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Source: Iowa Department of Agriculture news release

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced two recipients of the inaugural Secretary's Water Quality Initiative Leader Award that recognizes individuals, companies and organizations for outstanding leadership in improving Iowa's water quality. Northey recognized Heartland Co-op and Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Bruce Baier.

"Our ag retailers and CCAs are a trusted advisor for many farmers and their engagement and support of practices that help protect water quality have been critical to the success of the Iowa Water Quality Initiative," Northey said. "It is important we recognize the broad support we have received for the entire agriculture sector to make the initiative a success."

Northey presented the awards to Heartland Co-op and Baier at the Agribusiness Association of Iowa's Showcase and Conference at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

Bruce Baier, Director of Precision Ag Services for Ag Partners, LLC., Albert City

Baier is a long time Certified Crop Advisor, and was one of the very first CCA's to get actively engaged in the development of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy starting in 2010.

He currently serves on the Agribusiness Association of Iowa's Nutrient Management Task Force, representing CCA's and has also been involved in the Ag Clean Water Alliance, of which Ag Partners is a member.

Bruce served on the Iowa CCA Board of Directors from 2004 - 2010, including serving as Chairman in 2008. In 2012 he was named Iowa CCA of the year by his fellow CCAs.

"Bruce is a respected voice with farmers and within the CCA community and has been a great advocate for voluntary, science-based water quality practices," Northey said

Heartland Co-op

Heartland Co-op is a full service, farmer owned ag retailer with facilities in 62 Iowa communities.

In a sign of their commitment to improving water quality and serving customers, Heartland recently added a new position of Director of Environmental Resources. The role is designed to lead efforts to identify and implement BMPs to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative.

Heartland has 32 sales agronomists - 26 of which are CCAs. They also have technical service providers who work specifically with livestock producers.

Heartland has also taken a leadership role within the Agribusiness Association of Iowa related to the Water Quality Initiative.

In particular, Dave Coppess, who serves as Exec. Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Heartland Co-op, has been a vocal advocate for the Water Quality Initiative. Coppes serves on AAI's Board of Directors, is Chair of the Agronomy Committee and is a member of AAI's Nutrient Management Task Force. He has also played a leadership role with Agriculture's Clean Water Alliance, of which Heartland is a founding member.

"Heartland Co-op has made a tremendous commitment to supporting the Water Quality Initiative in all areas of their business," Northey said. "They see the tremendous opportunities available to work with farmers as we continue to develop new technologies and strategies to better protect water quality."

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