Wells family from Van Buren County named Good Farm Neighbor Award winner

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For Immediate Release: Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018


Award to be presented Sept. 26 at the Wells Farm in Milton

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced that Wells family from Van Buren County has been named the winner of the Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award.

Paul and Jayne Wells started farming on Paul's family farm in 1966. Their son Jason now manages the farm and his sons McKane and Mylo are also involved in the operation.

They have an organic dairy farm which consists of about 900 certified organic acres.  In addition they rent another 400 acres on which they raise conventional row crops. The family raises corn, soybeans, oats, forage sorghum, triticale, alfalfa and pasture.

“This multi-generation farm family is a deserving recipient of the Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award for their commitment to environmental stewardship, animal care and community involvement,” Naig said. “This award is an opportunity to recognize livestock farmers like the Wells family that add so much to our state and rural communities.”

Naig will present the award to the family on Wednesday, Sept. 26.  The ceremony will be at the family’s machine shed, 14658 252nd St., Milton. The “Big Show,” which airs on both WHO and WMT radio, will broadcast live from the presentation from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The family was nominated for the award by the Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative Board of Directors and highlighted the family’s commitment environmental stewardship, animal husbandry and community involvement.

To protect the environment, the family uses numerous conservation practices including cover crops, terraces, rotational grazing, and others. Soils are routinely tested and the results are used to guide nutrient applications.

The Wells family use sand bedding and rotational grazing for dairy cows, weather permitting. Baby calves are cared for in individual huts to protect them from weather and illness. As a result of all of their efforts, the family’s dairy herd has received a milk quality award for each of the last 24 years.

In addition to their work on the farm, the family is very active in the community. Paul has served as a Director of Southern Iowa Electric Coop for 21 years and is currently the Vice President. He is also a member of the Iowa State Dairy Association, Practical Farmers of Iowa and numerous other organizations.  The family is also very active in Milton Christian Church.

The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, made possible through the financial support of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in doing things right. This includes caring for the environment and their livestock and being good neighbors. It is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.

Anyone interested in nominating their neighbor for the award should write a letter or e-mail explaining why their neighbor should receive this designation.  Applications may be submitted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Attn: Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, Henry A. Wallace Building, Des Moines, IA 50319 or emailed to Communications@iowaAgriculture.gov.


For more information, contact Dustin Vande Hoef, (515) 281-3375 or (515) 326-1616 (cell) or Dustin.VandeHoef@IowaAgriculture.gov