Steve Tait of Caseville, winner of the first-ever Conservation Impact Award from The Nature Conservancy.
Saginaw Bay agriculture Steve Tait of Caseville, winner of the first-ever Conservation Impact Award from The Nature Conservancy. © Jason Whalen/Fauna Media

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Celebrating Soil Health Heroes in Saginaw Bay

The Nature Conservancy now accepting award nominations for bay area farmers.

Bay City, MI

The Nature Conservancy is seeking award nominations to recognize the extraordinary achievements of Saginaw Valley farmers for its 2019 Saginaw Bay Agricultural Conservation Awards event.

The program recognizes agribusinesses and conservation professionals who have made significant contributions to agricultural conservation in the watershed. Nominations are now open for the awards, in several categories including: Conservation Innovation, Veteran, Newcomer, Impact and more.

Last year, Steve Tait of Caseville was honored with TNC’s first-ever Conservation Impact Award for his extraordinary contributions to improving his farming practices to help nature by planting cover crops and utilizing no-till practices to reduce sediment from entering local waterways, and ultimately, the Great Lakes. 

“I’ve always been interested in trying new things, working to improve what we do and how we do it, making things run more efficiently,” Tait said. “This is just something I do, so I wasn’t used to getting an award for it, but it’s nice.”

For the last four years, the Conservancy has partnered with agribusinesses, governments, corporations, non-profits and conservation agencies to test innovative agricultural conservation programs in critical areas of the Saginaw Bay Watershed—reducing more than 3,640 tons of sediment and 17,830 pounds of phosphorus runoff from entering into Michigan’s largest watershed. These practices help farmers retain healthy and productive soil while providing ecological and economic benefits to the community.

The awards dinner will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Bay City. The Conservancy has convened a selection committee consisting of representatives from TNC's Farmer Advisory Group, CISCO Farm Seed, Delta Institute, Michigan Agri-Business Association, Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Saginaw Conservation District, Michigan Farm Bureau and Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“These people are more than farmers and ag professionals. They are soil health heroes,” said Mary Fales, The Nature Conservancy’s Saginaw Bay program director. “The work they are doing will provide benefits to people and nature from their farm fields all the way to the Great Lakes. We are proud to honor them for their work now that will last for generations to come.”

Award winners will be honored at the event and featured in TNC communications. In addition, each winner will receive a custom framed award featuring stunning photography of the Saginaw Bay Watershed, a professionally produced video showcasing their operation, and other keepsake items.

To make a nomination or to learn more about the awards, visit nature.org/sagbayawards before the June 21 nominations deadline. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

“We look forward to receiving nominations and highlighting important conservation work taking place in Saginaw Bay,” Fales said.

For questions or assistance, contact Mary Fales at 517-316-2278 or mfales@tnc.org.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.