Each year, the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts recognizes individuals or groups who have supported soil conservation and IASWCD over a long period of time with the Friend of Conservation award.
One of the recipients this year is Tom J. Bechman, editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer. He received the award on stage at the IASWCD conference in Indianapolis from Meghan Grebner, a farm broadcaster with Brownfield Ag News, sponsor of the Friend of Conservation award.
Jennifer Boyle Warner, executive director of IASWCD, says three Friend of Conservation awards were presented at the conference this year. Others recognized were the Ball Brothers Foundation and Saddle Butte Ag Inc.
Based in Muncie, the Ball Brothers Foundation awards grants for worthwhile causes, primarily in east-central Indiana. Saddle Butte Ag, Shedd, Ore., offers BioTill brand cover crop seed, and has been an important player in helping spread the word about cover crops throughout Indiana.
Jane Hardisty, Indiana state conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and master of ceremonies for the IASWCD awards program, highlighted accomplishments of each awardee.
She noted that Bechman has supported conservation in his various roles with Indiana Prairie Farmer since 1981. He has written and continues to write articles relating the benefits of cover crops, soil health and soil conservation in general. His plaque was decorated with headlines and pictures from some of the most recent articles that have appeared in Indiana Prairie Farmer highlighting no-till and cover crop practices.
Hardisty also highlighted Bechman’s service in earlier years as a soil and water conservation district supervisor, an officer of the Hoosier Heartland Resource Conservation and Development Council, and a co-founder and adviser of the Johnson County Youth Conservation Board, the only functioning body of its kind in the country.
Information supplied by Jennifer Boyle Warner was used in this story.