Mark and Ed Shew (center) were awarded the 2021 River Friend Farmer for Vermillion County. Pictured with the Shew’s are Farm Bureau President, Randy Kron (L) and ISDA Director of Soil Conservation, Trevor Laureys.

NEWPORT, Ind. – Indiana’s lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands are valuable natural resources. Protecting these water resources is imperative and 47 farmers received accolades on August 18 at the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds for their “river-friendly” efforts.

“Honoring these farmers annually for their conservation efforts is a high priority for the state association of soil and water conservation districts. We are so pleased to be able to meet in person and show our ‘thanks’ for helping us improve water quality and build soil health statewide,” states Bobby Hettmansperger, board president, Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. “We need everyone to get on board like these farmers and make the protection of natural resources a priority so they are here to enjoy for future generations.”

Ed and Mark Shew of E&M Farms were named Vermillion County’s River Friendly Farmer this year. E&M Farms produce corn, soybeans, grain sorghum and popcorn in Vermillion, Parke and Vigo counties. They use no-till and minimum tillage practices on their crop acres and 65-70 percent of their acres utilize cover crops after the cash crop is harvested. These practices along with maintaining grassed waterways and buffer strips help keep soil and nutrients in place and out of our local waterways. Wildlife also benefits from these conservation practices by providing cover and habitat to a variety of species.

The annual River Friendly Farmer Award ceremony recognizes farmers for their implementation of conservation practices, like no-till and cover crops, which ultimately protect waterways and improve water quality in Indiana. These farmers were nominated by their local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD).

Sponsored by Indiana Farm Bureau, the River Friendly Farmer Award program began in 2000 and has honored over 1,000 Indiana farms.

This year the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts hosted the event and IASWCD Board President Bobby Hettmansperger opened the ceremony and remarks were made by Randy Kron, Indiana Farm Bureau President; Jerry Raynor, Indiana State Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS); and, Trevor Laureys, Director of Soil Conservation, Indiana State Department of Agriculture. Amie Simpson, Brownfield Ag News, emceed the ceremony.

For a complete list of this year’s winners along with a short bio, go to:

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