Award recognizes Bunkers family environmental farming leadership

Thursday, August 29, 2019
Bunker Hill, Inc., received the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award at the Iowa State Fair on August 14th. The award was presented by Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon.
(Photo contributed)

A Plymouth County farm family received an Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award. Bunker Hill, Inc., a corporation ran by Steve and Judy Bunkers of Remsen, were nominated by Kristi Silverthorn, Deep Creek Watershed Coordinator, on behalf of the Plymouth Soil and Water Conservation District.

They run an 800-acre corn and soybean operation and own 400 of those acres. Likewise, they have 5,000 head of finishing hogs. The farm has received Century Farm recognition and has been in operation for 126 years.

Steve and Judy have proven to be conservation stewards by practicing cover crops, mulch tillage, contour farming all sloping fields, narrow and broad-based terraces, windbreaks, CRP acres, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plans and all fertilizer/hog manure is injected. Bunker Hill, Inc. is enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with the Farm Service Agency, and actively involved in the Deep Creek Water Quality Initiative Project. Over the past ten years, they have installed 56,650 feet of terraces, have 350 acres of cover crops and have installed four water and sediment control basins. Between 1977 and 1993, 31,200 feet of terraces were installed. They have 6.8 acres set aside to maintain/enhance upland wildlife food and cover.

Their main reason for incorporating these practices is to maintain and improve the soil for the next generation and to carry on the legacy of Steve’s father, Vernon Bunkers, started years ago, that resulted in an Iowa Soil Conservation Award in 1966 sponsored by the Des Moines Register and Tribune and the Iowa Farm and Home Register.

The Bunkers’ family is one of 53 to receive the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award in 2019.

It was presented by Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon, at the Iowa State Fair on August 14th.

The award is a joint effort to recognize the efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. It seeks to recognize the explementary voluntary actions of farmers who improve or protect the environment and natural resources of Iowa, while encouraging other farmers to follow in their footsteps.

This is the seventh year of the award and to date more than 500 families have received recognition.