Conservation-based groups aren't the only ones that recognize farmers who do an outstanding job protecting their farm's resources. The American Soybean Association presents what it calls Conservation Legacy Awards. One of those early next year will go to Rodney Rulon, Arcadia.
Rulon farms with his uncle, Jerry, and cousins Roy and Ken in a farm operation called Rulon Enterprises. It's a general partnership that grows corn and soybeans. Since 1991, they have utilized 100% no-till farming, even though many of their soils are classified as poorly or somewhat poorly drained on soil maps.
One of their secrets is installing whole-farm tile drainage systems. Using their own tiling machine, installing tile where needed has been a priority in the Rulon operation for many years. Rodney also personally manages and operates a soil sampling program just for the farm. He takes soil samples on a more frequent, more precise basis than many who offer soil consultant services, and uses this information to help partners develop soil fertilization problems that are efficient and cost-effective, both in the short term and the long run.
Rodney's father, Doyle, was killed in a farm accident many years ago, but that didn't stop him from becoming an active member of the family partnership. As a family, various persons from the Rulon operation have served on the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation Board and on the Duck Creek Watershed Steering Committee.
Technically, Rulon is the Northeast Region Conservation legacy Award winner. The program is designed to recognize outstanding achievements in soil conservation by U.S. soybean farmers. Both environmental and economic factors are considered by the selection committee before these individuals are picked.
There are three regional winners. Rulon will be in contention for being named national winner. The announcement will come during the awards banquet, to be held in conjunction with the Commodity Classic at Nashville, Tenn., in early March. Date fro the ASA awards banquet is March 2, 2012.
Rodney's uncle, Jerry was named a Master Farmer in 1993. The program is sponsored today by Indiana Prairie Farmer magazine and the Purdue University Co0llege of Agriculture. Care of the land and service to the community through activities like the soil and water conservation district are considered when the committee selects Master Farmers each year.Good luck to Rodney and Rulon Enterprises in this competition, and as hey continue to protect the integrity of the land they farm in north-central Indiana.