Calhoun County Conservation Leaders Honored with Good Farm Neighbor Award

07-13-2023 in Good Farm Neighbor

LAKE CITY, IOWA – July 13, 2023 – Conservation is key to M&M Farms, a multi-generational livestock and crop farm in Lake City, Iowa. M&M Farms, established in 1997, is owned and operated by Mark and Melissa Schleisman.

On Friday, July 7, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, presented the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to the Schleisman family for their commitment to raising livestock responsibly and successfully, caring for their land, and helping their community. “Neighbors helping neighbors has been a hallmark of who we are, a hallmark of being an Iowan and being in this wonderful business,” Naig said during the award presentation, “And the Schleisman family embodies that way of life.”

The Schleismans know what it takes to be a good neighbor. Community involvement is just one of the few ways they act as good neighbors. Mark served three terms on the Southern Calhoun/South Central Calhoun School Board, was a past Calhoun County Pork Producers board member, is currently a member of the St. Mary’s Church finance council and serves on the Calhoun County Farm Bureau Board. He also serves on the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s Environmental Committee and is a member of Practical Farmers of Iowa, where he hosts field days. The Schleismans are also members of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Soybean Association, American Soybean Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association and National Corn Growers Association.

Incorporating conservation practices on their farm is another way the Schleismans are good neighbors. Mark and his family are known as pioneers in conservation efforts. They utilize cover crops, terraces, filter strips, pollinator habitat, pheasant and upland bird habitat, food plots, bioreactors, saturated buffers, waterways, wetlands, and water reuse for nutrient management. These practices have paid off not only for their farm but for the community as well resulting in a, 50% reduction in nitrates entering the river near the Schleismans farm.

Besides being involved in their community and caring for their land, the Schleismans also raise livestock with the highest level of care to ensure consumers enjoy safe and nutritious protein. Mark and other members of the family are PQA (Pork Quality Assurance) certified, TQA (Transportation Quality Assurance) certified, and BQA (Beef Quality Assurance) certified. The Schleisman’s also utilize a calving barn that allows them to calve all 320 cows indoors during inclement weather.

The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is made possible through a partnership with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and The Big Show on WHO Radio. This award recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in caring for the environment and their livestock and have demonstrated a commitment to their community. The award is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.

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