Published on 12/09/2019

Cream of the Crop: Honoring Farmers and Ag Retailers, Our Partners in Excellence

When it comes to stewardship, farmers, in partnership with their local ag retailers, are leading the way. Driving stewardship is more than individual practices - it also takes innovation at the farm level and consistent storytelling and advocacy at the local, state and federal levels.

Each year at our Partners in Excellence Summit, we honor an inspiring group of farmers and ag retailers who are doing just that – driving stewardship on the farm, to the benefit of their operations, local communities, their states and our nation.
At this year’s summit, we awarded the top farmers and ag retailers in four categories: Outstanding Retailer Award, Outstanding Sustainability Award, Advocacy Award and Innovation Award.
Ohio-based Heritage Cooperative is the recipient of the 2019 Partners In Excellence Outstanding Retailer Award. Heritage Cooperative is a key partner, along with local farmers, in our landmark initiative with global ingredients supplier Tate & Lyle to assess and accelerate sustainability on 1.5 million acres of U.S.-grown corn – the acreage equivalent of Tate & Lyle’s entire global corn purchases. Heritage Cooperative has also been key in the expansion of our partnership with Campbell Soup Company to include 60,000 wheat acres in central Ohio.
Also honored in this category is Innovative Ag Services. This Iowa-based ag retailer has worked with farmers to enter 300,000 acres into the Truterra™ Insights Engine™ this year. Innovative Ag Services is a key partner in our recently-launched collaboration with Nestlé Purina PetCare to support environmental stewardship practices on 50,000 acres where the company sources ingredients for its dog and cat food products.
Tim Daly of Farley, Iowa, is honored with the Outstanding Sustainability Award for his on-farm conservation efforts. Tim began minimum tillage in 1977, and fully transitioned to no-till in 2019. Tim works with his local ag retailer, Innovative Ag Services, to use the Truterra Insights Engine to boost his on-farm stewardship and improve ROI. When asked about Tim, his ag retailer said “Simply stated, Tim leads by example and has for many years. He has prioritized sustainability long before the overall public placed any importance on sustainable practices. He did it because it was right for him and the environment as a steward of the land, never because he was told to.”
Also honored in this category is Morgan Brothers, LLC of Cayuga, Indiana. They farm 100 percent no-till and have implemented cover cropping on 80 percent of their acres. Every year, Morgan Brothers hosts a cover crop field day on their farm to share their experiences with no-till and cover cropping with neighboring farms. Their local ag retailer, Ceres Solutions, says Morgan Brothers’ example “offers farmers the confidence to get started on their no-till, cover crops and sustainable ag practices journey.”
The Advocacy Award winner is Matt Rezac of Weston, Nebraska. In May of this year, Matt shared his perspective as a Nebraska farmer at a hearing focused on climate change, hosted by the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee in Washington, DC. Matt advocates for climate solutions and the important role agriculture must play in driving these results. When it comes to stewardship, Matt says “there is no one better than the American farmer.”
Also honored in this category is Fred Uhl of Uhl Farms in Harrison County, Indiana. Working with his ag retailer, Premier Ag, Fred has found a correlation between a profitable acre and an acre managed with increased conservation, especially when it comes to yields and soil health.  Premier Ag says Fred is eager to share his stewardship story, noting that he “diligently works alongside the government at all levels to ensure that the farmer voice is heard.”
This year’s Innovation Award is awarded to A&A Farms, a fourth-generation farm in Tillar, Arkansas. This season, Jake Appleberry and his father, Frank Appleberry, began to use advanced scouting and zone spraying on a trial basis, a practice that they say has led to using a reduced amount of insecticide and an increased number of local pollinators on the farm, striking a balance between sustainability and profitability. Their ag retailer, GreenPoint AG, says the Appleberrys’ embrace of innovation is helping them “continue to be good stewards of the land for generations to come.
Also honored in this category is Crosby Farms of Great Bend, Kansas. After Crosby Farms attended the Partners in Excellence Summit in 2018, they decided to work with their ag retailer, Great Bend Co-op, to use the Truterra Insights Engine on their land. Great Bend Coop says “neighbors and peers recognize the Crosbys as a quiet leader of innovation.”
We’re proud to work alongside innovative farmers and ag retailers like those honored at this year’s Partners in Excellence Summit. We know that these are just a few of the many outstanding stewardship stories happening across the country. To learn more about our #MyStewardshipStory campaign to highlight those stories, click here or follow us on Twitter at @TruterraLLC.