The Lafayette County 2013 Conservation Awards were presented to recipients at the Lafayette County Dairy Breakfast June 8 at the Martin Farms.
The 2013 Conservation Farmer of the Year award went to Dale and Cynthia Wills and Family.
The farm is located about three miles south of Belmont on Holland Road.
The Willses purchased the 163-acre farm in 1976 and throughout the years added another 322 acres. The farm currently totals 485 acres.
In 1977, a Land Conservation Committee cooperators agreement was signed and a conservation plan was developed. That year, the Willses installed a 1600-lineal-foot grassed waterway. From 1989 to 1991 contour buffer strips were installed and a minimum tillage system used. CRP Riparian Grassed and Forest Buffers were installed in 1999. A Nutrient Management Plan was developed in 2011. The Wills grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and oats and raise farrow to finish hogs and some feeder cattle.
Dale Wills was on his church council, and was a member of both county and state pork producers associations. He was a Town of Elk Grove board member for eight years. He can be found driving a truck for his son on occasion.
Cynthia was a 4-H leader and homemaker. They have two children, Darin Wills and Gina (Andrew) Hooks, and three grandchildren.
The 2013 Wildlife Habitat Development Award went to Nancy Bingaman and Gary Benson. Nancy moved here from New Jersey in 1995. The same year they purchased the 100-acre farm between Argyle and Wiota.
A conservation plan was developed immediately and a Lower East Branch Pecatonica Watershed Agreement was signed. Projects completed include 1,140 lineal feet of stream bank riprap, 100 lineal feet of stream bank shaping, and 5 wooden lunker structures were installed into the stream for fish habitat.
They continued the maintenance of more than 14,240 newly planted trees on 17.8 acres of CRP. They also enrolled 7 acres into the CRP riparian buffer program (along the creek banks) and planted over 1,100 trees in this area in 1999.
The remaining crop fields are operated by Lee Montgomery. In 2012, owner and operator worked together to develop a Nutrient Management Plan.
Nancy commented that they see lots of deer, turkey, foxes, pheasants, and ducks. Nancy home-schooled eight children, and she likes gardening and painting in her free time.
Dennis Allendorf was the recipient of the 2013 Dedicated Service Award. Dennis has been in the earthmoving and construction business since 1983. In 2007, he went on his own by starting Allendorf Dozing, Inc.
Denny has installed conservation practices for others in Lafayette County and the surrounding areas. They include tile outlet terraces, grade stabilization structures, grassed waterways, streambank stabilization, subsurface drainage, and many other conservation practices. He has also installed these same practices on his own land to protect it.
His fleet of equipment includes four bulldozers, two scrapers, a semi-truck and lowboy trailer, two dump trucks, an excavator and mini excavator and a skid steer.
“I just like what I’m doing, and I enjoy working with the customers,” said Allendorf.
Dennis and Carol have lived on Lafayette County U since 1977. They enjoy spending time with their son Tim and his wife Stacey and granddaughter Lisa.