History of the River-Friendly Farmer Award

Since 1999, key conservation and agricultural organizations have sponsored the River Friendly Farmer (RFF) Program. The statewide initiative recognizes farmers, who through good production management practices helps keep Indiana’s rivers, lakes and streams clean.

Annually, each county Soil and Water Conservation District may nominate up to two farmers who do an outstanding job of protecting their rivers, lakes and streams through their every day conservation management practices on the farm. Watershed organizations also may nominate farmers for the award by submitting an application to a county SWCD.

Congratulations to the
2017 Indiana River Friendly Farmers
listed below:
(pdf version)

(A work in progress – please be patient as we populate this page with our
2017 River Friendly Farmer  winners – pictures and bios.)

2017 River Friendly Farmers County
Lynn & Pam Hawbaker Adams County – Their family-owned farm of 176 years, named South Oak Farms, produces soybeans, corn, Alfalfa, Hay, and occasionally wheat. It is located in the Upper Wabash River watershed. Their conservation practice of no-till for over 15 years and use of cover crops since 2012 along with filter strips has effectively reduced erosion and soil compaction while building organic matter in the soil and holding nutrients on their fields.  Lynn has served on the Adams County SWCD board for 9 years and the Farm Bureau Board for 27 years. He has also supported their local high school FFA and Food Resource Bank.
John Johnson/Johnson Family Adams County – The John Johnson Family farms 1,400 acres of Corn, Soybeans, Wheat & Hay. They have been planting cover crops for the last 10 years on 400+ acres with the goal of 100% cover crops on all 1400 acres within the next few years. In addition, the Johnson Family owns 25 acres of woodland area with more than 2 acres of wildlife habitat established. They have used filter strips and waterways, both CRP and not CRP, to stop nutrients from leaving the farm and to prevent erosion and soil from flowing into the Saint Mary’s River that runs along their property. In past years, they have been involved with 4-H. And,  Jack Johnson worked for the NRCS Tech Team for 40 years.
James D. Kline Blackford County – Kline Family Farms produces grain in the Salamonie/Mississinewa Watershed. They are currently experimenting with cover crops on about 10% of their acres. They utilize strip till on acres going to corn and no-till on acres going to beans and wheat. They maintain grass waterways and WASCOBs; and, participate in a federal grant that helps them manage the way they apply nutrients and pesticides. Grass waterways and WASCOBs are helping to control erosion and tile and catch basins have been installed to help improve water run-off. Kline Family Farms is working with NRCS to construct filter strips along major ditches to filter water run-off and also aid in erosion control. They support local 4-H programs and are members of the Gathering Church. They also work with their local SWCD.
Rick Higbie Clark County – Higbie Farm produces Corn, Soybeans, Hay, along with a Cow-Calf Operation. They are located within the Fourteen Mile Creek Watershed. Along with rotating crops, the Higbie’s practice Woodland Management as well as livestock exclusion from the creek. They have discovered that their conservation practices, including implementation of buffer strips, has improved their soil quality and organic matter, increased wildlife habitat and protected the water quality in the creek.
Spencer Lee Taylor Crawford County – Taylor Brothers Farm is located in the Blue River watershed and produces livestock and hay. They have practiced Pasture Improvement along with Rotational Grazing, Watering Facilities, Spring Development and livestock exclusion from the woodlands and creeks. These practices have helped prevent erosion,  improved the quality of water leaving the farm and enhanced their cattle’s health. Spencer is a member of Milltown Christian Church and the Crawford County Cattleman’s Association as well as a volunteer for Crawford County 4-H.
Kenny E. & Clara M. Swartzentruber Daviess County – K & C Swartzentruber Farms is located within the Lower White Watershed with a creek running alongside the farm. Their grain/livestock farm utilizes no-till cropping systems on all of its 134 tillable cropland acres. They have also installed field terraces on sloped cropland to decrease both erosion and surface runoff. K & C Swartzentruber Farms has planted grass filter strips, installed water sediment control basins and has also planted 100 acres of fall cover crops while participating in the SWCD’s Clean Water Indiana grant program. These cover crops have helped to slow the velocity of surface water thus reducing potential erosion of soil and valuable cropland during the idle farming months. A greater population of wild game are now present – including turkey, deer, and pheasants. Through their hardwork, dedication and commitment to conservation they operate a successful farming operation and spread the word through their involvement in FFA, 4-H and programs with FSA and their local SWCD.
Carl Moorman Family Decatur County – The Carl Moorman Family produces corn and soybeans within the Sand Creek Watershed. Erosion problems were a major concern on their farm; and now, due to their conservation practices, they virtually have no erosion issues. Soil health on their land has also improved dramatically. They practice 100% no-till, plant cover crops and have implemented Waterways. This farmland has experienced a reduction in sediment run-off and improved water quality and Carl was justifiably named the 2013 Decatur County Conservation Farmer of the Year.
Sandy and George Dykhuizen DeKalb County – Woodbridge Farm, LLC is a family owned tree farm located in south east DeKalb County. Currently the farm is operated by Sandy and George Dykhuizen.  Originally a 40 acre grain and livestock farm, it was Sandy’s father, Wayne Shook, who began the transition to becoming a tree farm in the sixties.  He started with the management and re-forestation of the existing woodlands and then began converting the pasture and cropland to trees in the seventies. Over the years thousands of trees have been planted by this family and now the amount of water leaving this property is minimal. The farm is located in an oxbow of the Saint Joseph River in the shadow of the historic Spencerville Covered Bridge. The primary conservation practices that have been utilized are Timber Stand Improvement (TSI), consisting of invasive species management, pruning, and thinning, and Tree Plantings. In addition to maintaining the tree farm the Dykhuizen’s also believe in preserving and providing wildlife habitat. While this naturally occurs given the fact they operate a tree farm, they also intentionally participate in conservation programs that target specific species for protection.  The Dykhuizen’s are active in both the Walnut Council and the Indiana Forestry and Woodland Owners Association and have hosted workshops for both organizations.
Larry Shreve Delaware
Mark and Robert Jochem Dubois
Susan Kruger Dubois
Marvin and Judy Roush Elkhart
Larry Orr Fayette
Matt Harsh Fulton
Joe Muncy Gibson
Law Brothers Farm Hamilton
David Fell Harrison
Chuck Lamar Hendricks
Linda Meister-Crowder Howard
Steve & Judy Adams Huntington
Jordan Wall Jay
Frank Roush Jefferson
Kelly Mason Knox
Max and Garry Tom/Tom Brothers Farms Kosciusko
Stanley Notestine LaGrange
Mike Scherschel Lawrence
Tim Dorsey Marion
Jon & Laura Langfeldt Marshall
Roderic & Theresa Alspaugh Miami
William Ade and Bob Lane Newton
Mark Wunderink Newton
Clint Beste Posey
Joe, Isaac & Andy Eisterhold Posey
Andy Wilson Putnam
Ryan & Beth Fleenor Scott
Alan Waninger/Waninger Brothers Farm Spencer
Wayne Allsop St Joseph
Rob & Charlotte Wolfe St Joseph
Douglas Klausing Starke
Dewey & Marcia Powers Steuben
Joanne Purdy Tippecanoe
Lewis Brier Union
Darrel Adler Vanderburgh
Gary Wilson Wabash
Trent and Nancy Bush Washington
Dwayne Crownover Wayne
Jarrod Kunkel Wells
Tom Westfall White
Ron, Dave, Tim, Kyle, Mark & Auston Johnson Whitley

Download a complete list
of past River Friendly Farmer Award recipients (2000-2016)