Secretary Naig Recognizes Agriculture Leaders at Virtual Agribusiness Showcase

Hertz Farm Management and Dean Sponheim Receive Secretary’s Iowa Ag Leader Awards

DES MOINES, Iowa (March 31, 2021) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced two outstanding agriculture leaders during the virtual Iowa Agribusiness Showcase and Conference. The Secretary’s Iowa Ag Leader Awards are presented to people and organizations that make exceptional contributions to the state’s agriculture community. Hertz Farm Management and Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Dean Sponheim are recognized with the Secretary’s Iowa Ag Leader Award for Conservation.

“I am proud to present Hertz Farm Management and Dean Sponheim with the Secretary’s Iowa Ag Leader Awards. They are trusted advisors who work with farmers and landowners to identify conservation solutions that are right for their landscapes and their operations,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “These recipients are great advocates for soil health and water quality and their work is critical to driving conservation across the state of Iowa.”

Hertz Farm Management

Hertz Farm Management (HFM) has been a great partner in leading the development of conservation drainage projects, including saturated buffers, bioreactors, and wetlands. HFM farm managers worked directly with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to coordinate the installation of several saturated buffers, bioreactors and larger Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) wetland projects. HFM farm managers help their clients navigate the process to implement conservation practices into their operations, and help farmers and landowners recognize the importance of using soil health and water quality practices. HFM also connects their clients with the Department, and other conservation programs, to help scale-up the number of conservation practices on the ground. They provide a leadership opportunity to balance the needs of sustainable crop production including water quality, wildlife and production of food and fuel.

Recently, HFM collaborated with the Department, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA), and other partners to develop the new Iowa Systems Approach to Conservation Drainage Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). This project will leverage partner contributions to bring in $10 million from NRCS to support technical and financial assistance for conservation drainage practices.

Dean Sponheim

Dean Sponheim is a fourth generation farmer and CCA, who lives southwest of Osage. Along with his wife, Cindy, son, Josh, and sales associate, Rachel Amundson, he owns and operates Sponheim Sales and Service and provides custom strip-till, no-till and cover crop seeding and management services. Sponheim and his team promote the adoptation of conservation practices, including cover crop and strip/no tillage, by providing individualized customer service, knowledge and products for farmers, growers and ag retailers. He is an instrumental member of his local watershed group, Rock Creek. Sponheim has hosted and presented at many field days to tell other farmers and landowners about the benefits of using soil health and water quality improvement practices.

During the virtual Agribusiness Showcase, Secretary Naig thanked Hertz Farm Management and Sponheim for their efforts to help the state advance the goals outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. To learn more about the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s soil health and water quality programs, visit cleanwateriowa.org.

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About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 12 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land for the next generation. Learn more at iowaagriculture.gov.

Media Contact:
Keely Coppess
Communications Director
(515) 326-1616           
Keely.Coppess@IowaAgriculture.gov