The five state winners of the Conservation Farmer of the Year Award recognized recently are, Pat Karst, Huntington County; Chuck Shelby, Tippecanoe County; Philip Karst, Huntington County; Bob Kraft, Indiana Farm Bureau Inc. award sponsor; Tom Menkedick, Decatur County; Alan Weyer, Dubois County accepting for Norman Schue; and Carey McKibben, LaGrange County.
The Conservation Farmer of the Year Award honors Hoosier farmers who actively incorporate and practice conservation on the land. The award is sponsored by Indiana Farm Bureau Inc. and Indiana Prairie Farmer Magazine.LaGrange County resident Carey McKibben went into farming after he graduated from Purdue in 1984.
The home farm has been in the McKibben family since 1850. When he started farming, the equipment at that time was vintage ’50s with the biggest tractor an International Harvester Super MTA. That year, McKibben had the corn custom no-tilled. As the farm has grown, he continues to no-till, according to the awards committee. Conservation tillage has helped him to expand with limited labor requirements. He currently plants approximately 2,100 acres. He plants all the corn with a JD 1770 no-till 16 row planter. His father plants most of the beans with JD 1990 35-inch air drill. McKibben says 90 percent of his soil is classified as loam, or sandy loam. With 95 percent of his glacial soils being A and B slopes, being below "T" has never been the issue. But as with any soil, sheet and rill erosion has been lessened with conservation tillage.