Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award presented to three Madison County farm families

The Madison County Soil & Water Conservationist District (SWCD) congratulates three farm families who received the 2022 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award on Wednesday, August 17 at the Iowa State Fair.

The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award was created in 2012, and since then more than 690 Iowa farm families have been recognized.  The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards recognize landowners and farmers that practice good soil and water conservation and stewardship.

This year the award was presented to 40 families including Bill and Cheryl Adams, Tom and Juanita Beeler, and the James M and Kaye Hochstetler Family Farm from Madison County.  The awards were presented by Governor Kim Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, and Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon. 

“These families are proving that good conservation improves their land and protects it for the future,” commented Jim Gillespie, Assistant Commissioner with the Madison County SWCD and former Conservation Consultant for Cedar Lake Watershed.  All three families have been applying good conservation practices including terraces (over 10 miles), grassed waterways, and grade stabilization structures.  Other practices used include wetlands, buffers and field borders, cover crops, and seeding down areas to protect fragile areas and promote wildlife habitat. 

“These three recipients also farm land in Cedar Lake Watershed, and what they are doing is protecting Cedar Lake, which provides drinking water for the City of Winterset,” remarked Gillespie.  “That means a lot to everyone that drinks and uses any water in Winterset.  They are true conservationists and stewards, and are very deserving of these awards.”   

Bill & Cheryl Adams
Tom and Juanita Beeler (accepted by son Charlie Beeler)
James M and Kaye Hochstetler Family Farm
(accepted by Russ Hochstetler, Susan Aman, and family)

“Reconnect with WLL” at Trivia Night

Madison County WLL hosts first event since March 2020

WINTERSET, IOWA, July 26, 2022 – Madison County Women, Land & Legacy (WLL) invites women farmers and landowners to Reconnect with WLL on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. at the Madison County Historical Museum for an evening of fellowship, Madison County trivia and stories.

Madison County Women, Land & Legacy started in 2016, and is made up of local women landowners and partners from Madison County Extension and Outreach, the USDA Farm Service Agency, the Iowa Department of Land Stewardship, and the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District. The group endeavors to support and build the community of local women landowners by creating opportunities for learning and networking.  After two years of being on hiatus due to COVID, the Madison County local team is looking forward to hosting this event to reconnect with the community, and to kick off the revival of WLL in Madison County. 

“We have lots of ideas for future learning sessions, but with this event, we just wanted to bring women together to reconnect and have fun,” said Anna Golightly, local team lead.  “We will have Madison County Trivia, so people can test their knowledge, and we’re pleased that Linda Smith will be sharing stories about some of the trivia questions, so we’ll all get to learn something about our county.”

The event is free and open to the public.  The local team will provide a light meal and refreshments, and freewill donations will be collected.  RSVPs are appreciated, but not required.  To RSVP, call 515-462-2961 x 3 or send an email to

Madison SWCD at County Fair

The Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) invites fairgoers to attend the Conservation Awards Presentation and stop by the Farm Bureau building to learn about soil and water during the Madison County Fair. 

The Farm Bureau building already draws people in to view photos of past fairs and enter daily drawings.  Kids come for the Ag Mystery Walk from 10:00 to 2:00 on Thursday and Friday.  Farm Bureau also hosts the Cook-out Contest on Sunday.

The Madison County SWCD and partners (the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship) will be set up in the Farm Bureau building Wednesday through Saturday.

Visitors can walk through the inflatable Soil Health Tunnel, see soil health demonstrations, get a conservation tattoo, and visit with staff.  There will be free posters and free home soil health test kits available while supplies last.  Visitors who take a soil health quiz will be entered into drawing to win tickets to the evening’s Grandstand Event.

Madison County SWCD will also be presenting Conservation Awards at the fair. The public is welcome to attend the presentation at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, July 20 at the North Show Ring (before the Queen and King Contest). The SWCD is honoring Tom and Juanita Beeler with the 2022 Conservation Award. In addition, conservation partners will also be presenting the plaque for the 2021 Region 6 Winner of the Conservation Farmer of the Year Award to Randy Gamble. The SWCD appreciates the opportunity to recognize conservation award winners at County Fair, and thanks Farm Bureau for sponsoring the award.

To learn more about the Madison County Fair, visit