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South Dakota Soil Health Coalition presents awardsSouth Dakota Soil Health Coalition presents awards

Ruth and Dwayne Beck named ‘Friends of Soil Health,’ and Gene and Craig Stehly receive the Legacy Award.

March 4, 2019

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Gene (left) and Craig Stehly the SD Soil Health Coalition’s Legacy Award
LEGACY AWARD: Gene (left) and Craig Stehly, Mitchell, S.D., farmers and longtime no-till advocates, received the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition’s Legacy Award.SDHSC

Congratulations to Ruth and Dwyane Beck and Gene and Craig Stehly. The Becks were named South Dakota Soil Health Coalition’s 2019 “Friend of Soil Health,” and the Stehlys received SDSHC’s first Legacy Award.

Ruth and Dwayne Beck
The SDSHC created the Friend of Soil Health award to recognize those who have made a substantial and lasting impact in the areas of soil health education and advocacy.

Ruth Beck is a South Dakota State University Extension agronomy field specialist. Her husband, Dwayne Beck, is a SDSU professor and Dakota Lakes Research Farm manager.

“The Becks have a legacy of promoting the adoption of no-till, diversity and cover crops for the betterment of the soils not only in the United States, but worldwide,” said Levi Neuharth, SDSHC board member, in a statement.


FRIENDS OF SOIL HEALTH: Dwayne Beck (holding plaque) and Ruth Beck (standing next to Dwayne) received the Friend of Soil Health award. Pictured with the Becks are South Dakota Soil Health Coalition board members (back row left to right) Candice Mizera, Jason Kontz, Dennis Hoyle, Shawn Freeland and Levi Neuharth; and (front row, left to right) Terry Ness, Dan Forgey and Bryan Jorgensen.

Craig and Gene Stehly
Craig and Gene Stehly, of Mitchell, S.D., received the Legacy Award for improving the soil health and water quality on their farm. The brothers, who have been partners in the operation since the early 1980s, utilize a systems approach that includes the use of no-till, crop rotation, cover crops, and the planting of native grasses and pollinator-friendly plants in sensitive areas.

SDSHC’s Legacy Award honors past board member Al Miron, who passed away suddenly in November 2017. He often said, “The best place to stop erosion is at the top of the hill, not at the bottom.” He left behind a lifelong legacy of conservation and commitment to increasing soil health.

Making a difference
The Becks and Stehlys have made a difference in South Dakota and beyond, Neuharth said.

“Their work educating, advocating and implementing soil health practices on the land is helping to protect, preserve and rejuvenate one of the most important resources we have available to us, our soil,” he said.

SDSHC provided information for this article.

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