Aimee Bissell

Aimee Bissell

(Bedford) — A Bedford-area farmer is being recognized by a state group for her work in conservation.

The Iowa Soybean Association recently named Aimee Bissell through a new conservation initiative called “Iowa’s Front Forty,” which celebrates conservation champions throughout the state. Bissell and her husband Klint grow corn and soybeans on their farm outside of Bedford, along with their children who are involved in the operation. Aimee says the family has participated in numerous conservation practices throughout the years. Their most recent project involves protecting pollinators on the farm and was inspired by an old monument found near the family’s land.

"My father-in-law found a cast iron monument not far from our farm," said Bissell. "It sticks about three feet out of the ground. When you look at the monument, it has Missouri on one side and Iowa on the other. Next to it appears to be what I would call a headstone and there's a plaque on it that says that that iron marker was a remnant of the Honey War and was placed there in 1850 to identify the northwest corner of the territory of Missouri."

Bissell says the pollinator project is just the latest in a series of conservation efforts on the farm.

"We have done several trials with the Soybean Association where we either trial a new product or a practice, we've done nitrogen studies to make sure we put on the appropriate amount of nitrogen, we test tile lines for water quality and our new project is a pollinator project," said Bissell. "Our son just grew his first rye crop to be used for seed that will be planted on fields for cover crops."

Bissell — who grew up in Corning — did not have a farming background, but has recently gotten more involved in the family’s operation. She says she hopes her children will continue the farm for generations to come.

"For us, farming isn't necessarily a job or an occupation, it's a way of life," said Bissell. "It's really a lifestyle. I love the lifestyle. I love raising our children in this lifestyle. I really hope that they continue on with this lifestyle. We feel that we're just borrowing this ground from our children. So, we're currently just trying to protect their assets, so that they continue on the same legacy that we're working for right now."

The Iowa Front Forty program seeks to recognize individuals who utilize and promote innovative conservation methods in their operation. The program also seeks to inspire other producers to improve soil and water quality through conservation practices. Bissell encourages farmers to take an active role in conservation.

"If you grow soybeans in the state of Iowa, and you grow 250 bushels of soybeans, you can become a member at no cost to you of the Soybean Association," said Bissell. "That is kind of what got us started and really has opened a lot of doors for us. I really encourage farmers to join their commodity groups. That's what gets you the access to the information that can really excel your operation."

You can learn more about Iowa’s Front Forty and see other conservation champions around the state by visiting iowafrontforty.com. Other honorees from southwest Iowa include Jim Andersen of Council Bluffs, Chris Gaesser of Lenox, Steve McGrew of Emerson, Charlie Schafer of Adair and Karen Seipold of Hastings.

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