Kerns Family Receives Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award

02-12-2018 in Awards

Taylor county farmers Steve & Becky Kerns received the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award during the Iowa Pork Congress on January 24, 2018. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey proudly presented the Kerns family with the award in recognition of their dedication to livestock, the land, and love for community.

As a leader in swine genetic improvement, the Kerns family has cemented themselves in the pork industry. Located in Clearfield, Iowa, Kerns Farms was founded in 1966 as a 4-H project raising Landrace hogs. Further expansion helped the Kerns broaden their operation to welcome Berkshire, Mangalitsa, and other swine breeds.

Community Involvement

The Kerns’ love for community goes far beyond farm boundaries. Becky served 19 years on the Clearfield Community School Board. When Kindergarten through sixth grade attendance numbers began to decline, Becky knew it was time to act. She was instrumental in improving student well-being, and orchestrated the process to allow students school choice once reaching the seventh grade.

Steve guided the Iowa Pork Producers Association as President in 2005. However, when looking back on years of service to various boards and committees, Steve said his most challenging appointment was on the I-CASH (Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety & Health) board at the University of Iowa. “I was looked at as an unwelcome outsider on that committee. At the time, several of the University of Iowa staff thought that hog production was the worst thing we could do for Iowa. I had to give them a different perspective, and counteract a lot of the false information that they had.”

Genetic Improvement

Outside of the farm and community, the Kerns strive to provide a pork product worthy of white linen restaurant chefs and high-end clients. By incorporating the Mangalitsa breed into the herd, countless doors have opened for Kerns Farms. In addition to breeding hogs for production efficiency, the Kerns have moved toward also breeding hogs to improve meat quality. The Mangalitsa breed is known for its high-marbling and good, old-fashioned pork flavor. By utilizing Berkshires, and now Mangalitsas, Kerns Farms is on the cutting edge of high-end pork.

With the strides that Steve, Becky, and their two sons are making in the pork industry, there is no question why the Kerns family received the January 2018 Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award. “Raising families on the farm is by far the best way to raise children,” said Steve. “It gives them so many responsibilities and teaches them so many facts about life.”

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 awarded to Iowa farm families who raise 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, visit www.supportfarmers.com/goodfarmneighbor or contact Gabby Glenister at 515-225-5526 or gglenister@supportfarmers.com.

The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers was created more than 10 years ago by farmers to help farmers raise livestock responsibly and successfully. It’s a partnership involving the Iowa Beef Industry Council, 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.

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