Secretary Naig awards Buena Vista County family for their leadership in agriculture
DES MOINES, Iowa (Jan. 27, 2022) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig presented the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to Mike and Michelle Ehlers and family, pork producers in Buena Vista County. The award was presented at Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines on January 26th.
“The Ehlers family are leaders in conservation and are great resources for neighbors and fellow farmers who are interested in improving soil health and water quality on their farms,” said Secretary Naig. “Their high standard of animal care and community involvement make them deserving recipients of this award.”
The Ehlers family raises corn, soybeans and pigs on their farm outside of Marathon, Iowa. They are leaders in implementing conservation practices, including low disturbance manure application, strip-till, no-till and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) buffer strips. They began seeding cover crops in 2015 and have continued to increase acres seeded to cover crops. The Ehlers family has also planted pollinator habitats and installed a bioreactor that benefits water quality in the Raccoon River watershed. They manage their manure nutrients carefully, as it is the primary nutrient source for their farms.
Mike and Michelle Ehlers and their family take great care to make sure their animals are healthy. High quality feed, good air quality and sufficient space are all part of that goal. They have also implemented wet-dry feeders to reduce water waste on their farm.
Mike and Michelle Ehlers are presidents of the Buena Vista Pork Producers Association. Michelle is a local 4-H leader, and the family is active in many local community organizations and events. They have hosted local field days on their farm focused on low disturbance manure application and building soil health and utilizing conservation practices. Mike and Michelle also assist with the Special Swine Program in Buena Vista County by delivering pigs to the fairgrounds. They work with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to provide 4-H members a pig to show who wouldn’t otherwise have one to show one of their own.
The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is made possible thanks to financial support from the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers. This award recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in caring for the environment, their livestock and being good neighbors. It is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.