The American Soybean Association (ASA) is pleased to announce James O. Andrew, Andrew Farms, Inc., Jefferson, IA, has been named “2007 Conservationist of the Year.” He was recently announced the national winner at the ASA Awards Banquet at the Commodity Classic in Tampa, FL.

In its sixth year, the Conservation Legacy Awards Program is a national program designed to recognize the outstanding environmental and conservation achievements of U.S. soybean farmers. Selection is based on each farmer’s environmental and economic program. Judges look for dedication to the land through cropland management practices; farmstead protection; and conservation and environmental management.

Andrew was one of four regional winners of this program, from which a national winner is chosen.

Founded in 1975 from three “Iowa Century Farms” and acquired lands, Andrew and his father embarked on an intense program of annual tile outlet terrace construction to protect the highly erodible land in their operation. “Conservation is a ‘way of life’ in our operation as we strive to improve and make our existing farmland more profitable rather than investing in additional acres,” says Andrew. “No stone goes unturned or not given full consideration in this effort to meld our production goals with the highest of soil and water conservation standards.”

Andrew practices 100% no-till on his farm. Since participating in on-farm nitrogen research since 1998, Andrew has adopted a spring-only anhydrous ammonia application program. He keeps all herbicides and pesticides in locked buildings with concrete floors. Excess chemicals are stored in a heated container to prevent freezing and container breakage. He maintains three farm ponds with grassed, wooded areas for fish, game and wildlife habitat. Ponds have Canadian goose nesting barrels and wood duck nesting boxes. All areas around creeks have buffer strips to prevent stream bank erosion and encourage wildlife.

Applications were scored by a panel of judges that included representatives from the Soil & Water Conservation Society, the National Association of Conservation Districts, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Corn And Soybean Digest, Monsanto, a member of the ASA Conservation Task Force and two 2006 regional winners of this program.

Along with the American Soybean Association, this program is co-sponsored by Monsanto and The Corn And Soybean Digest.