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Praising those who believe in soil conservation

Slideshow: The Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts recognizes those who go above and beyond for conservation.

Perhaps the most important thing the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts does each year is recognize Hoosiers who go above and beyond to save soil and promote saving soil in Indiana.

These Hoosiers are great role models. If you have a son or daughter who needs someone to look up to and to emulate, any one of the people recognized by the IASWCD this year would make a good candidate for that honor.

Here is a brief look at those honored at the recent IASWCD annual conference:

Supervisor of the Year. Brad Ponsler, Jennings County, has served as a supervisor for the Jennings County SWCD for 18 years, and is currently chairman. He was instrumental in bringing the multi-year district project, which includes a pollinator planting, at the county park in North Vernon to fruition.

Conservation Farmer of the Year. Jim Moseley, Clark’s Hill, was recognized for making regenerative agriculture the cornerstone of his farming operation. He began implementing conservation tillage over 30 years ago and added cover crops over a decade ago. Moseley has been a friend of conservation and other farmers at the local, state and national levels for his entire career.

Friend of Conservation. Duane Hopf, Dubois County, serves as an example to others when it comes to saving soil and preserving water quality. He operates Mill Creek Farms and was a supervisor for 12 years. He is the go-to person for the district’s no-till drill rental program and has been for 32 years and counting!

Earth Team Volunteer. Alan Smock volunteered over 100 hours in 2021 and untold hours in previous years to spread the word about the power of conservation in his community. Smock, Jasper, volunteers with the Dubois County SWCD, and is heavily involved in the Land Stewardship Initiative, a 10-year ongoing demonstration project that models how to improve a farm using conservation principles. The project is in cooperation with the Jasper campus of Vincennes University.

District Showcase Award, Blackford County SWCD. The Blackford County SWCD was recognized as an example and mini model for the Indiana Conservation Partnership. This local SWCD worked with partners in two major watersheds to install a variety of conservation practices and showcase the conservation message.

District Showcase Award, Clay County. The Clay County SWCD has given away 9,100 free trees to county residents since the project was started in 2013. It involves over 150 student volunteers, including many FFA members at Northview High School near Brazil.

District Showcase Award, Decatur County. The Decatur County SWCD developed a small area at the county fairgrounds into a pollinator plot, gaining cooperation from numerous agencies. The SWCD capitalized on the small plot by using it for educational purposes on social media, promoting the value of urban conservation.

See photos of the winners in the accompanying slideshow.

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