24 November 2021, USA: Dwane Roth, Enogen® seed sustainability lead for Syngenta, has been selected as the winner of the 2020 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award®, a prestigious honor that recognizes landowners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife resources in their care.
As owner of Big D Farms in Finney County, Kansas, Roth used cover crops to build soil health and combat wind erosion on sandy soils. A cropland landlord asked him to look into irrigation technology and help address the declining water level in the Ogallala Aquifer beneath the High Plains. Roth, already a proponent of water conservation, rose to the challenge and used emerging irrigation technologies to spearhead an effort that resulted in other area farmers saving more than 35,000 acre-feet of water per year. Over the last few years Dwane has transitioned his farming operation to his nephews, who have continued with his water conservation practices.
“A large part of this ongoing effort involves researching and testing new irrigation strategies and technologies that maintain crop production while reducing water usage,” Roth said. “It’s not easy – there are lots of challenges and hurdles – but this award has helped validate that, yes, these efforts are worth it and, yes, I am making a difference in our communities. It’s a great feeling, and I am humbled and honored to win this award.”
Roth’s passion for conservation and sustainability led him to his current role as Enogen sustainability lead for Syngenta. Roth is part of a team working to increase efficiency in ethanol fuel production and help livestock producers reduce their environmental footprints through the adoption of Enogen corn technology. With more than 30 years of farming experience, Dwane communicates easily with other producers, speaking from his personal experience in farming. His nephews grow approximately 600 acres of Enogen corn on their land.
Enogen corn for feed, fed to cattle as grain or silage, helps convert starch to sugar more efficiently, resulting in more readily available energy for livestock. A life cycle assessment1 from the University of Arkansas Resiliency Center (UARC), in partnership with Syngenta Seeds and based on studies conducted at the University of Nebraska and Kansas State University2, identified feed efficiency gains of around 5% in backgrounding and the feed yard, which can help lead to reduced emissions and less consumption of natural resources – while still helping farmers maximize their operations.
“In addition to his work at Big D Farms, Dwane goes above and beyond in his role at Syngenta to support our sustainability initiatives,” said Chris Cook, head of Enogen for Syngenta. “He is always thinking outside the box and, for example, has taken the initiative to combine Enogen with other traits like Agrisure Artesian® technology to help growers reduce their carbon and soil-loss footprints. I can confidently say that no one is more deserving of this award than Dwane. It’s a privilege to work with him.”
Roth shares a passion for land ethic with one of his three daughters, Grace. Her National FFA Organization project launched the Kansas Youth Water Advocates Program, which teaches high school students to appreciate and advocate for local water resources.
The Kansas Leopold Conservation Award® was presented at the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts’ 76th Annual Convention in Wichita on Nov. 22. For additional details on the Leopold Conservation Award Program, click here.