Henry County Soil Conservationist Receives May Good Neighbor Award

05-24-2006 in Good Farm Neighbor

In 1974, Dick Gholson learned that his father-in-law planned to retire.  He immediately made the decision to take over his Henry County farm and, for 32 years, has managed a diversified enterprise near Mt. Pleasant with his wife, Leona.

The Gholsons could be recognized for their longevity in the crop and livestock business.  They could also be recognized for their love of farming.  However, on a bright, sunny late-spring day, the family was recently recognized for something even more important.  On May 19, Dick and Leona received the Iowa Good Neighbor Award.

The recognition is deserved.  Sarah Durr, a high school student who has lived near the Gholsons for 15 years, nominated the cow-calf farmers for the award.

In her nominating letter, Sarah stated, “…Mr. Gholson is always available when I need to borrow a tractor, stock trailer or head chute.  He answers endless questions about feeding my calves for better weight gain or any health problems that seem to always come up.  He is always willing to stop what he is doing to give me advice or help.”

Dick didn’t really know what to think when he heard he and his wife were selected as a Good Farm Neighbor Award recipient.

“I didn’t know what it all meant,” Gholson confessed when asked about his reaction to the news that he had won the Good Neighbor Award.  “Now that I know what it’s all about, I’m pleased and a little overwhelmed.  I’m really not doing anything special, just doing what neighbors do.”

He is active in many community groups including the Henry County Cattleman’s Association, National Beef Association and the Planning and Zoning Commission of Henry County.  He has also been a member of the Soil Conservation Board since 1972 and has served as the assistant soil conservationist for the past 10 years in Henry County.

Soil conservation has long been a passion of the Gholsons.  Dick is currently converting 45 acres into 14 paddocks for pasturing his cow-calf herd, a project that is scheduled to take three years from start to finish.  He is also planting one acre of tall grass for a ground nesting bird habitat.

“The biggest change that I’ve seen since I started farming is land stewardship,” he said.  “It’s improving a lot thanks to things like conservation tillage.”

Gholson is an agronomy graduate of Iowa State University and his wife is a retired schoolteacher.  They have been married for 53 years, raised five children and have 11 grandchildren.

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