The Conservation Legacy Awards Program is a national program designed to recognize the outstanding environmental and conservation achievement of soybean farmers, which helps produce more sustainable U.S. soybeans.
Each winner will be recognized at the ASA Awards Banquet on March 3, 2017, at Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas. During the banquet, one of the farmers will be chosen as the national winner.
Andy Bensend, Dallas, Wis. (Midwest Region)
Keith Masser, Sacramento, Pa. (Northeast Region)
Matt Griggs, Humboldt, Tenn. (South Region)
The achievements of these farmers serve as a positive example for other farmers and helps produce a more sustainable U.S. soybean crop. This program is sponsored by ASA, BASF, Monsanto, Corn & Soybean Digest, the United Soybean Board/Soybean Checkoff and Valent.
For over 30 years now, Andy Bensend has been on an educational journey to developing an environmentally sensitive, yet highly productive, approach to farming.
A key to Bensend’s farming success has been the ability to restore productivity to land that has been depleted by erosion or other factors. “My strategy has been really quite simple,” Bensend said. “Number one is to reduce tillage. My goal is to eliminate tillage almost entirely. The second is to correct deficiencies. If we can use livestock waste, manure is a great way to correct some of those deficiencies.”
Bensend further explained that his next step is to restore soil quality. In the last five to seven years, Bensend has significantly increased the use of cover crops in his operation to achieve this objective. He also helped found a local group of like-minded growers in his area called Farmers of Barron County Watersheds, that helps promote use of cover crops and other valuable conservation practices.
“It is possible to be conservation minded and to do everything right from a soil quality and soil health standpoint without forcing yourself to operate at a loss,” Bensend said. He is convinced that a strong conservation mindset can actually boost the economic sustainability of a farm.Share