Since 1999, key conservation and agricultural organizations have sponsored the River Friendly Farmer (RFF) Program. The statewide initiative recognizes farmers who, through good production management practices, help keep Indiana’s rivers, lakes and streams clean.
Midway Farms of LaGrange will be among the 55 receiving the 2012 River Friendly Farmer award next week. Midway Farms was nominated by the LaGrange County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Andy Green will represent them at the awards ceremony next Wednesday, Aug. 15, at the Indiana State Fair.
Last year, two farmers from LaGrange County – Floyd Miller and Ervin Yoder – both received the award.
Lt. Governor Becky Skillman will join IASWCD President Ray McCormick, Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock, and USDA NRCS State Conservationist Jane Hardisty at the ceremony. Festivities get underway at 1 p.m. in the 4-H Exhibit Hall Auditorium (2nd floor). "President Abraham Lincoln" will also join the event to help celebrate the USDA's 150th anniversary.
LaGrange County SWCD Director Martin Franke noted that Midway Farms was nominated due to their recent efforts to substantially reduce sediment runoff from their fields. “They’ve made a substantial investment in strip-till equipment,” Franke said.
The new equipment allows the farm to seed its fields with far less disruption of the soil, which minimizes soil runoff into the area watershed. Franke added that sediment runoff is the number one water pollutant in the state. The soil can also carry other pollutants with it as it runs into the watershed.
The 1,000-acre farm is located near Oliver Lake and water from its fields run into Olin, Oliver, Messick, and Hackenburg lakes in LaGrange County before heading into Noble County. The farm rotates corn, soybean, wheat, hay, and seed corn crops.
The award recognizes farmers who are using conservation best management practices to protect water quality on their farms as well as in local streams, rivers, lakes and watersheds. The Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (IASWCD) looks at the watersheds where the farmers live, how they’re improving the quality of water that leaves their farms, and conservation practices in the county and watershed.
The award is a partnership between the IASWCD, the 92 county SWCDs, Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana State Department of Agriculture Division of Soil Conservation, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. This year, 40 Indiana counties are represented in the River Friendly Farmer award.