The American Soybean Association (ASA) along with sponsors Monsanto and The Corn and Soybean Digest, has revealed its winners of the 2009 Conservation Legacy Award and the Kentucky Soybean Association (KSA) is proud to announce that members Rick and Philip Castlen are the Southern Region's winners.

The Conservation Legacy Awards program is designed to recognize the outstanding environmental and conservation achievement of U.S. soybean farmers. Judges look for dedication to the land through cropland management practices, farmstead protection, and conservation and environmental management.

Rick and Philip Castlen have been committed to conservation for over 25 years. With their 1,000 acres of corn and 1,000 acres of soybeans they practice a 100 percent no-till operation, near Owensboro.

They relentlessly work to correct erosion and drainage problems with their landlords and have even been known to incur construction work at their own expense to control erosion where landowners are not able to install needed conservation practices.

“When land is too steep to grow crops, we sow grass and manage it for wildlife,” says Rick. “We've installed water and sediment control basins, diversions, grassed waterways, grade stabilization structure and filter strips. We also use Best Management Practices, which include annual soil testing, integrated pest management and nutrient management.”

The Castlens have 15 acres of wetlands devoted to wildlife and have active CRP contract acres where they have built grassed waterways or filter strips.

“We are stewards of the land and that's why we control erosion problems and leave the non-farming areas to wildlife habitat,” Philip says.

The winners and their spouses received an expense-paid trip to the Commodity Classic in Grapevine, Texas. During the Classic they were recognized at the ASA Awards Banquet. They were also featured in the February issue of The Corn and Soybean Digest magazine.