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    Top Agricultural Photo Contest Winners Announced

    WATERLOO, Iowa – Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 13th Annual Capture the Heart of America Photo Contest.

    “Best of Show” was awarded to Greg Punelli of Ankeny for his photo, “Battle in the Blizzard” in the Partner Site category. Taken in Prairie City at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, the photo was chosen by the public in an online voting campaign in early December.

    Awards were also given to the top photos in each of six categories, voted on by panel of judges. People’s Choice “Most Liked on Facebook” was awarded to Joyce Meyer of Calmar for her photo, “Over the Rainbow” in the Iowa Farmscapes category. The “Visitor Guide Photo Feature,” selected by Silos & Smokestacks staff from the Partner Site category for a special feature in the 2021-22 Visitor Guide, was awarded to Brian Abeling of West Des Moines with “Mines of Spain Recreation Area.”

    Category winners include:

    Life on the Iowan Farm

    FIRST PLACE: Ready For Work, Bee Klemzak of Waterloo

    SECOND PLACE: Harvest Tailgating for Lunch, Sandy McCurdy of Bridgewater

    THIRD PLACE: Summer Sunrise, Diane Michaud Lowry of Ames

    HONORABLE MENTION: Puddle Jumper, Ann Clinton of Waukee

    Iowan Farmscapes

    FIRST PLACE: Patterns in the Hills, Roger Weyhrich of Boone

    SECOND PLACE: Balltown Lookout, Dean Traver of Mt. Vernon

    THIRD PLACE: Snowy Farm, Katharine Vogel of Marshalltown

    HONORABLE MENTION: Derecho Destruction, Diane Michaud Lowry of Ames

    American Agriculture

    FIRST PLACE: Bluebird in the Vineyard, Deb Shoning of West Des Moines

    SECOND PLACE: Paul Grillo, Partnering With Team and Mascot of Parkersburg

    THIRD PLACE: Montana Farm, Mary Pat Coburn of West Branch

    HONORABLE MENTION: Wisconsin Summer Nights, Dave Austin of Ankeny

    Celebrations of Iowa Agriculture

    FIRST PLACE: Flying Chaps, Paul Grillo of Parkersburg

    SECOND PLACE: Best Buddies, Harlen Persinger of Milkwaukee, Wis.

    THIRD PLACE:  Dusting of the 720, Katie Melcher of Waukon

    Modern Agriculture

    FIRST PLACE: Hancock Harvest, Brian Abeling of West Des Moines

    SECOND PLACE: Fly & Apply, Beau Brown of Iowa City

    THIRD PLACE: East Place Harvest, Linda Buxton of Creston

    HONORABLE MENTION: Chad Heggen, Deere in the Beans of Joice

    Silos & Smokestacks Partner Sites     

    FIRST PLACE: Battle in the Blizzard, by Greg Punelli of Ankeny

    SECOND PLACE: Light the Way, Deb Shoning of West Des Moines

    THIRD PLACE: Wagaman Mill, Lisa Schmitz of West Des Moines

    HONORABLE MENTION: Bison Cow and Calf, Greg Punelli and Back in Time, Greg Punelli


    While the Heritage Area covers a 37-county region in Northeast Iowa, the contest allows Silos & Smokestacks to share America’s agricultural story across the entire United States. A complete list of winners and their photos can viewed at

    Through a network of sites, programs and events, Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area tells the story of farm life and agribusiness—past and present. Visitors can learn about and experience agriculture at a variety of museums, historic sites, and farms. One of 55 federally designated heritage areas in the nation, Silos & Smokestacks is an Affiliated Area of the National Park Service. The heritage area covers 37 counties in the northeast quadrant of Iowa. To plan your trip, visit Silos & Smokestacks Headquarters at 305 West Park Waterloo or go to


    PHOTO 1: Battle in the Blizzard, Best of Show, Greg Punelli

    PHOTO 2: Mines of Spain Recreation Area, Visitor Guide Photo Feature, Brian Abeling

    PHOTO 3: Ready for Work, First Place Life on the Iowa Farm, Bee Klemzak

    Topics: Press Releases