Larry Haren, a farmer in Hamilton County, received a 2017 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award in a ceremony at the Iowa State Fair Wednesday, Aug. 16.
The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award is a joint effort of the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Lt. Governor, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. It recognizes Iowa farmers as local leaders who are taking steps to improve or protect the environment and natural resources in their farming operations. Those recognized have adopted best management practices and incorporated environmental stewardship throughout their farms and work to encourage other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building upon success.
Haren’s farm has been in operation for more than 10 years and covers over 400 acres. He installed a pond to drain his neighbors’ tile, which alone reduced nitrates by 50 percent. He then installed a denitrifying bioreactor to reduce the nitrate levels even further. Other practices implemented include conservation tillage, cover crops, conservation buffers, and numerous areas for wildlife habitat and protection.
In addition to the conservation work on his own farm, Larry has served on the Hamilton County Conservation Board and as a commissioner for the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District. He is a Pheasants Forever chapter member and has graciously hosted field days at his farm, most recently in June 2017 in collaboration with Prairie Rivers of Iowa and Iowa Learning Farms.
Haren cites soil conservation and the building of soil health for long-term sustainability as reasons for incorporating these practices. Haren said the information and research being conducted on soil chemistry and biology across the Midwest is a great resource for informing farmers about the long-term farming practices that can be implemented to improve soil health.
Haren was nominated for the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award by Prairie Rivers of Iowa. Kayla Hasper, Watershed Coordinator at Prairie Rivers of Iowa stated, “Prairie Rivers of Iowa is pleased to honor and promote great stewardship happening in our local watersheds. Larry is a great model of sustainable farming in our community and I am proud that he was recognized with this award.”
For more information about the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader awards, please visit http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/EnvironmentalLeader.asp.