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Secretary Naig Presents Ag Leader Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Iowa Agriculture

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig this week recognized two organizations and one Iowa business that have made exceptional contributions to the state’s agriculture community. Ag Leader Awards were presented to the Iowa Barn Foundation for Leadership in Community, Ducks Unlimited for Leadership in Conservation and Plantpeddler for Leadership in Agriculture Education. The honorees received their awards during the 12th Annual Iowa Ag Leaders Dinner held on March 19 in Ankeny. The event was held on National Ag Day and was part of the state’s weeklong Iowa Ag Week celebration.

“Hundreds of Iowans from across the state gather every year for the Iowa Ag Leaders Dinner to recognize outstanding organizations and inspiring individuals who are making a tremendous impact,” said Secretary Naig. “This year’s awardees - the Iowa Barn Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and Plantpeddler - have all made significant and positive impacts on our state. They are deserving of recognition for their leadership in conservation, agriculture education and community betterment.”

Photos of Secretary Naig with the three awardees can be found here. 

2024 Iowa Ag Leader Awardees:

Leadership in Community – Iowa Barn Foundation
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Founded in 1997, the Iowa Barn Foundation is dedicated to preserving Iowa’s rural agricultural buildings. The all-volunteer statewide organization has a primary mission to educate the public about the architectural significance and importance of Iowa’s barns. The group also raises money to provide barn rehabilitation or restoration matching grants to help property owners restore and preserve their historic barns.

Leadership in Conservation – Ducks Unlimited
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Ducks Unlimited constructs, conserves, restores and manages wetlands and other habitats for waterfowl in North America. Ducks Unlimited works closely with numerous individuals, landowners, partners and agencies, including the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, to complete wetland projects on private lands. Because of Ducks Unlimited’s sustained efforts to steward Iowa’s rich natural resources, we are enhancing and protecting wildlife habitat while also improving water quality. This enduring work will benefit not just the Iowans of today, but generations of Iowans yet to come. 

Leadership in Agriculture Education – Plantpeddler
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Plantpeddler is a wholesale greenhouse business located in Cresco that grows and distributes plants and horticulture products throughout the United States. In August of 2023, Plantpeddler held its first “Educate the Educator” horticulture workshop, which brought dozens of ag educators to Northeast Iowa. This one-of-a-kind event provided teachers with new ideas, resources and information, and inspired them to teach about horticulture. Plantpeddler’s passion and out-of-the-box thinking created a unique experience for ag educators, therefore preparing and challenging them to educate and encourage their students – the ag leaders of tomorrow.  

The annual Iowa Ag Leaders Dinner is hosted by Secretary Naig, organized by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and funded by the Iowa Economic Development Foundation. 

About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 14 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land and enhance water quality for the next generation. Learn more at

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