April Hemmes among Iowa farmers named to Front Forty

ISA District 2 Director April Hemmes (Hampton) was one of 40 Iowa farmers and stakeholders named as conservation champions by Iowa's Front Forty. With the support of the Walton Family Foundation, the program continues to celebrate conservation leaders at the forefront of sustainable soil and water management practices. (Photo: Iowa Soybean Association/Joclyn Bushman)

Iowa’s Front Forty Announces Newest Class of Conservation Leaders

October 5, 2023 | Brock Johnston

Ankeny, Iowa –The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) today announced the second inaugural class of “Iowa’s Front Forty” conservation champions. The initiative recognizes farmers and other leaders at the forefront of utilizing and promoting innovative conservation methods.

Iowa’s Front Forty also seeks to inspire further action in improving water and soil quality while illustrating how more public funding can dramatically increase the pace and scope of conservation activities in Iowa. The program has now honored more than 80 Iowa farmers and stakeholders.

“We’re all about improving the productivity, profitability and natural resource management for soil and water in Iowa,” said Roger Wolf, Director of Conservation at ISA’s Research Center for Farming Innovation. “The Front Forty captures the voices of local champions to advocate what’s been going on across Iowa for soil and water conservation for the purpose of replicating that success in other parts of the state.”

ISA is widely respected for implementing programs and services enabling soybean farmers to boost productivity in concert with effective conservation practices. With the support of the Walton Family Foundation, Iowa’s Front Forty continues to celebrate conservation champions at the forefront of sustainable soil and water management practices.

For example, sharing stories of farmers who are successfully practicing and promoting soil and water quality has opened communication and dialogue among all Iowans regarding conservation. Each farmer can influence other farmers and citizens to do the same.

“On my family's century farm, I approach water and soil quality in many different ways,” said April Hemmes, a Franklin County farmer and Front Forty champion. “I’ve been no-tilling my soybeans for more than 20 years, seed cover crops and use several edge-of-field practices with native prairie grasses and pollinators. My county always has more projects than funding available, which shows that farmers see the value and need for these practices.”

Launching the Front Forty program to connect farmers, landowners and conservationists around Iowa will elevate these success stories, empower grassroots influencers to continue advocating and educate policymakers about the benefits of long-term conservation.

“ISA is going to continue to invest in these kinds of programs, and we believe the voices and actions of local people are what make all of this work,” Wolf added.

To learn more about Iowa’s Front Forty and the newest class of conservation champions, visit iowafrontforty.com.



The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


Not funded by the soybean checkoff

The Iowa Soybean Association (www.iasoybeans.com) is “Driven To Deliver” increased soybean demand through market development and new uses, farmer-focused research and results, timely information and know-how and policy initiatives enabling farmers and the industry to flourish. Founded in 1964 by farmers to serve farmers, ISA is governed by a board of 22 farmers to advocate on behalf of the state’s 40,000 soybean producers, including more than 15,000 ISA farmer members and industry stakeholders.