Secretary Naig to Present the Erlbacher Family with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award

07-27-2023 in Good Farm Neighbor

DES MOINES, Iowa (Jul. 27, 2023) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will present the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to the Erlbacher family during an event at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, August 1. The award presentation will take place at the Dow City American Legion, located at 101 N. Franklin Street, Dow City.

Started in 1881, Erlbacher Farms is a fifth-generation diversified family farm located near Dow City in Crawford County. Today, the farm consists of a cow/calf herd, a calf feeding enterprise, and crop production which includes corn, soybeans, silage and popcorn. The farm is currently operated by Doug Erlbacher and his girlfriend Katie Tremel. They have a four-year-old daughter named Fiona. Doug farmed with his father Charlie Erlbacher until his death in 2020. Though they are not actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the farm, Doug wishes to acknowledge his siblings and his mother Doris Erlbacher.

“Iowa communities of all sizes benefit greatly from farm families like the Erlbachers because of their economic impact and their focus on serving those around them,” said Secretary Naig. “I am pleased to present Doug Erlbacher and his family with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award because of their commitment to conservation, care for their cattle, devotion to their community and contributions to many ag organizations.”

A high standard of animal care is important to the Erlbacher family. They are BQA (Beef Quality Assurance) certified. They are strong believers in maintaining high herd health and achieving good condition scores on all their animals. They have a strong relationship with their herd veterinarian, focus on leading genetic trait selection, and utilize the best ingredients to maintain balanced rations. For health reasons, they are careful not to mix purchased animals with home-raised animals.

The family incorporates proven conservation practices into their farming operation. They utilize buffer strips, filter strips, terraces, no-till, vertical tillage, and apply nitrogen using split-pass to ensure the timely and optimal absorption of nutrients. They have utilized cover crops for two decades, with rye planted after silage harvest. Previously, they’ve also utilized wheat. On years when their cover crops grow well, they serve as excellent forage for grazing.

The Erlbachers are actively involved in the community through the local St. Joseph Catholic Church. Doug also actively participates with the Crawford County Cattlemen and the Crawford County Farm Bureau.

The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is made possible through a partnership with the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) 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.


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


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