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2012 Environmental Stewardship Award Winner

Region III: Funk Farms Trust

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Owned by Dan and Kathy Koons

Near Shirley, Illinois

Funk Farms Trust, located in Shirley, Ill., was recognized as a 2012 regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) winner during the 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, Colo. Funk Farms Trust is the Region III ESAP award winner and will compete with six other regional winners for the national ESAP award, which will be announced during the 2012 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show in Tampa, Fla.

The ESAP award is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences; the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); U.S. Fish and Wildlife; the National Cattlemen’s Foundation; and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

According to a nomination by the Illinois Beef Association, conservation of the land and efficient utilization of the resources have been a long time priority at Funk Farms Trust, which is owned by Dan and Kathy Koons. The Funk Farm Trust is one of the oldest farms in Illinois, dating back to 1824. Presently, Funk Farms Trust encompasses 2,175 acres, of which 1,700 acres are used for corn and soybean production.

Funk Farms Trust has worked with many organizations to improve the environmental quality of their operation, including the USDA NRCS, the McLean County Soil Conservation Service, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Conservation and stewardship measures taken by the farm include establishing 35 miles of waterways and 25 miles of terraces to prevent soil erosion, establishing grass along hedge rows, recycling nutrients back into fields by utilizing a feedlot and handling manure through composting.

Preserving hedge rows and buffer areas throughout farm is required at Funk Farms Trust. The farm uses hedgerows to help improve air quality by diminishing wind and airborne dust and pollutant distribution. These hedge rows also address water quality issues by filtering and slowing rainfall, allowing runoff to percolate slowly into the soil and water table.

"Funk Farms has always been a shining example of what conservation and stewardship could be and should be on farms and feedlots in the Midwest,” said Steven L. Foglesong, owner of Black Gold Ranch and Feedlot, and past NCBA President. “Funk Farms has always been willing to try new technology in their conservation efforts and then share the results with others as is evidenced by the many open houses and field days held there over the years. Dan and Kathy have always been willing to open their doors and be advocates for not only the beef industry but the rest of agriculture as well.”

Through a dedication to responsible environmental practices and conservation, NCBA has represented America's cattle producers since 1898, preserving the heritage and strength of the industry through education and public policy. As the largest association of cattle producers, NCBA works to create new markets and increase demand for beef.

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