Secretary Naig to Present the Schleisman Family with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award
07-05-2023 in Good Farm Neighbor
DES MOINES, Iowa (Jul. 5, 2023) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will present the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to the Schleisman family during an event at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 7, at their family farm located at 1532 365th Street, Lake City.
M&M Farms, established in 1997, is a diversified family farm owned and operated by Mark and Melissa Schleisman. The couple has help from their two sons Matthew and Landon and daughter Brandy and her husband Colby. Mark’s father Larry, his uncles Jim and Jerry, and farm employee Jacob are also actively involved. Mark and Melissa also have three other daughters and a son-in-law who are not actively involved in the farm but help seasonally and as needed. They are also the parents of a son, Luke, who is deceased.
The Schleismans own a 320 head cow-calf herd. They buy weaned feeder pigs and after feeding them to market weight, sell approximately 34,000 hogs per year. They specialize in popcorn production and grow 1,700 acres of popcorn and popcorn seed each year. Mark also sells popcorn seed internationally for ConAgra Foods. They also grow 3,200 acres of corn and soybeans and 100 to 200 acres of small grains and forages.
“From popcorn and pigs to cover crops and cattle, this multi-generational family farm not only showcases the diversity of Iowa agriculture but also demonstrates a strong commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Secretary Naig. “For their service to their community and neighbors and their involvement in Iowa agriculture, I am pleased to present the Schleisman family with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award.”
Animal care is a top priority for the Schleismans. Mark, Colby, Matthew, Landon and Jacob are all PQA (Pork Quality Assurance) certified and TQA (Transportation Quality Assurance) certified. Mark, Colby, and Matthew are also BQA (Beef Quality Assurance) certified. Three years ago, they built a calving barn that allows them to calve all 320 cows and heifers indoors during inclement weather.
The Schleismans incorporate proven conservation practices into all elements of their operation. They utilize grass waterways, filter strips, pollinator habitat, pheasant and upland bird habitat, food plots, terraces, bioreactors, saturated buffers, wetlands and water reuse for nutrient management. No-till or strip-till are used on all their crop acres. They started using cover crops 13 years ago and now implement the practice on all their crop acres. Their seed mixture is a combination of rye, oats and brassica. In 2017, they received an Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award and have previously received regional and national conservation legacy awards from the American Soybean Association.
In addition to running their operation, the Schleismans are very involved in their community. Mark served three terms on the Southern Calhoun / South Central Calhoun School Board and is currently a member of the St. Mary’s Church finance council. He is a past Calhoun County Pork Producers board member and currently serves on the Calhoun County Farm Bureau board. Mark also serves on the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s Environmental Committee and is a member of Practical Farmers of Iowa, where he has hosted field days. The family also maintains memberships in the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Soybean Association, American Soybean Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association and National Corn Growers Association.
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 iowaagriculture.gov.
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