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For Immediate Release
Monday, March 7, 2016

Dustin Vande Hoef
515/281-3375 or 515/326-1616 (cell)



DES MOINES –Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today highlighted 11 individuals, companies and organizations that were recognized with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Leader Awards for their progress, their innovative solutions and their commitment to serving our communities through collaboration and hard work.

Northey created the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Leader Awards to recognize, honor and promote Iowa citizens, companies and organizations who have made significant contributions to Iowa’s agriculture industry.  Those recognized have displayed leadership within the categories of Innovation, Conservation, Education and Promotion, Service, and Collaboration.

“It is a tremendous honor and privilege to have the opportunity to recognize a group of leaders that have gone above and beyond in their service to Iowa agriculture,” Northey said.  “These Ag Leader Award recipients tell, and live, the story of agriculture every day and I’m proud we have them as part of our Iowa agriculture family.”

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Leader Award Winners
Harrisvaccines – Innovation: Research
Founded in 2005 by Dr. Hank Harris, Harrisvaccines is a global leader in animal vaccine technology, specializing in swine and poultry.  They have a USDA-licensed production facility in the ISU Research Park in Ames.  Harrisvaccines has been recently acquired by Merck Animal Health and will maintain their presence in Iowa.

American Natural Processors – Innovation: Value-Added Ag
American Natural Processors is one of the largest organic ingredient processors in the U.S., extracting and refining vegetable oils while also processing a wide variety of grains, seeds and biomass for markets around the world.  They have processing plants in Hartley, Cherokee, Galva and Sioux City.

Dr. Darrell Trampel – Innovation: Animal Agriculture
Dr. Trampel was universally respected and admired during his time as a professor at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and his 32 years as Extension Poultry Vet and Diagnostician.  Dr. Trampel passed away in August 2014.  His wife Christine accepted the award on his behalf

Steve Berger – Conservation: Pioneer
With his wife, Julie, and his parents, Dennis and Janice, Mr. Berger operates a 2,200 acre farm near Wellman in Washington County.  He leads by example and uses 100 percent no-till and cover crops to increase soil fertility and optimize yields. In addition, he willingly shares his experiences with others and helps them adopt additional conservation practices on their farm.

Homer Focht – Conservation: Pioneer
Having built his first terrace in 1946 after returning to Southwest Iowa following World War II, Mr. Focht has continued to promote conservation by building practices to control soil erosion and improve drainage.  At 92, he still operates his bulldozing business near Red Oak.

Iowa Area Development Group – Education & Promotion: Economic Development
Founded in 1985, Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) has provided consultation and assistance to over 2,000 projects for businesses and communities to invest and create jobs in Iowa.

Rod Swoboda, Editor of Wallaces Farmer – Education & Promotion: Ag Journalism
Rod was appointed Editor of Wallace’s Farmer in 2003, now serving as only the tenth editor in the magazine’s 160 year history.  He is widely recognized across Iowa, especially for his articles on crop production and soil conservation, and at the Farm Progress Show.

John and Joan Maxwell, Cinnamon Ridge Farms – Education & Promotion: Agri-Tourism
The Maxwell family owns and operates a commercial farm near Donahue in Scott County.  In addition, they welcomed over 5,000 guests in 2015, from international visitors to grade school students, to see commercial-scale farming, a robotic dairy and country store.

Lutheran Services of Iowa, Global Greens Refugee Services – Service
Global Greens coordinates land access and production education for refugees in central Iowa to reconnect with the land.  Their urban farm and Farmers Market offer business development training opportunities.

Easter Seals Iowa, Rural Solutions Program – Service
The Rural Solutions program serves farm families by making modifications to farm equipment and homes so that people can continue to make a living by farming.  Modifications can include designing and installing grain bin lifts, tractor and combine lifts and seating systems, extending and widening tractor steps, and modifying hand tools.  Since the program’s inception in 1986, it has allowed more than 1,800 Iowa farmers with disabilities from all 99 counties to continue farming.  The program has been replicated in over 30 states around the country.

Iowa Food and Family Project – Collaboration
The Iowa Food and Family Project is made up of farmers, farm groups, nutritionists, retailers, processors, manufacturers and consumers.  Their activities bring Iowans together to help them have greater knowledge about our food and trust in how farmers grow it.

Northey presented the awards at the Iowa Agriculture Leaders Dinner held at the Knapp Animal Learning Center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on March 1.


*** Reporters and Editors: Photos of Secretary Northey presenting the awards are available on Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Flickr page at in the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Leader Awards album.   


Mailing Address: IDALS,  Wallace State Office Building,   502 E. 9th Street,  Des Moines, IA 50319:     PH: 515-281-5321
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