf herd and sheep flock in Adair County, Beth Baudler, the IFBF Young Farmer Leadership Award winner, helps on her family farm, where they grow hay, oats, corn and soybeans. She has an off-farm job as a cattle specialist, working with farmers to formulate feed rations and select appropriate supplements for livestock. She also instructs the animal breeding and genetics course at Southwestern Community College in Creston, and is responsible for giving the students real-life experiences with swine breeding and genetics.

Baudler serves as secretary of the Adair County Farm Bureau board. She’s a 2016 IFBF Ag Leaders graduate, a year-long program focusing on developing individual leadership skills and understanding of issues impacting today’s farmers. Working with her county Farm Bureau, Baudler spearheaded “Ag Adventure,” an interactive 10-station experience held at her county fair and a local Fourth of July celebration. She was able to secure buy-in from local businesses and recruit more than 90 volunteers to assist with the events.

Focusing efforts on nonfarmers
Through this experience, more than 600 people learned about various agricultural topics from livestock and crops to farm safety and conservation. Because of the success of this initiative, Baudler secured grants and volunteers to bring ag education to six Adair County preschools. Plans are underway to expand this effort into kindergarten and third-grade classes for the 2018-19 school year.

Baudler provides leadership to other projects focusing on connecting with nonfarming audiences. She’s an adviser for Speak Out for Agriculture, to engage inner-city youth in Chicago and Sioux Falls, S.D., in agricultural activities. She’s also the administrator of the “Who’s Your Iowa Farmer?” Facebook page, which shares positive farming messages that are viewed more than 20,000 times per week.

Baudler volunteers in various roles for the Iowa State Fair and Adair County Fair, serves as a board member of Empowering Adair County Foundation, and looks for opportunities to talk with others about agriculture, whether on the radio or at an ag breakfast event.

“Beth is very deserving of this award,” says Beth Irlbeck, IFBF regional manager. “When she isn’t working on her own farm or at her off-farm job, she’s out there sharing what farming in Iowa is like today. She’s an asset to Adair County Farm Bureau and the community.”

The Young Farmer Leadership Award is in honor of past IFBF President Bob Joslin, who was well known for his support and encouragement of young farmers. The award goes to farmers under the age of 35 who demonstrate outstanding leadership in Farm Bureau, agriculture and their community.

Young Farmer Achievement Award winners
Ryan and Alle Bailey of Ringgold County were named IFBF’s 2018 Young Farmer Achievement Award winners. This award honors Iowans between the ages of 18 and 35 who demonstrate outstanding management ability on their family farms and have a positive presence in both Farm Bureau activities and their local community.

As fifth-generation farmers, the Baileys agree there’s no better place to grow up than on an Iowa farm. He and Alle continuously work to improve their family farm by converting old buildings on their land into areas where cattle can have access to feed, seek comfort during inclement weather and have a designated place to give individual attention to cattle that need it.

By working with nutritionists, veterinarians and the use of genetics, the Baileys have seen health improvements in their livestock, creating greater efficiency in getting cattle to market.

On the crop side, the Baileys run their own retail seed business. They offer drone crop scouting and agronomic solutions for clients. On their own farm, they use precision ag to apply fertilizer where needed, in the exact amount needed. They’ve planted 50 acres of cover crops with a goal to increase these acres for cattle grazing. Other goals include increasing their cattle herd size, finding ways to use additional water quality practices and adopting new technologies for record keeping.

“Knowing you’re creating a food supply for the world, it brings intense meaning. That’s what drives my passion,” Alle says. The two are active in Ringgold County Farm Bureau and are members of IFBF Young Farmers. They’re active in the cattle industry, assisting the Iowa Beef Industry Council, county cattle producers and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. They are active in church and community civic groups.

2 other young farmers honored
Kipp Fehr of Palo Alto County is the second-place finalist for Young Farmer Achievement Award. Since high school, Fehr has grown his farm over time, acquiring land through beginning farmer loans and rental agreements.

To continue expanding his farm, Fehr custom-sprays other farms in the county and works at a local Case IH dealer. In 2013, he began using strip till to reduce soil erosion. He aims to keep improving his land and his farm’s profitability with cover crops. Fehr serves on the county Farm Bureau board and has been involved in policy and lobbying trips.

The third-place finalists for this award are Sherwin and Kristin Plate of Mahaska County. After serving four years in the U.S. Army, Sherwin came home to the family farm where he and Kristen and their three young children raise crops and hogs. The Plates grow their own cover crop seed, which they plant on 750 acres of their no-till corn and soybeans. Sherwin serves on the county Farm Bureau board; Kristen is a recent IFBF Ag Leader graduate. They are active in their local church.

Young Farmer Discussion Meet winner
Alle Bailey of Diagonal won the Young Farmer Discussion Meet held during IFBF’s annual meeting. The winner goes on to represent Iowa in the Young Farmer and Rancher National Discussion Meet during the American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention in New Orleans on Jan. 11-16.

Since Alle and husband Ryan will be competing for the Young Farmer Achievement Award at AFBF, Alicia Heun of Greene County will be the alternate representing Iowa during the national discussion meet competition.

The Young Farmer Discussion Meet is a unique contest. Participants are scored based on their ability to engage in a “cooperative” discussion on challenges affecting agriculture, such as how to correct fictitious information about modern farming practices or attract younger generations into the ag workforce.

Throughout the discussion, the young farmers are awarded points in their ability to identify the problem, seek solutions and listen to others’ viewpoints: skills pertinent to gaining consumer trust in today’s world.

The eight contestants participating in the semi-final rounds during this year’s IFBF annual meeting earned their slots by competing at the IFBF Young Farmer Conference in January 2018. Throughout the year, these young farmers work with IFBF staff members who provide highlights and background information on discussion topics and public speaking coaching.

Four of the eight contestants go on to compete in the final round where a state winner is selected and named during the annual IFBF Young Farmer Award Ceremony.

IFBF Distinguished Service to Ag Award
A lifetime of dedication to Iowa agriculture and a legacy of achievement in the Iowa ag community has earned two farmers the 2018 Iowa Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award. Dean Lemke of Douds and Roger Bumann of Ida Grove were recognized with this honor during the recent IFBF meeting.

Lemke, a fifth-generation farmer in Franklin County, farms with two sons, who represent the sixth generation on the family farm with roots dating to 1876. Lemke is known as a leading advocate for soil and water conservation, with four decades of experience developing and implementing research initiatives and new technologies and programs to advance conservation and environmental stewardship.

As chief of the Water Resources Bureau at the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship, Lemke advanced the environmental stewardship of production agriculture as the lead author of the ag nonpoint source section of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Throughout his career with IDALS and on his own family farm, he has led the charge taking on the challenge of improving Iowa’s water quality and soil health.

Today, Lemke serves as the director of nutrient management and environmental stewardship, leading the environmental programs of the Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council. Lemke was responsible for the formation and mission of INREC, an Iowa ag organization that brings together farming and ag commodity groups with agribusinesses with the focus of measuring farmers’ conservation progress and adoption of practices outlined in the state’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

“If you could pick one person with the most influence on designing and implementing statewide conservation practices in Iowa, Dean Lemke is the guy,” says Larry Sailer, past president of Franklin County Farm Bureau, who nominated Lemke for the award. 

Lemke’s conservation reach extends well beyond his Franklin County farm and even Iowa, where he’s played a leading role in conservation implementation. Lemke serves as co-chair of the national coordinating committee of the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrients (Gulf Hypoxia) Task Force. He organized and chairs the five-state Upper Mississippi River States Collaboration Team with a focus on addressing Midwest water quality and the hypoxia problem in the Gulf of Mexico.

2nd winner for 2018
A second winner of the 2018 Distinguished Service to Iowa Agriculture Award is Roger Bumann. He may be the most visible farmer in Ida County, currently serving on eight county boards including Ag in the Classroom, Ida County Pork Producers, chair of Ida County NRCS, and he serves as a township trustee. Additionally, Bumann has served on Ida County Farm Bureau board for more than 30 years. 

He’s best known for grilling at as many as 45 community events per year. Whether it’s a fundraiser for the school, a local sporting event, or a Kiwanis program, Bumann mans the grill and talks about ag and food production with attendees. He was nominated by the Ida County Farm Bureau for being a leading advocate for local agriculture and taking an active role connecting with consumers and answering questions about farming today.

The Distinguished Service to Agriculture award honors individuals who’ve played a significant role in agriculture at the local, state or national level. This is the 39th year for this service award. The two winners received plaques honoring their achievements and will be added to a permanent display at IFBF headquarters in West Des Moines.

Source: Iowa Farm Bureau

 

 

 

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