Tom and Ann Beuckens of Starbuck are among eight finalists for the state’s 2017 Outstanding Conservationist Award, according to a news release from the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Pope Soil & Water Conservation District staff nominated the Beuckenses for the award. The winner will be announced Dec. 5 during the 81st annual MASWCD annual meeting in Bloomington. The award program recognizes farm families, individuals, conservation organizations and other groups for implementing conservation practices and improving Minnesota’s natural resources.

The Beuckens operate an 850-acre corn and soybean farm. Over the years, they have planted a shelterbelt, buffer strips, had nine water and sediment control basins installed, grid-sampled the farm for nutrient management, constructed a diversion and a grassed waterway, and converted 20 open intakes to water-quality inlets.

Since 1988 they have had sensitive land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. This year they became a Minnesota Department of Agriculture Water Quality Certified Farm.

The Beuckens’ community involvement has extended to the Chamber of Commerce, Corn Growers, Starbuck Veterans Auxiliary, Pope County Flyers, Gladys Ness Brang Foundation and the Pope County Pheasant Restoration Committee.

The program is sponsored by MASWCD, with support from The Farmer magazine.