Local Crop Advisor Wins Conservation Excellence Award

Saginaw Bay, Michigan | January 23, 2018

The audience at the Michigan Agri-Business Association’s 85th Annual Winter Conference and Trade Show saw a sneak peek of The Nature Conservancy’s upcoming awards for agricultural excellence in the Saginaw Bay Watershed when Mary Fales presented JJ Metz of Crop Production Services in Linwood with a special advance award.

Metz received the Conservation Excellence Award, the first in a series of awards from the Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy that will be presented on March 1 to recognize Saginaw Bay area farmers, agribusinesses and conservation professionals who have made significant contributions to agricultural conservation in the watershed.

“Congratulations and our sincere thanks to JJ and Crop Production Services,” said Mary Fales, The Nature Conservancy’s Saginaw Bay program director. “JJ has set a high bar with his work and has provided a notable example to agribusiness of how to engage and help farmers access conservation opportunities to ensure the best possible land stewardship.”

Metz was instrumental in helping multiple landowners in the Kawkawlin River Watershed enroll in the Saginaw Bay Watershed Regional Conservation Partnership Program to implement more than 3,800 new acres of cover crops. These new practices will reduce soil loss by more than 580 tons. Fales said this kind of work is crucial to protecting and improving water quality in the Saginaw Bay Watershed.

“I’m humbled and honored to accept this award from the Conservancy,” Metz said. “It’s nice to be recognized for making a positive contribution to our watershed.”

For the last three years, the Conservancy has partnered with Michigan Agri-Business Association and other 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 2,500 tons of sediment runoff. These practices help farmers retain healthy and productive soil while providing ecological and economic benefits to the community.

The inaugural awards program will take place on Thursday, March 1, 2018 in Bay City. The program will shine a spotlight on exemplary conservation work to improve agricultural practices for people and nature. Seven awards will be given, recognizing innovative and impactful conservation projects and farmers. Nominations were reviewed by a selection committee, including representatives from the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Bureau, Michigan Agri-Business Association, Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development, the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program and Delta Institute.

“We’re looking forward to this event so we can personally thank the hard-working men and women of the Saginaw Bay Watershed who ensure that farmers can be both profitable and care for the environment,” Fales said. “It may be awards season in Hollywood, but the people here deserve recognition for working to make our planet better.”

Award winners will be honored at the event and featured in Conservancy communications. In addition, each winner will receive a custom framed award featuring photography of the Saginaw Bay Watershed.

For more information or to reserve your seat at this free event, visit nature.org/sagbayawards.

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.

Contact information

Melissa Molenda
The Nature Conservancy
(517) 230-0818


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