Six Iowa Farm Families to be Recognized at the Iowa State Fair
Thursday, July 8, 2010 Des Moines, IA
Six Iowa farm families will be honored as recipients of The Way We Live Award at the 2010 Iowa State Fair. Each family will be honored in an individual award ceremony during the Fair, set for “Non Stop Fun” August 12-22.
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 67entries representing a variety of commodities and locations throughout Iowa.
In addition to being honored in award ceremonies during the Fair, each family will receive a prize package including admission to the Fair and $150 cash.
The Balvanz Family
From the beginning, Chuck and Carol Balvanz had no doubts that their future would involve life on their family’s century farm, saying that “farming chose us.” While maintaining their family farming operation, they have weathered the storms of a challenging economy, Carol’s six-month battle with breast cancer, and a horse accident that resulted in a broken pelvis and two recent hip replacements for Chuck. They’ve learned through the years that chores “don’t care if you’re sick or hurt” and that depending on one another and being strong as a family will get you through anything. Chuck and Carol instilled love for horses and animals in both of their children, actively involving Joe and Casey in 4-H showing animals at the county and state fairs for over 15 years. After introducing sheep to the traditional cattle farm as a small child, Casey has decided to make her love of animals a career by pursuing a veterinary degree specializing in large animals from Iowa State University. Chuck and Carol continue to look for new ways to make the best use of their pasture and farm land while setting new goals for the operation and making plans to grow old in their 130-year-old farm house. The family will be honored in an award ceremony on Friday, August 13, at 10:30 a.m. on the Christensen Farms Stage in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center.
The Olson Family
John and Ellen Olson are third generation owner-operators of their diversified crop and livestock farm in Vinton. Their operation finishes approximately 3,000 head of cattle and 5,000 head of hogs while farming approximately 2,500 acres of grain, silage and hay annually. Over the years, they have endured the ups and downs of the marketplace and remained steadfast in their commitment to raising both crops and livestock in a symbiotic relationship that has carried them through many decades of successful farming. In addition, the Olsons have been extremely generous with their time and highly committed to agricultural causes in Benton County. John has served several terms as president of the Benton County Cattlemen’s Association while Ellen is a long-time volunteer 4-H club leader and son Ben serves on the Benton County Extension Council. As a family, they have enjoyed showing beef cattle at the Benton Country Fair, Iowa Beef Expo and the Iowa State Fair for several years. John and Ellen have shared their love for farming with their children, all of whom have graduated in or are pursuing agriculture-related fields at Iowa State University. The family will be honored in an award ceremony on Saturday, August 14, at 10:30 a.m. on the Christensen Farms Stage in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center.
The Pearson Family
The Curt and Angie Pearson family has turned their farming operation into a family affair by giving responsibility to even the youngest of their nine children, all under 16 years old. The Pearson’s operation includes 4,800 pigs while lending a hand in farming over 1,000 acres of corn, alfalfa and soy beans with their extended family in the area. Love for the farm begins at a young age, with the youngest of the children learning to care for four rabbits, while the five oldest children participate in 4-H. Growing up on the farm has instilled in the children the values of teamwork, perseverance, hard work, and happiness. The Pearsons have not been able to attend the Iowa State Fair recently, but have developed a family tradition that illustrates their love for Iowa farmers and for the Fair. Each night during the Fair, they’ve tuned into the highlights show on IPTV while enjoying a variety of home-made treats “on-a-stick,” re-creating the Fair atmosphere that some of the younger children have yet to experience. The family will be honored in an award ceremony on Monday, August 16, at 9 a.m. on the Christensen Farms Stage in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center.
The Pisel Family
Gilmore City, Iowa
In 2009, Kirk and Jolene Pisel expanded their family farming operation to include an in-home meat store that provides quality beef to loyal customers across Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado, Missouri, and California. JoKir’s Wild features farm-raised Black Angus beef, gift baskets, Pantry Packet meal kits, homemade baked goods, noodles, jams, and much more. The Pisel Century Farm and Pisel Family Farm together finish between 200-300 head of Black Angus/Angus Cross cattle and farm approximately 600 acres of diversified crops annually. Opening their own business has required a variety of changes to their cattle operation that have challenged the Pisels while providing a number of opportunities to reach out to the community through the new business. JoKir’s Wild is quickly becoming a household name throughout Humboldt County and through a partnership with Rustix Roadhouse in Humboldt, the demand for Pisel beef continues to increase. Kirk and Jolene remain an active and supportive part of their community by attending area farmers markets, grilling with the local county Cattleman’s Association, and continuing to support their local 4-H club. The family will be honored in an award ceremony on Wednesday, August 18, at 10:30 a.m. on the Christensen Farms Stage in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center.
The Goodman Family
Rose Hill, Iowa
The Goodman Family Dairy Farm has been more than a family business and livelihood for Mark and Linda Goodman and their two adult children, Daniel and Amber. The farm has been their connection to the community, a learning experience, and a source of great love for the family. The Goodmans take pride in promoting the dairy industry throughout Iowa, encouraging kids and adults to stay healthy by making dairy an important part of their meals. They also invite the community to experience and enjoy the farm by hosting farm tours, school field trips, and a dairy breakfast with proceeds donated to the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation. Major family milestones have been celebrated at the farm as well—son Daniel and his wife, DeAnna, were married in the machine shed at the Goodman farm while daughter Amber and husband Shannon hosted their wedding guests at the farm the morning after their ceremony for a tour and pancake breakfast. The Goodman family has shown their love and respect for the animals they care for by exhibiting dairy cattle at the Iowa State Fair for 17 years, and cherish the miracles that take place on their farm every day, adding that, “the best part of the morning is seeing our cows!” The family will be honored in an award ceremony on Thursday, August 19, at 10:30 a.m. on the Christensen Farms Stage in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center.
The Welsh Family
The Welsh Family Farm has been dedicated to land preservation and raising healthy livestock for three generations. Gary and Kim Welsh and their adult son Clinton raise approximately 120 beef cattle and 12,000 turkeys while farming 600 acres of crops in one of Iowa’s leading organic family farming operations. Clinton was honored with the Gen-O Award in 2008 from Organic Valley, a major purchaser of the Welsh’s livestock products. The award recognized his dedication to farming and educating others about organic farming through the open discussion forum he helped found with other area organic farmers. In addition, The Welsh family takes time to give back to their community through their founding of and involvement in the Lansing Blackhawks 4-H Club when their two sons, Clinton and Clayton, were in grade school. Both sons competed several years at county and state fairs, showing animals and further promoting the organic farming lifestyle that is central to this family farm. The family will be honored in an award ceremony on Saturday, August 21, at 10:30 a.m. on the Christensen Farms Stage in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center.
About the Iowa State Fair
The Iowa State Fair is set for “Non Stop Fun” August 12-22, 2010. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit iowastatefair.org.