The American Soybean Association (ASA) honored Jefferson, Iowa, soybean farmer David Ausberger as the national winner of ASA’s Conservation Legacy Awards program. The program is sponsored by BASF, Monsanto, the United Soybean Board and Corn and Soybean Digest, and recognizes soybean farmers across the country for their outstanding environmental and conservation practices, while maintaining profitable farming operations.
“David is a shining example of the innovation that happens every day on soybean farms across the country. He isn’t simply maintaining the environmental quality of his land, he is improving it,” said ASA President and fellow Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser. “The unique work that David is doing reaches far beyond his farm, and will help other farmers in their efforts to continue productive operations while remaining excellent stewards of the land.”
Prior to his recognition as the program’s national winner, Ausberger was named the Midwest Regional winner of the Conservation Legacy Award for his use of no-till—or as he describes it “never till”—and expansive cover cropping, a practice he says enables him to better manage soil and water quality, disease, weeds and insects. An active participant in multiple federal conservation programs, Ausberger also pointed to innovative strategies like the strategic application of nutrients through an extensive composting program that makes use of poultry litter from a nearby operation, and waste wood chips from the City of Jefferson.
“Conservation is a legacy that goes both forward and backward for me and my family,” says Ausberger. “It is a way to preserve the land for my kids (or somebody else’s kids) who may be farming it in the future. It is also a way to honor my dad’s ideals and commitment. Whether my kids and their children are walking this ground or live a thousand miles away when they grow up, I hope they do not have to worry about the water they drink or the air they breathe.”
Through cooperation with the Iowa Soybean Association and participation in multiple ISA initiatives, Ausberger developed a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan to reduce nutrient loss and better manage inputs. As a Certified Conservation Farmer, Ausberger shares his success with advanced conservation measures with other farmers in his area through more than 40 hours of classroom and field experience. Finally, Ausberger is part owner of a seven-turbine wind farm that generates enough electricity for his entire community.
ASA presented the award to Ausberger on Friday during the association’s annual awards banquet at Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Nominations are open for the 2015 Conservation Legacy Awards Program online at www.SoyGrowers.com/Award-Programs.