Preston Family Recognized as First Good Farm Neighbor Recipients in Kossuth County

07-21-2023 in Good Farm Neighbor

SWEA CITY, IOWA – July 21, 2023 – Located on the outskirts of Swea City, Iowa, is Preston Farms, a four-generation family farm that grows corn, soybeans, and alfalfa along with maintaining a cow/calf herd.

The farm was established in 1948 by Virgil and Marjorie Preston, today the farm is primarily operated by their son Paul and his wife Jane Preston. Paul and Jane’s grandchildren are now the fourth generation of Preston Farms.

The Prestons generational efforts of caring for their land, livestock and community earned them the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, presented the family the award on July 10 at the Preston’s farm.

“We are recognizing one farm, one family today, but everyone else is here because of your connection to them somehow. Whether it be a business who supports this farm, or someone impacted by this family,” said Secretary Naig.

Paul and Jane’s two sons, Jared and Chad operate and care for the cow/calf herd. Both are Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified and work closely with their veterinarian to ensure their cattle remain healthy. Hoop buildings have been built on the farm to protect cattle from the weather during calving.

Conservation practices allow the family to care for their land. They incorporate buffer strips and waterways in their fields. The use of rye cover crops on their corn sileage acres gives the family another feed source while upholding soil structure.

Community involvement and teaching the youth about agriculture is another reason the Prestons were nominated for this award by Trae Hestness, a regional manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau. Paul serves on the local district drainage committee and the entire family is involved in the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Swea City. They are also members of the Kossuth County Farm Bureau, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and North Central Iowa Ag in the Classroom.

The family’s involvement with Ag in the Classroom has allowed youth to learn about Iowa agriculture. The “Adopt-A-Cow” program was first introduced by Sara Preston, Jared’s wife. This program lets second graders ‘adopt’ a cow during the school year and learn about the livestock care farmers are committed to. At the end of the school year the students visit the Prestons farm and get to see first-hand what they learned from Sara throughout the school year.

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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