Understanding why Indiana is one of the leading states in the nation, arguably the leading state, in promoting cover corps and the value of soil health isn't hard to figure out.
If you attended the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts annual meeting in Indianapolis, or if you attend your local soil and water conservation district annual meeting coming up soon, you will know why. Indiana is blessed with great conservation leaders. Many of them are farmers who put their knowledge into practice and set examples for others each and every day.
Jeff Meinders presided over the IASWCD conference, serving his final year as IASWCD president. He's a farmer from Ripley County, and his farm name says all you need to know about where his passions lie: Clearwater Simmentals.
The president is allowed to present a special president's award each year to someone who has impacted their work in promoting soil conservation. Meinders chose Gene Schmidt, a farmer form LaPorte County.
Schmidt isn't just any farmer. He recently served as president of the National Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. It's an honor few people ever get. It meant being away from home for an incredible number of days for two years in a row, but he credits his wife Diane with helping pick up the slack.
Meanwhile, he represented conservation and took the message across the country, addressing legislators and citizens alike, emphasizing the importance of soil conservation, and the need for dollars to get the work done that needs to be done to protect soil resources and make sure there are clean water supplies for the future.
Explaining how he had influenced his life, Meinder said he was honored to present Schmidt with the president's award.