Spencer Award to be Presented Aug. 8 at Iowa State Fair

July 23rd, 2002

AMES, Iowa - The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture will present the one of state's largest awards in sustainable agriculture to an Iowa dairy farmer during the 2002 Iowa State Fair.

David Petersen of Blue Grass will be the first recipient of a newly established Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture. The award presentation is scheduled for 11 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 8, during the 4-H and FFA Youth Dairy Cattle Show in the Pioneer Pavilion on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

The Spencer Award was created to recognize farmers, researchers and educators who have made a significant contribution toward the stability of mainstream family farms in Iowa. It is funded by an endowment to the Iowa State University Foundation in honor of Norman A. and Margaretha Geiger Spencer, who farmed near Sioux City for 40 years. The family asked that the Leopold Center administer the award, which includes a $1,000 gift to the recipient.

Petersen and his wife Amy own and operate Majestic Manor Dairy, which includes a 90-cow dairy herd and a genetic seedstock and replacement heifer business. They also raise corn, no-till soybeans and forage crops of alfalfa, oats and rye on 430 acres with little purchased fertilizer. Instead, they maintain consistently high yields using crop rotation and injectable manure from their dairy operation as fertilizer.

"In a production agriculture system, the high road to efficiency usually rewards those who choose to get bigger," said Petersen, who began farming in 1980 as a new Iowa State University graduate. "We've taken the 'road less traveled' by using a systems approach to add value and achieve efficiency by integrating enterprises, not simply getting bigger."

The Leopold Center, established by the 1987 Iowa Groundwater Protection Act, supports the development of profitable farming systems that conserve natural resources.


Laura Miller, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, (515) 294-5272