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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

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