The Irrigation Association is proud to kick off Smart Irrigation Month by announcing the recipients of its annual awards. These awards honor those who have made significant contributions to the irrigation industry, and each recipient recognized this year is a true change-maker who has made unique and meaningful accomplishments toward furthering the industry and promoting efficient irrigation.
The Industry Achievement Award was established in 1966 and honors an individual whose career demonstrates outstanding contributions to the advancement of the irrigation industry and its products and programs.
Jake LaRue is the recipient of the 2019 Industry Achievement Award. As head of the research and development department of Valley Irrigation, LaRue’s career has been devoted to technological advancements. He regularly advises national and international organizations regarding education, standards development and adoption of efficient irrigation technologies. LaRue also holds numerous patents and was integral in the development of several irrigation technologies, including variable rate irrigation, scheduling, telemetry and sensors.
The IA’s Innovator Award honors individuals who have made significant, tangible contributions to the irrigation industry within the past five years.
Monty Teeter is 2019’s Innovator Award recipient. He started Teeter Irrigation in 1977 and continues to innovate today, culminating in the development of Dragon-Line, a mobile drip irrigation system that combines the benefits of center pivot and drip irrigation into one system. This innovation primarily focused on finding solutions to overcome hurdles that had slowed the adoption of mobile drip irrigation over the years. Even after the development of Dragon-Line, Teeter continues to innovate and improve this technology.
The IA’s Board of Directors Award recognizes an individual’s lifelong contributions to the advancement of the irrigation industry.
Carl Kah Jr. has been named the recipient of the 2019 Board of Directors Award. Kah founded K-Rain in 1974 and continues to serve as the company’s CEO. With more than 100 patents to his name, Kah began his innovation in irrigation technologies with his father in a garage in West Palm Beach, Florida, in the 1940s. Since then, he built K-Rain to the company it is today, an “engineering first” company that employs more than 400 people worldwide. Kah’s lifelong commitment to developing new irrigation technologies helped advance the industry into the 21st century.
The Excellence in Education Award recognizes an outstanding educator who is actively teaching or has formerly taught irrigation, water management and/or water conservation.
The 2019 Excellence in Education Award recipient is Marcus Duck of Michigan State University. Duck joined Michigan State in 2002 and currently serves as an advisor and instructor in the department of horticulture. He also serves as the program coordinator for the department’s two-year certificate programs. Duck’s involvement in the IA’s Faculty Academy and with the National Association of Landscape Professionals has provided him additional valuable tools to take back to his classroom, further showing his commitment to excellence in education.
The Vanguard Award honors an innovative irrigation project executed by a team of individuals, companies, organizations or other group entities.
The Lindsay Corporation’s Riverview LLP project has been named the recipient of the 2019 Vanguard Award. Located near Willcox, Arizona, Riverview LLP’s Coronado Farms operates 196 center pivots over more than 24,000 acres of irrigated farmland. After identifying a primary challenge to ensure the farm’s long-term sustainability through water conservation, Riverview LLP partnered with Lindsay to construct a plan to meet this challenge. The partners in this project included Riverview LLP, a Minnesota-based beef, dairy and crop production partnership; Lindsay Corporation; Lindsay dealer Whitewater Irrigation; Lindsay’s water engineering division IRZ Engineering Consultants; and Watertronics.