Steve Dolch and Family Honored as Good Farm Neighbors in Montgomery County

09-22-2023 in Good Farm Neighbor

ANKENY, IOWA – September 22, 2023 – For over 50 years, Steve Dolch and family have demonstrated their commitment to their land, their livestock, and their community. In recognition of their progressive farming efforts, the Dolch family, of Montgomery County were awarded the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award on Friday, September 15th.

The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, sponsored by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, is given to Iowa livestock farmers who raise livestock successfully and responsibly, care for their land, and are involved in their community. The award is an opportunity to tell the story of livestock farming in Iowa and highlight the families who make it so successful.

“We are going to honor a family today because of the things that they’ve done and the way they’ve done them,” Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture said as he presented the family with the award during a ceremony at the Iowa FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny. “The award is about doing the right things in your livestock operation, doing the right things for the land, and being very involved in the community. This is a commitment made over time not just overnight.”

In 1972, Steve and his brother Vince established Dolch Brothers LLC after they finished college. The multi-generational family farm is still operating to this day in Villisca, Iowa where the family raises an Angus cow/calf herd, operates a small feedlot, and farms 1300 acres of land that is used for pasture or crops.

Steve and Linda are the proud parents of four children, Matthew, Michael, Marshall, and Mikayla. Matthew and his wife, Dana, have two children. Marshall and his wife, Adelai, have one daughter. All four of the Dolch children are employed in agriculture and have all served as Iowa FFA state officers, the only family in Iowa to have all four children hold such positions.

Caring for their livestock is a top priority for the family. Steve is BQA (beef quality assurance) certified. The operation utilizes tree shades in the feedlot to shade cattle from abnormal heat and fence line feed bunks. All calves receive care within 24 hours of birth and follow medicine withdrawal times for all market cattle to ensure safe beef for consumers.

The Dolch family also prioritizes caring for their land. They incorporate conservation practices on their cropland such as minimum to no-till practices, plant rye as a cover crop, use grass border strips, built parallel bench terraces, and drainage tiling. They also use precision technology to apply fertilizer, crop protection, and lime. The family was also one of the first farms in Montgomery County to be involved in the Hacklebarney Watershed First Land Treatment Initiative for the State of Iowa in 1984.

Community involvement is also an essential part of the family’s history. The family was selected as Farm Family of the Year in Montgomery County in 2019. Steve is currently on the board of the Montgomery County Farm Bureau and is a member of the Iowa Soybean Association. He also served on the Iowa FFA Alumni Association Board, an organization he is very fond of and has been a part of since 1964. He was also a past board member of the Mills-Montgomery Cattlemen’s Association with his family volunteering at the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters at the Iowa State Fair for 28 years. Steve’s other community involvement has included Villisca/Stanton Cooperative, Boy Scouts, Ag in the Classroom, East Ridge Estates I Condo Association in Atlantic, American Red Cross, and Air Force ROTC. The family attends the First Church of Christ in Atlantic.

The Dolch Family thanked and gives credit to the people and organizations who guided and assisted them throughout the family’s 50 years of farming.

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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