Locals to receive 'River Friendly' Award

Photo provided | More than 40 farmers from Indiana will receive the River Friendly Farmer Award Aug. 14 at the Indiana State Fair. From Decatur County, Dick Froehling, Dave Riedeman and Bill Metz will receive the award.

GREENSBURG – Three Decatur County residents have been awarded the River Friendly Farmer Award by the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (IASWCD).

Dick Froehling and his colleague Dave Riedeman, as well as Bill Metz, were the locals given the award this time around. The three men were among 47 farmers from 37 counties across the state to receive the honor.

Farmers from the following counties received the award this year: Boone, Clay, Clinton, Decatur, Dubois, Fayette, Grant, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Howard, Knox, Kosciusko, Marion, Miami, Morgan, Newton, Putnam, Scott, Starke, Switzerland, Tippecanoe, Vanderburgh, Washington, Wayne, Wells, and Whitley.

According to the IASWCD, the 2019 group joins more than 1,000 Indiana farmers who have received this award for their hard work in protecting rivers, lakes and streams through their everyday conservation management practices.

The goal, according to the association, is to improve soil health and water quality and restore and sustain human and wildlife habitat in Indiana's watersheds.

The River Friendly Farmer Program is a collaborative effort of governmental agencies, agricultural organizations, Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) and farmers, according to the IASWCD.

The award has been given out annually since 1999.

All three men said they found out they would be receiving the award back in June.

“I’m just a steward of the land,” Metz said. “I didn’t really feel like I deserved it because I feel like I have an obligation to look over the land.”

Though Metz was humble in receiving the honor, he was still appreciative.

“I appreciate it, and it’s an honor,” Metz said. “I appreciate that people are taking notice of the hard work that goes with this.”

On behalf of both he and Riedeman, Froehling spoke about their initial reaction when they learned they were recipients.

“We were kind of surprised,” Froehling said, “but we were definitely proud. We try to watch for things like erosion and the herbicides we use, and we really do all we can.”

Froehling also took the time to thank the IASWCD.

“We appreciate them and the help they’ve given us over the years,” Froehling said.

From the IASWCD, Board President Roger Wenning lauded this year’s recipients for the work they’ve done to take care of land and water.

"This group of farmers understands the value of taking care of the land and protecting our water resources for years to come. I'm proud to be a part of this organization that honors farmers for their conservation efforts. This event is a great opportunity to celebrate that effort," Wenning said.

This marks another year where at least one Decatur County resident received the River Friendly Farmer designation. Last year, local farmer Ed Smith received the award.

The 47 farmers will be honored at 1 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Indiana State Fair in the 4-H Exhibit Hall. Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron will be presenting the awards.

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Contact: Joshua Heath, 812-663-3111 x7401; joshua.heath@greensburgdailynews.com.

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