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N.D. farmer honored at no-till conference

-- GREENSBORO, N.C. - Syngenta Crop Protection and No-Till Farmer magazine honored the cream of the crop in no-till agriculture Jan. 12 at the 15th annual National No-Tillage Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. The annual No-Till Innovator Awards rec...

-- GREENSBORO, N.C. - Syngenta Crop Protection and No-Till Farmer magazine honored the cream of the crop in no-till agriculture Jan. 12 at the 15th annual National No-Tillage Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. The annual No-Till Innovator Awards recognized achievements in consulting, crop production, organization and research and education. Winners include Joe Breker of Havana, N.D. Breker began no-tilling with his family in the late 1970s and has come to be a respected leader in no-till farming. As a student at North Dakota State University in Fargo, he explored zero tillage and brought these new farming techniques home. Today, Breker farms 2,700 acres of no-till wheat, corn, soybeans, flax and field peas. He was honored at the conference for crop production. In 2000, Breker and several colleagues were awarded a five-year, $70,000-per-year grant to fund a special no-till crop production farm, known as the Conservation Cropping Systems Project. The real world research farm and outdoor classroom employs conservation tillage practices, produces field data and serves as a forum through annual field days and other various events. In addition to continuing grant money, Breker and his colleagues have raised more than $60,000 per year in private donations for the project. Breker also co-founded the Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmer's Association.

MDA Excellence Award winners announced-- ST. PAUL - Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson has announced winners of the fourth annual Minnesota Department of Agriculture Excellence Awards. Ralph Lentz received the Excellence Award for Environmental Stewardship. Lentz has owned his farm near Lake City, Minn., since 1965. He was one of the state's first beef producers to convert his farm to managed grazing and has participated in many research projects on the effect of grazing on water and soil. He has traveled to Siberia as a grazing adviser. Lentz continues to observe and research his land and seek ways to improve. The MDA's Excellence Award for Food Safety was given to a group of four people who helped lay the groundwork for the development of the Level III Plant Pathology Bio-Containment Facility at the University of Minnesota. The group included former state Rep. Dan Dorman of Albert Lea, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council Chairman Rob Hanks of LeRoy, council Vice Chairman Ron Jacobsen of Wells and Minnesota Soybean Growers Association secretary Larry Muff of New Richland. SunOpta Inc. received the Excellence Award for International Marketing. SunOpta manufactures ingredients for many food products and distributes them worldwide. The company has locations throughout Minnesota and has supported Minnesota farmers through the purchase and use of locally grown commodities. Chris Sukalski, a dairy farmer from LeRoy, received the Excellence Award for Promotion of Minnesota Agriculture. Sukalski has assisted with many dairy promotions and volunteers for the Midwest Dairy Association. She has served on many dairy boards and has provided other dairy producers with public relations tools. She was successful in getting milk vending machines in local schools.

- Agweek Staff and Wire Reports

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Sponsors include Farmers Union Enterprises, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute.