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Erons Win 2020 Leopold Conservation Award
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 11/20/2020

A Portage County farm couple has been chosen as the eleventh recipient of Wisconsin's Leopold Conservation Award. John and Melissa Eron of Stevens Point, who also own a custom harvesting business in Junction City, will be recognized on December 4 during the virtual annual meeting of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. They will also be given a $10,000 cash prize and a Leopold crystal for demonstrating responsible stewardship and management of natural resources.

Being their farm is heavy with clay soil, John developed a unique irrigation system where he captures and stores runoff water in strategically placed ponds to be used later for irrigating crops. Field corners are planted with native wildflowers and grasses to provide habitat for wildlife and pollinators. These efforts also help to conserve soil and improve the water quality of the nearby Mill Creek.

John serves as the appointed Weed Commissioner for Portage and Wood counties, as well as a local school board member and chairs the planning commission in his township. Melissa has served as the Ag in the Classroom Coordinator for Portage County. The family also owns and operates a wedding and event barn.

"The Erons are extremely deserving of this honorable award. John is known as the go-to conservation person in his area of the state and has great compassion in caring for the land," said WFBF President Joe Bragger, a past recipient of the award himself. "As farmers, John and Melissa understand the importance of working with a variety of groups so together we can make the land better for future generations."

The program is being sponsored at the state level by the WFBF, along with the Sand County Foundation, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Compeer Financial, American Farmland Trust, Culver's, McDonald's, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, We Energies Foundation, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board, Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association, Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association.

The Erons were one of five farms to compete as finalists for the Leopold Conservation Award this year. The others were Mike Berg, Blanchardville; Charlie Hammer and Nancy Kavazanjian, Beaver Dam; Brian Maliszewski, Independence; and John and Dorothy Priske, Fall River.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. It inspires other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders.

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