Mahaska County Family Presented with Good Farm Neighbor Award
Haley Banwart | Assistant Field Specialist
Chester Whites have been a fixture of the Albertson farm near Fremont, Iowa, since the 1930s. So when fourth generation farmer, Neil Albertson, returned to the farm in 1976, he knew he wanted to continue the family tradition raising the same breed of hogs as an independent farrow to finish pork producer.
"I've always been drawn to the challenges of livestock farming," said Neil. "When I get out of bed in the morning I ask myself what I can do different to improve the farm."
In recognition of his outstanding efforts as a livestock caretaker, Neil and his family were awarded the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award on Monday, March 20th. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, presented the award to the Albertsons, acknowledging the positive impact the family has not only in their local community but across the state.
“There are a lot of folks doing a great job in being a part of the culture of Iowa and making agriculture successful,” said Northey. “We appreciate the Albertsons allowing us to tell their piece of the story.”
Today, Neil raises hogs and 1200 acres of corn and soybeans alongside his brother, Kerry. While the Albertson’s acres have increased over the years, the family’s hog operation has also grown to include a successful swine seed stock business.
According to Neil, the venture evolved from when his sons, Travis and Casey, started showing pigs through the 4-H program. After a few average attempts in the show ring, the Alberton’s began developing their genetics to gain a competitive edge. Their eventual success caught the attention of other 4-H and FFA families, and soon after the Alberton’s farm became a source for quality show pigs.
Although Neil’s sons are now adults working full-time jobs, Neil continues to mentor
4-H and FFA students who acquire show pigs from his farm. Each summer he looks forward to watching the families he’s worked with succeed.
“For me, the reward isn’t how well a kid does in the ring,” said Neil. “It’s in the moments of watching them have fun and seeing the smiles on their faces.”
Neil’s reputation as a dedicated livestock caretaker extends beyond the show ring. In addition to serving as a member of the Southern Iowa Fair auction committee and Swine Superintendent, he has also served as president of the Iowa Chester White Association, on the board of directors of the National Chester White Association and as a member of the Iowa Purebred Swine Council.
Reflecting on his nomination for the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, Neil says his success isn’t something he can take full credit for.
“You don’t get this award on your own,” said Neil. “It takes friends, and in this instance, it takes my family. I’m not who I am without them.”
The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, presented by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa Ag Radio Network in partnership with CSIF, is presented six times annually to an Iowa farm family who raises livestock. It’s given in honor of distinguished late WHO radio farm broadcaster, Gary Wergin, and recognizes families who take pride in being good neighbors and stewards of the land.
To nominate a deserving livestock farmer or farm family, contact Brian Waddingham at email@example.com or (515) 225-5531.
The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers was created over 10 years ago by farmers to help farmers raise livestock responsibly and successfully. It’s a joint partnership involving the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Poultry Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Turkey Federation and Midwest Dairy Association.