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Bear, Kelso families receive Environmental Leadership Award

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 1:31 p.m. CDT

WELDON — Kenlyn Kelso and son Kyle Kelso, and Terry and Lorie Bear, all of Weldon, received the 2013 Iowa Farm Environmental Leadership Award at an awards ceremony held at the Iowa State Fair.

The award is a joint effort between Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa Department of Natural Resources to recognize the efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality.

Both families have been recipients of the Rathbun Lake Protector Award for their actions to protect Rathbun Lake, a drinking water source for 80,000 people including the rural areas of Lucas County. 

“This award seeks to recognize the exemplary voluntary actions of these farmers to improve or protect the environment and natural resources of our state while encouraging other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building success upon success,” said Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp.

Soil saving and water-quality protection practices installed by the Kelsos include a structure and 3,450 feet of terraces that reduces sediment to Rathbun Lake by 108 tons per year and phosphorus by 594 pounds per year. Kenlyn and her son Kyle cooperated with Mormon Trail schools to allow an outdoor classroom on their farm. They no-till their land and have installed waterways and CRP buffers.

Terry and Lorie Bear’s conservation practices include the installation of nearly 3,000 feet of terraces, as well as grade stabilization structures, which reduce sediment to Rathbun Lake by 124 tons per year. Other conservation practices by the Bears include no-till, hayland and pasture land. The Bears have hosted two tours and hayrides for Clarke classes where students learned about BMPs, NRCS programs, and survey equipment.

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