Brookfield, Wis. — Lessiter Media’s No-Till Farmer and Farm Equipment editors were recognized by the American Society of Business Press Editors with national awards in the association’s 2024 Azbee Awards of Excellence. 

Honoring the best in B2B media, the Azbee Awards recognize outstanding work by business, trade, association and professional publications across 61 categories in 5 divisions representing the U.S. No-Till Farmer and Farm Equipment were the only ag media titles recognized with awards. Some of the other award winners included Bloomberg, WebMD, McKinsey Quarterly and Crain Communications. 

No-Till Farmer and Managing Editor Michaela Paukner received a bronze award in the feature series category for the 2023 No-Till Farmer Conservation Ag Operator Fellowship series. The series is also a won a silver award in the regional level. 

The 4-part series followed Iowa no-tiller Loran Steinlage, who served as the publication’s Ag Operator Fellow in 2023, for an entire growing season. The four articles in this series are the product of seven in-person interviews with Steinlage; 10 public webinar discussions (each 1-1.5 hours long) about his farming practices; and hours of phone calls about his ongoing efforts to spread the message of no-till to a broader audience.

"Each story felt like getting a beer with a mentor," wrote one of the judges about the fellowship series. "The series' conversational writing style really helps encapsulate Steinlage as a person and a farmer and helped underscore his importance in the industry. The series offered a good balance of ready-to-use information and insights from Steinlage himself. Diagrams, info boxes and points to access more information fleshed out the series well."

Another of the judges said the series offered an enormous amount of practical information about not only what to do, but what not to do.

Farm Equipment's Editor/Publisher Mike Lessiter, Executive Editor Kim Schmidt and Art Aiello received a bronze award for its special section submission of the Shortline Legends hall of fame coverage from the September 2023 issue. The coverage also received a gold award at the regional level.

This special section represents the inaugural class of Farm Equipment's Shortline Legends Hall of Fame. Before any writing could be done, the hall of farmers had to be selected, based on feedback and insights from the industry. This is the first honor of its sort that recognizes the manufacturers of specialty ag equipment. Coverage of each hall of famer was based on Farm Equipment staff research and interviews both in the past and currently.

The inaugural class included Roy ApplequistJon KinzenbawDon LandollJoe MacDonald and Gary Vermeer.

Farm Equipment also received a regional bronze award for single topic coverage for the 2023 Dealership of the Year articles. The Dealership of the Year is selected by a third-party panel of judges based on key dealership metrics. For the 2023 Farm Equipment Dealerships of the Year, the judges chose Kentucky-based Hutson Inc. in the over-$100 million revenue category and Noble Equipment of Alberta, Canada, in the under-$100 million revenue category.

"It feels like every B2B does some award and then writes about the winners," wrote one of the judges. "These robust features are still primarily congratulatory, but the sources and writers reveal real problems that readers would face, too, and provide the thinking and solutions that is going into the solving those problems. So, these stories provide actionable advice to ponder, which is sometimes rare in what can wind up being just puff pieces."