PepsiCo-Unilever Soil Health Innovation Project, Texas Farmer Barry Evans and Indiana Conservation Specialist Leslie Fisher Take Top Honors at Field to Market's 2021 Sustainability Leadership Awards
November 17, 2021 /3BL Media/ - Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture honored the recipients of the 2021 Sustainability Leadership Awards on the eve of the seventh annual Sustainable Agriculture Summit. Now in their fifth year, the awards—presented as the capstone of the Alliance’s fall meeting—are given to farmers, organizations and individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership through their efforts to advance continuous improvement in the sustainability of U.S. commodity crop production.
The recipients of the 2021 Sustainability Leadership Awards are as follows:
- 2021 Farmer of the Year: Barry Evans, 4th Generation Farmer, Kress, Texas
Recognized for outstanding conservation efforts on his farm and leadership in advancing sustainable agriculture, Barry Evans was honored as Field to Market’s 2021 Farmer of the Year. Farming 4,500 acres of cotton and grain sorghum in the Texas panhandle, Evans pioneers a resilient approach to dryland farming by balancing dual natural resource concerns of soil and water conservation in the resource-limited High Plains.
The Farmer of the Year Award celebrates Evans’ innovation and dedication to advancing sustainability while grappling with the region’s declining Ogallala Aquifer, demonstrating to his peers that it is possible to farm profitably and sustainably through an adaptive approach to conservation. His commitment continues to yield dividends, as Evans has dramatically reduced his energy use by nearly 80% and improved irrigated water use efficiency, conserving precious air and water resources while re-building generations worth of degraded soil health.
- 2021 Collaboration of the Year: PepsiCo—Unilever Soil Health Innovation Project
Recognizing outstanding collaboration and cross-sector partnership in advancing continuous improvement in sustainable agriculture at the field and landscape level, this year’s Collaboration of the Year Award honors Field to Market members Unilever, PepsiCo, Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland for their collective efforts to advance soil health in Iowa.
Enrolled in Field to Market’s Continuous Improvement Accelerator, the PepsiCo—Unilever Soil Health Innovation Project unites unlikely allies, bringing together two distinct brands as well as their suppliers to advance a streamlined approach to supporting Iowa farmers in adopting soil health practices across the crop rotation. To date, the collaboration has enrolled more than 600 farmers in planting over 250,000 acres of cover crops across Iowa, providing comprehensive technical and financial support, which strengthens soil health outcomes and bolsters farmer livelihoods in the state.
- 2021 Trusted Adviser of the Year: Leslie Fisher, Resource Conservation Specialist, Benton County Soil and Water Conservation District
Recognized for her outstanding leadership in supporting farmers’ journeys of continuous improvement, Leslie Fisher was honored as Field to Market’s 2021 Trusted Adviser of the Year. Providing valuable counsel to Indiana farmers and leading the Benton County Soil and Water Conservation District, Fisher champions community-wide solutions which enhance farmer livelihoods while making essential contributions to landscape-level sustainability outcomes across the state.
With a personable approach and a deep knowledge of Indiana’s natural resource concerns, Fisher strikes a unique balance in driving environmental progress alongside community development, engaging farmers, landowners, supply chain players, conservation partners and local volunteers as key actors in her efforts to improve water quality in Indiana’s key watersheds
By combining innovative regenerative practices with locally rooted strategies to scaling conservation on the farm, each of this year’s award recipients demonstrate the power of creative collaborations to advance the Alliance’s collective efforts to shape a more resilient and sustainable food and agriculture system.
“Congratulations to each of our three awardees—their leadership in supporting the resilience of their local ecosystems while equally advancing economic opportunity for farmers will continue to serve as powerful examples of proven strategies for scaling sustainable agriculture for the broader industry,” said Brandon Hunnicutt, Chair of Field to Market. “We celebrate Barry Evans, Leslie Fisher and the Field to Market members involved in the PepsiCo—Unilever Soil Health Innovation Project for their deeply rooted dedication to advancing sustainability on the farm, in their communities, and across the U.S.”
The winners of Field to Market’s Sustainability Leadership Awards are selected by the Alliance’s Awards and Recognition Committee. Each recipient demonstrates leadership in the pursuit of continuous improvement, resulting in measurable results and significant impact on both agriculture and the environment.
Learn more about the 2021 Sustainability Leadership Award winners at www.fieldtomarket.org/awards.