March 5, 2018

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Pulitzer Prize-winning editor Art Cullen, through his series of editorials in The Storm Lake Times, shed light on dark money that was undermining the interests of rural Iowa residents and family farmers. For his resolution in challenging powerful interests and his outstanding reporting on agriculture and rural issues, National Farmers Union today honored Art Cullen with its Milton D. Hakel Award for Excellence in Agricultural Communications.

Cullen’s 10 editorials on the infamous Des Moines Water Works lawsuit against the drainage districts of three Iowa counties questioned the legality of a dark money fund set up to finance the counties’ legal fees. This also led Cullen to question the ability of those counties to represent the best interests of their citizens, rather than only those funding their lawsuit. His series led to the fund being disbanded and the lawsuit being dismissed.

“Art Cullen’s editorials are a striking reminder of the importance of local, investigative journalism,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “In this day and age, powerful interests can dictate rural and agricultural policy without enough examination. Art’s work benefits not only the family farmers and residents of Iowa, but all of us in agriculture who rely upon both a clean environment and a positive relationship with the general public.”

Art Cullen, 59, is co-owner with his older brother John of The Storm Lake Times, a 3,000-circulation twice-weekly newspaper in Storm Lake, Iowa. Cullen is a Storm Lake native who earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Milton D. Hakel Award is presented to reporters or news outlets that demonstrate exceptional reporting of agricultural issues. The award was named in honor of Milton D. Hakel, a well-respected Farmers Union communicator. A list of past recipients of the award can be viewed here.


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About NFU
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.

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