Six Iowa farm families will be honored as recipients of The Way We Live Award at the 2013 Iowa State Fair. Each family will be recognized for their love of the land and the product they produce in award ceremonies during the Fair. "Nothing Compares" to the Iowa State Fair, August 8-18.
The Way We Live Award recognizes industrious Iowa families who demonstrate a daily dedication to animal agriculture and exemplify farm values derived from hard work and a love for the occupation of farming. Entrants were asked to submit a short essay describing how living on a farm and choosing the occupation of farming has shaped their family’s life. Six recipients of the award were chosen from a pool of 64 entries representing a variety of commodities and locations throughout Iowa.
Each family will receive a prize package including $250 cash, Fair admission tickets, free parking, Fair food tickets, and recognition in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center during the Fair. The Way We Live Award is sponsored by WHO NewsRadio 1040 and Tractor Supply Company.
Anderson Family - Boone
Dale and Kay Anderson’s 120-acre century farm has been in the family for five generations. The family raises corn, soybeans, oats, alfalfa and a 150-head cow-calf herd. Their farmland spans five different farms all within six miles of each other. Dale is the only full-time, stay-at-home farmer in the area. Their son, Axel, and daughter, Laura Loots, followed in their footsteps and now work alongside their parents caring for the cattle and crops.
Boyle Family - Danbury
Duane and Mindy Boyle, his high school sweetheart and wife of 13 years, have managed to not only maintain their small, independent farm but also continue to grow and diversify it. Despite difficult times, the Boyles, along with their three children, Carter (13), Madison (12) and Mya (5), currently farm 600 acres, 460 of which they own themselves, and 100 additional acres to tend to each summer. Duane has developed a thirst for animal husbandry, and he now has 90 head of stock cows, 30 head of ewes, 100 head of sow farrow-to-finish operation and 120 head of cattle. Duane also grinds his own feed for all his livestock, feeding out 120 head of feeder calves, 50 head of market lambs and 1,200 head of market hogs each year.
Metzger Family - Lester
Rodney and Polly Metzger’s family continues to grow, with five children and 500-plus Jersey cows, heifers, calves and bulls. Their children, Emma (23), Vance (21), Eric (18), Neil (16) and Toby (14), were all active in 4-H and FFA when they were younger and had an assortment of jobs around the farm, whether it was bottle feeding the lambs, searching for chicken eggs or fattening up the runt pigs. After high school, Emma went to college for Dairy Science and returned to the dairy farm, wanting the lifestyle she grew up with. Vance works full-time on the farm, and Eric, Neil and Toby all plan to be involved with the farm after graduation.
Pellett Family - Atlantic
Brad and Kristy Pellett are sixth-generation farmers in Cass County who found love at the 1996 Iowa State Fair. Kristy, from California, worked as a Barn Tour guide for the Fair, and Brad worked as an Assistant Beef Superintendent. After graduating from California Poly Tech in agriculture, Kristy moved to Iowa and they were married a year later. Brad graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Animal Science and then returned to his family farm in Atlantic with his father and brother. They farm 2,400 acres of corn, soybeans and alfalfa, feed out 400 head of cattle and have a 100 head cow-calf operation, which is the sole responsibility of Brad. Their three children, Connor (12), Caroline (10) and Claire (7), all help out on the farm, checking, feeding and caring for the cows and calves.
Seyb Family - Donnellson
Dennis and Liza Seyb not only run their family farm but promote farming, too. Dennis’s great grandfather began the farm and then passed it down to his two sons, Darrell and Harvey. Darrell’s sons, Dennis and Doug, are third-generation farmers, with their three sisters, Karen, Pam and Karla, who maintain a strong connection and love of the farm. Dennis and Liza now operate this diversified family farm: a cow-calf heard of 85 cows, farrow-to-finish 90 sows, corn, soybeans, hay and pasture ground. Liza was a "city girl" who came to the farm 35 years ago and has immersed herself in the farm life. Dennis and Liza have two children, Tucker (25) and Hannah (23). Both children were involved with FFA and showing livestock.
Zelle Family - Waverly
Ron and Mary Beth Zelle both grew up on farms in Iowa, Ron in Waverly and Mary Beth in Hampton. In 1987, Ron and Mary Beth were married and made their home in Nashua. When Ron’s father passed away from cancer in 1996, the couple moved their young family to the Waverly farm. Originally purchased in 1934 by Ron’s grandfather, the farm today is a diversified operation, raising sheep and growing corn, soybeans, oats and hay on 300 acres in Bremer County. Their livestock operation consists of 130 ewes that are lambed from late January until early May. Using no-till corn and soybeans, they market their grain through the local cooperative and their hay to local buyers. They run the farm in a sustainable way using soil conservation methods.
For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit www.iowastatefair.org.