(Posted Thu. Mar 6th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association recognized good stewardship last week during the 2014 Commodity Classic convention and trade show in San Antonio, Texas.  Tim Smith from Eagle Grove, Iowa was honored as the inaugural honoree in NCGA’s Good Steward Recognition Program. The program and award funding was provided by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation as part of their Harvesting the Potential campaign to raise awareness among U.S. farmers of the importance of conservation agriculture.


“NCGA is known for taking the lead on many programs that are now commonplace in the corn industry,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “We expand awareness of best practices in sustainable corn production by recognizing the special efforts of those who demonstrate the economic and conservation value of soil management, and Tim has really proven a superior commitment to sustainability through innovation.”


“We are pleased to support the Good Steward Award to recognize farmers who demonstrate superior commitment to sustainable farming practices,” said Howard G. Buffett, chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.  “We are proud to partner with NCGA to advance soil health and conservation agriculture among America’s farmers, who play a critical role in feeding the world, and congratulate Tim on winning this award.”


Smith grows 820 acres of corn and soybeans in Wright County, located in north central Iowa. Within the past few years, he has adopted strip tillage, nutrient management, cover crops and a bioreactor on his farm. In addition to developing an NRCS Nutrient Management Plan, Smith participated in a nutrient strip trial to get a better understanding of the impact of reduced nitrogen application on corn yield. He also monitors the water quality benefits of his bioreactor along with monitoring his tile water to get a better understanding of how his implemented best management practices are impacting water quality. And Smith has conducted soil quality sampling to gather baseline data regarding soil health – to assist with identifying changes/improvements over time as a result of adoption of conservation practices such as strip tillage and cover crops.


In addition to making significant improvements on his farm, Smith has also become a leader in conservation outreach. He has been interviewed on camera and for articles published by multiple conservation and agricultural organizations. He has hosted tours and participated in field days for local farmers, agribusinesses and legislative leaders alike. Smith has presented his knowledge of and experiences with best management practices and water quality monitoring at conferences, to advance conservation implementation in the Boone River Watershed and beyond.


Smith was nominated for this recognition by The Nature Conservancy, which is working with NCGA, Monsanto, the Walton Family Foundation and others on the new Soil Health Partnership program.