Secretary Naig Honors the Schmidt Family with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award

01-24-2024 in Good Farm Neighbor

DES MOINES, Iowa (Jan. 24, 2024) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig presented the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to the Schmidt Family of Hancock County today during a ceremony at the Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines.

Schmidt Family Farms, which was designated as a Century Farm in 2011, is owned and operated by brothers Jamie and his wife Beth Schmidt and Lonnie and his wife Christine Schmidt of rural Garner. The multi-generational family farm also consists of the Schmidt brothers’ parents, LuVerne and Mary Ann, as well as the next generation, including Lonnie and Christine’s children Adam and his wife Victoria and Leah and her husband Mark Reinert as well as Jamie and Beth’s daughter Brianna. Jamie and Beth are also the parents of two other daughters, Stephanie and her family from Houston, TX, and Brittney and her husband from Moline, IL. The farm also has three dedicated long-time employees.

“The Schmidts not only take great pride in caring for their livestock while protecting our natural resources, but they also give generously of their time and talents to serve their neighbors and community,” said Secretary Naig. “I’m pleased to present the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to the Schmidt Family, and it’s only fitting that they receive the award while at the Iowa Pork Congress given their decades of dedicated leadership within the industry.”

The Schmidt Family farms 3,800 acres of corn and soybeans with a farrow-to-finish swine operation consisting of 850 sows. They have raised hogs for more than four decades and market around 18,000 hogs annually. They also feed approximately 600 cattle and are both Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) and Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) certified.

In 2016, the Schmidt Family Farm was recognized as an Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award recipient for their work in conservation. In addition to using filter strips, utilizing minimum tillage when incorporating manure, and leaving crop residue for soil health, they also incorporate practices and technology to mitigate odor from their barns. To maximize productivity, all of their fields are grid sampled using innovative technology to analyze the nutrient needs of each acre. This precision technology allows crop nutrient application and seeding to be completed according to prescription recommendations.

The family is active in their community, including in numerous leadership roles within their church. Jamie and Beth have been co-chairs of Klemme Ag Days. Beth has been a teacher for over 20 years and the farm has hosted Ag in the Classroom continuing education classes for teachers. Lonnie was a member of the Hancock County Fair Board, while Christine served as a 4-H leader and the family financially supports the county fair auction. They have also hosted 4-H students on the farm to provide hands-on learning about swine production.

Jamie has been active in both state and local ag organizations, including as a former President of the Iowa Pork Producers Association and as a past chairman of Ag State. Jamie and Lonnie are both members of the Hancock County Pork Producers and actively participate in county, state and national pork promotions. Jamie has also been a voting delegate at the National Pork Industry Forum, a past president of the Hancock County Farm Bureau and voting delegate, a member of the Hancock County Cattlemen’s Association, the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Soybean Association.

The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is made possible through a partnership with the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF), The Big Show on WHO Radio and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Now in its 20th year, this award recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in caring for the environment and their livestock while also being good neighbors. It is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.

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About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 14 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land and enhance water quality for the next generation. Learn more at iowaagriculture.gov.

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