Iowa Forage and Grassland Vice President, Steve Reinart was the recipient of the 2008 Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture.
Reinart received the award at the PFI Annual Conference on January 9, 2009.
The Spencer Award was established in 2001 and is given annually to someone who makes “significant contributions to the advancement of ecological and economic practices that will make agriculture sustainable and the family farm secure for the future.”
The following in Russ Brandes’ presentation speech:
It is truly an honor to stand here at a conference devoted to sustainable agriculture and present the Spencer Award to Steve Reinart. This is an award that first of all, speaks foritselfbasedonwhattheawardrepresentsandsecond, by its history based on who has been recognized in the past.
Steve’s bio is listed in the proceedings so rather than read to you what is written I would rather tell you about this man. Steve owns a grass-fed organic beef and seedstock operation near Glidden, Iowa, close to the center of Carroll County. For those of you from Eastern Iowa it is our equivalent to Grundy County. This grass farm sits in the middle of some of Iowa’s most productive farm ground and Steve’s farm is surrounded by miles and miles of corn and soybean fields. This provides you with your first glimpse of this grassland manager.
I have known Steve for many years, probably beginning with when we were both newly elected soil commissioners in our respective districts, then serving together on various committees and boards over the years. Steve is the epitome of the phrase “before his time.”
Steve practiced rotational grazing and now evolved his operation into what is now referred to as “holistic resource management.” As I was putting my notes together I had my 1969 Webster’s Dictionary close by and I paused to look it up. The word “holistic” was not even in my version.
In June the Iowa Forage and Grassland Council was meeting in Des Moines and Steve was telling us about moving cattle that morning. When he opened a gate to a fresh paddock, a catfish swam through. Too many farmers are allowing their water and soil to escape their farm and end up in the Gulf. Apparently Steve believes in bringing the Raccoon River onto his land to be cleansed before going south. If everyone kept the rain drops that fall on their own farm, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and all of the smaller towns up and down our State’s waterways would not have seen near the problems they encountered last summer. And the Gulf would be cleaner, streams would be cleaner, wells would be cleaner, road ditches would be cleaner, and I could go on and on.
Steve has very solid beliefs about our soil and water, he practices what he preaches and he preaches to everyone that he can. His beliefs and convictions extend beyond his fence line, to everyone he meets as well as opening up his farm for visitors and tours. Steve is passionate about soil and water conservation, sustainability of the land and our farmers on that land, and Steve’s sole income is produced from his operation. I always thought it would be in my best interest to grab a 12-pack and spend a day with Steve walking his pastures, enjoying the abundance of wildlife that calls his farm “home” and just talk cows and grass. But I haven’t done it yet and it is my loss.
Steve Reinart is the perfect recipient of the Spencer Award, dedicated to sustainable agriculture and sustainable family farmers. Please join me in congratulating Steve Reinart, the 2008 Spencer Award recipient.