River Friendly Farmer Awards

Please contact our office If you know of a great candidate for our River Friendly Farmer Awards at 219-285-2217.    See award recipients below.

Bonnie Strole & Mike Osowski Jr

2013 Recipients

Warren Johnson, Jr  owns Prairie Creek Farm which is mainly grain and livestock.  It is located in the Iroquois River Watershed.  Crops are corn, soybeans and wheat along with some alfalfa.  The Johnsons also have a 30 head cow/calf operation and feed out between 20-30 calves annually.  Ditch bank CRP and grassed waterways have helped them to curb or stop sediment from building up in open ditches and streams.  They has also helped block or filter out chemicals and fertilizer or manure that may have flowed into open water.  Wildlife and future sustainability are very important to the family.  They believe strongly in being able to maintain the farm profitability without  ruining local natural ecosystem.  Crop rotations and diversification helps to naturally build soil structure.  Small grains, such as wheat, add residue to the soil profile.  Alfalfa and native grasses also naturally benefit soils.  Crop rotation aid in preventing resistant weeds and in helping to limit tillage passes.  Johnson also uses no-till, minimum tillage, cover crops and rotational grazing for pastures.

Larry Strole (deceased) owned Strole Grain Farms which is a corn, soybeans, wheat, custom hay and straw bailing operation located in the Iroquois Watershed.  Larry Strole, who was a Newton County Soil & Water Conservation District and Indiana Association of Soil & Water Conservation District board member for many years, was an avid conservationist.  He used waterways and filter strips for approximately 20 years to slow down runoff.  He also used no-till and cover crops to protect the soil and prevent soil  erosion.  Strole incorporated filter strips, to keep nutrients out of the ditches and streams.  Grass waterways helped prevent soil erosion from areas where the water would flow.  Rotational cropping, no-till and cover crops protect and build soil structure and organic matter.  No-till allows the soil to build and maintain soil structure.  Cover crops help capture nutrients in the soil and hold on to them for the next crop. The organic matter is growing as we continue to sue no-till and cover crops.  The roots have been able to go deeper.  Strole found rye roots as deep as 4 feet. Bonnie Strole (wife) and Mike Osowski (nephew) in picture.

Doug Gerbracht
Sigmund Boezeman

2012 Recipients

Douglas Gerbracht has a corn and soybean operation. He farms along four creeks and the Iroquois River. Gerbracht uses water ways, filter strips, CP33 and the state wildlife program. He has no-tilled for 25 years and plans on continuing the practice. All of these conservation BMPs help keep his soils in the field and build better, healthier soils. Twenty-five years of no-till has left a nice mat of cover on the field to slow down the erosion process. Filter strips hold some soil that does get washed out of the fields . No-till also allows many worms to prosper, aerating and mixing the soil. He also has 10 acres of woodlands , wildlife areas, CP33 and state wildlife program, riparian habitat along Hunter Creek.

Sigmund Boezeman's farm is partially located in the Kankakee River Watershed. He also has an adjoining large ditch that flows into the river. There are filter strips along the ditches to protect runoff getting into the river. His operation is a combination of grain and cows and calves in pastures. Part of the farm is in CRP ground. Boezeman also has pumping stations to control draining when needed and another pump to irrigate when necessary. Have controls in the small ditches to control the height of the water. Part of the farm has agri-drains for irrigation. Filter strips clean the chemicals so they don't go into the river. Boezeman has been told that the Kankakee River in his area is quite good by the Kankakee River Board.



2011 Recipients

Steve Eilers farms approximately 1,000 acres of corn and 175 acres of CRP and CP33 set aside.  His operation is located in the Iroquois River Watershed.  Eilers no-tills approximately 75 percent of his acres and incorporates filter strips along the ditches.


Jeffrey Plott farms in the Iroquois Watershed.  He is a grain farmer utilizing crop rotation and no-till, as well as grass filter strips, wetlands and buffers in his conservation toolbox.  He also created a nesting habitat for game birds and leaves corn and beans standing for supplemental feeding.



213 E North, PO Box 440, Morocco, IN 47963      PH: 219-285-2217         rose.morgan.swcd@att.net







Newton County Soil and Water Conservation District