Wisconsin Farmer Jim Winn, Stearns County SWCD Conservation Planning Team Manager Mark Lefebvre, and the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol: Collaborating for a Smarter Cotton Future Project, Take Top Honors at Field to Market’s 2023 Awards

Field to Market Honors 2023 Sustainability Leadership Award Winners
Dec 6, 2023 9:00 AM ET
Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture

December 6, 2023 /3BL/ - Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture® honored the recipients of the 2023 Sustainability Leadership Awards on the eve of the 9th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Summit. Now in their seventh year, the awards—presented as the capstone of the Alliance’s fall meeting—are given to farmers, individuals, and organizations 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 2023 Sustainability Leadership Awards are as follows:

  • 2023 Farmer of the Year: Jim Winn, South Wayne, Wisconsin 
    Recognized for outstanding conservation efforts on his farm and leadership in advancing sustainable agriculture, Winn was honored as Field to Market’s 2023 Farmer of the Year. Co-owning and operating Cottonwood Dairy in South Wayne, Wisconsin, with his partners Brian and Randy Larson, Winn farms approximately 2,500 acres of corn and alfalfa, and raises approximately 2,900 dairy cattle, all with a whole-farm approach to sustainability. 

    Having utilized a suite of conservation practices including no-till, contour strips, cover crops, and a comprehensive nutrient management plan for years, Winn and his partners work diligently to ensure the farm remains productive now and into the future. 
  • 2023 Trusted Adviser of the Year: Mark Lefebvre, Conservation Planning Team Manager, Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District 

    Recognized for his outstanding leadership in supporting farmers’ journeys of continuous improvement, Mark Lefebvre was honored as Field to Market’s 2023 Trusted Adviser of the Year. Providing support to Minnesota farmers, Lefebvre champions sustainable solutions to improve environmental outcomes on-farm and enhance long-term productivity, while helping them try sustainable practices and track their progress. 

    As the Conservation Planning Team Manager for the Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Lefebvre provides technical and financial assistance to landowners across the county. For over 17 years, he has been assisting farmers with identifying risks on their farming operations and finding solutions that will fit in with each individual’s farm goals and operating constraints. 
  • 2023 Collaboration of the Year: U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol: Collaborating for a Smarter Cotton Future Project 

    Recognizing outstanding collaboration and cross-sector partnership in advancing continuous improvement of cotton sustainability at the field and landscape level, the 2023 Collaboration of the Year Award honors the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol (Trust Protocol) and Cotton Incorporated for their work on the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol: Collaborating for a Smarter Cotton Future project. 

    Enrolled in Field to Market’s Project Directory, this project represents the enrolled acres of producers involved in the Trust Protocol and the collaborators’ work to assist producers in improving their environmental outcomes and marketing sustainable cotton across the industry.

By combining innovative sustainable and regenerative practices with locally rooted strategies to scaling conservation, each of this year’s award recipients demonstrate the role all sectors have in shaping a more resilient and sustainable food system.

“Congratulations to each of our three awardees—their leadership in driving the continuous improvement of environmental outcomes for agriculture is a clear example of how the collective action of the value chain supports resilient ecosystems and enhances farmer livelihoods,” says Field to Market President Scott Herndon. “We applaud Jim Winn, Mark Lefebvre, and the partners involved in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol: Collaborating for a Smarter Cotton Future Project, for their dedication to advancing the sustainability of U.S. agriculture.”

The winners of Field to Market’s Sustainability Leadership Awards are selected by the Alliance’s Education and Outreach Committee. Each recipient demonstrates leadership in the pursuit of continuous improvement, resulting in measurable results and significant impact on both agriculture and the environment. This year’s program was made possible thanks to the support of Nestlé Purina Petcare and Cotton Incorporated.

Learn more about the 2023 Sustainability Leadership Award winners at www.fieldtomarket.org/awards.


Katrina Stacey, Field to Market Communications Manager, (202) 230-3861, kstacey@fieldtomarket.org


Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture® brings together a diverse group of grower organizations; agribusinesses; food, feed, beverage, restaurant, and retail companies; conservation groups; universities and public sector partners to focus on defining, measuring, and advancing the sustainability of food, feed, fiber, and fuel production. Field to Market comprises of 200 members representing all facets of the U.S. agricultural supply chain, with members employing more than 5 million people and representing combined revenues totaling over $1.5 trillion.