Casey Kropp of Holyoke
Winner of the 2016 Colorado Corn Farm Steward of the Year-Innovator Award
Having not grown up on a farm, Casey brought an outside perspective and eagerness to learn to the table when he married into his in-laws’ operation. Now farming his own 1,300 acres of center-pivot irrigated ground near Holyoke, he continues putting those qualities to use. In recent years, he was awarded two Environmental Quality Incentives Program grants to convert his entire operation from conventional disking to strip-tillage. He also utilizes a wide array of other tools – soil-moisture probes, variable-rate seeding, prescription and yield maps, cover crops and others – to help create a year-round environment for soil microbial life and also help decrease his water usage and other inputs.
Byron Weathers of Yuma
Winner of the 2016 Colorado Corn Farm Steward of the Year-Excellence in Conservation Award
While Byron and his wife, LaLani, began farming in 1974, each of their families’ histories in Yuma County agriculture dates back long before that, and stewardship of the land has been integral with each generation. Early on in his own career, Byron utilized crop rotations that allowed him to use a no-till planting approach, building soil organic matter, and in many cases also improving yields. Byron – a former Colorado Corn Growers Association president – has always been an early adopter of technologies that have improved soil quality and reduced water usage, including strip-till equipment, dual-rate planters, GPS, zone-soil sampling, variable-rate seeding and fertilization, remote-sprinkler monitoring, micro-nutrient feeding and seed treatments, just to name a few.