09-03-2021 in Article
By Taylor Lekin, 2021 CSIF Communications Intern
As the CSIF intern, I spent the summer traveling across the state of Iowa meeting with agriculturalists from a variety of different backgrounds. Whether it be at a trade show, a Good Farm Neighbor Award event or the shooting of a promotional video, the people I have met this summer have impacted my life in so many ways. However, as tempting as it is to say that the people I met were the best part of being the CSIF intern, there was one message that became quite the theme throughout the entirety of my adventures. A characteristic that I will always strive to possess and a life lesson that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
The beauty of the agriculture industry is its uniqueness, no two farmers run their operation in the same way. While this is something that I had already picked up from years of growing up surrounded by agriculture here in central Iowa, the one common denominator between everyone I met is not surprising or unexpected – they were humble.
A few of the qualifications for Good Farm Neighbor Award recipients are exceptional animal husbandry, land stewardship and community involvement. Upon meeting with each of the recipients this year, it was not hard to identify why these farmers had been chosen for this award.
When asking each of the recipients to elaborate more on their work in each of the three categories, it was typical to get the initial response of ‘oh you know, we do the typical things.’ Once they were given a little more time to share with us what that meant, I was always amazed but the extraordinary practices that they implement on their farm to be good stewards of the land or the organizations they have been involved in to give back to their community.
Two farmers that almost immediately come to mind when thinking about this: Mike Bates of Washington County and Eric Weber of Audubon County. While meeting with Mike Bates I was fascinated when I heard that all the turkey buildings that he once managed, and most of his farm and home, were completely solar powered and that he has spent many summers volunteering abroad with Water For Life, working to provide others around the world with a safe and local water source. I was also inspired listening to Eric Weber talk about his volunteer work with the local youth sports programs and True Impact Outdoors, a non-profit helping disabled military veterans and first responders get active and enjoy the outdoors.
One of my favorite experiences in life is getting to see the way that others light up when talking about the things they are passionate about, and this summer with CSIF only solidified that. I will truly never be able to express my gratitude for the opportunity to spend my summer with the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, getting to know and learn from Iowa farmers that make me so proud to call Iowa and the agriculture industry home.
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