NRCS Presents Excellence Award to South Dakota

Sioux Falls, S.D. – South Dakota Corn is being recognized by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with the South Dakota Excellence in Cooperative Conservation Award.

The award recognizes an individual or group’s ability to communicate, innovate and grow for the purpose of improving South Dakota’s natural resources.

South Dakota Corn consists of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) and the South Dakota Utilization Council (SDCUC). Since 1986, SDCGA has worked to promote corn, improve farmer profitability, and to educate and influence public policy. The SDCUC, founded in 1988, collects and administers a one-cent-per-bushel check-off program. It is committed to community education and research and development of new uses and markets for corn and corn byproducts that benefit South Dakota economically and environmentally.

Together, these organizations believe that healthy soil is the foundation of farming and will continue to inform farmers about conservation practices they can apply to protect soil, wetlands and wildlife.

“South Dakota Corn has been a valuable part of the state’s ag community,” says Jeff Zimprich, South Dakota NRCS state conservationist, Huron, “They’ve worked with many organizations including NRCS to help educate and promote the conservation of South Dakota’s natural resources.”

South Dakota Corn’s history of working with NRCS and other partners has earned it the Excellence in Cooperative Conservation Award for work the organization did in 2019. Original plans were for the award to be presented earlier this year at South Dakota Corn’s annual conference early this year, but that event was canceled because of the pandemic. South Dakota Corn’s lengthy history includes:

  • Working to facilitate on-farm research and trials for carbon baselines, including reviewing soil sample protocols for soil carbon, bulk density, frequency of sampling needed, etc.
  • Water testing with South Dakota State University Extension
  • Landowner meetings themed on carbon sequestration through soil health principles
  • Increased outreach for South Dakota Corn membership, agronomists, Hutterite colonies, Soil Health Partnership, equipment dealers, conservation districts, and partners such as Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever
  • Outreach via social media, traditional media, news articles, magazines, and various campaigns such as “This is Farming” or “True Environmentalist”
  • A partnership to address salinity issues in South Dakota

“We’re honored to receive this award, which recognizes the strong partnership between South Dakota Corn and NRCS. When we first met to discuss the possibility of working together on a common cause, it made perfect sense,” South Dakota Corn CEO Lisa Richardson said. “Together, we’re able to take a strong and proactive approach toward sustaining, protecting and improving soil health. We look forward to working closely with NRCS for years to come.”

“South Dakota Corn moved forward with much work in South Dakota to promote conservation of natural resources, and the NRCS is proud to honor them with the Excellence in Cooperative Conservation for their work in 2019,” says Zimprich.