Seven Iowa farm families will be recognized as recipients of the 2022 Way We Live Award at the Iowa State Fair. Nominations included a description of how living on a farm and choosing the occupation of farming has shaped the family's life. These families exemplify farm values derived from hard work and love of farming.
The Way We Live Award is sponsored by Pioneer, with media sponsors Iowa Farmer Today and the WHO Big Show. The award, in its 14th year, has recognized 76 outstanding Iowa farm families. Each award winning family receives a prize package of $250, complimentary admission tickets, free parking, various coupons and recognition in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center during the Fair, along with an overnight hotel stay at the Holiday Inn Downtown Mercy Campus.
Wiese & Sons
Thursday, August 11 at 11:45 a.m. – Anne and Bill Riley Stage
Five generations of the Wiese Family of Manning, Iowa, have made the commitment to raise "Good Doin'" Hereford cattle. Since 1912, the family has raised registered Hereford seedstock. Today, Dave Wiese and family, including wife Diana, son Chance, daughter-in-law Kelsey, son Shayne and daughter-in-law Katie, manage over 350 registered Hereford females on 2000+ acres in Carroll and Guthrie County. The operation's primary focus is the raising and development of practical Hereford seedstock genetics through educated breeding decisions. All members of the family are involved in the operation and believe it is essential to learn a vast array of skills. All are active in a variety of roles in hopes of bettering the Hereford industry, such as being involved in the Iowa Hereford Breeders Association, Carroll County Cattlemen Association, Iowa Beef Breeds Council, ICA Cow/Calf Committee and 4-H. The Wiese family understands that over time cattle will come and go, but it is the land that will be here and every day they must do their part to preserve the soils and water quality for the next generation.
ET Livestock (Steve & Eric Taylor)
Friday, August 12 at 11:45 a.m. - Anne and Bill Riley Stage
The Taylor Family, of Bouton, Iowa, are a multi-generational farm family dating back to 1941. The family has always been diversified between livestock and row crops and uses modern practices to raise a wholesome crop. The Taylors raise show lambs and goats for FFA and 4-H members across the nation – Steve & Eric have focused their livestock operation on higher valued animals by doing more with less. Farming is a tradition for the family, and Steve raised son Eric with the same agricultural values and goals he was taught. Family vacations often included going to the county fair, State Fair or a sheep show. The Taylors enjoy not only watching the animals go out and succeed in the show ring but seeing how the animal helps the kids grow and learn values that they will carry throughout their lives.
Friday, August 12 at 11:45 a.m. - Anne and Bill Riley Stage
Doug and Donna Roth of Hilltop Dairy, Inc., Wayland, Iowa, operate a Holstein dairy, milking about 200 cows and raising all of their own heifers on the farm. Doug is the third generation on the farm and sells their milk to Prairie Farms Dairy in Quincy, Illinois. Just one of a handful of dairy farmers in Washington County, Doug has adjusted his farming methods in order to keep the farm going for the next generation. His family works on the farm alongside him. His wife Donna has helped with milking, feeding calves, raising kids and making meals; daughter Madison returned home from Iowa State University to farm full time with her dad. Sons David and Phillip feed calves and milk a few times a week in between their busy high school schedules. Doug also has several employees that help with milking, chores, cleaning and more. Doug has always worked hard in his 35 years of dairy farming and makes ethical decisions to keep the family farm in business. He has taught his kids how important agriculture is for the world to survive, how to take care of what they've been given and how hard work can make all the difference.
Saturday, August 13 at 11:45 a.m. – Anne and Bill Riley Stage
In 1867, Henry C. Miller purchased 160 acres of land in Beaman, Iowa. Over the past 150 years, the Miller farm has always revolved around livestock production. Brothers Malcom and Hank Miller focused on cattle feeding and hog production from 1970-2020. The farm, now operated by Malcom's daughter Jen and her husband Brian Feldpausch, focuses on a beef cattle herd and registered Boer goats. Jen and Brian's children, Abby, Nick and Will have active roles on the farm; they are all involved in 4-H and FFA and show multiple species of livestock at the Grundy County Fair and the Iowa State Fair. Nick takes care of a commercial hog site with his dad Brian and Will updates followers on his Boer goats via his YouTube channel. The love of the farm, agriculture and animals comes naturally to these kids by watching their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles' hard work and dedication to this way of life.
Saturday, August 13 at 11:45 a.m. - Anne and Bill Riley Stage
The Rick and Jane Juchems Family, of Plainfield, Iowa, take pride in being good stewards of the land and water. They raise corn and soybeans on six hundred acres of land using conservation practices such as cover crops, minimum and no-till, filter strips, prairie strips, grassed waterways, terraces, shallow waters areas and wind breaks. A portion of their land has been farmed by Jane's family for over 100 years. Rick and Jane also custom feed hogs for the Juhl-Aronson partnership. Their children, Elizabeth and Nathanial, grew up on the farm and Nathanial continues to help out today, with IT, financial and surveillance support. Elizabeth works as a conservation and cover crop outreach specialist with Iowa Learning Farms. Elizabeth and Nathanial are proud to have grown up on the farm and love the opportunity for their children to have a taste of it when they visit.
Sunday, August 14 at 11:45 a.m. - Anne and Bill Riley Stage
Roger and Ann Vorthmann of Vorthmann Limousin, grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa, pasture and cover crops on their farm in Treynor, Iowa. They also have a herd of registered Limousin and Lim-Flex cattle from which they sell seedstock bulls, show heifers, bred females and a few steers. The Vorthmanns are members of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Pottawattamie County Cattlemens, Founder Lifetime member of Heartland Limousin Association, West Pottawattamie Farm Bureau, WESTFAIR and support the Iowa Corn Growers and Iowa Soybean Association. Roger and Ann are currently transitioning the farming operation to daughter Deb and her husband George Miller. Daughter Erica helps the farming operation by creating ad designs, building the sale catalog, creating videos for YouTube, grooming sale cattle, organizing and clerking private treaty sales and updating kids' shirt sizes and names. Son Chad maintains the Vorthmann Limousin website as well as helping before the fall Private Treaty Sale, and his wife helps with food and hospitality. Growing up on the farm while raising crops and livestock has taught the Vorthmanns about life, death, responsibility, nurturing and caring for animals, joy, sadness and every possible emotion, especially humbleness and being proud of their farm.
Frese Family (CNJ Farms)
Friday, August 19 at 11:45 a.m. - Anne and Bill Riley Stage
For Nate Frese, a fifth generation farmer and former professional baseball player of Norway, Iowa, and wife, Niki, kids Maddux, Micah and Halle, it has always been about the love of agriculture and getting back to the farm. After moving back to the farm in 2017, Niki was reminded of her love for farm life and it became her passion to start an Agriculture Education and FFA program for her kids' school district. In the fall of 2020, the Prairie FFA Chapter and Agriculture Education department was founded. CNJ Farm operations incudes Nate's parents, John and Linda Frese, and brother Chris Frese and family. The farm raises corn, soybeans and hay along with a cow/calf herd and finishes their own feeder calves. The day-to-day operation of Frese Farms (CNJ Farms) is never the same and always changing, depending on the season. Everyone adjusts their schedules for the jobs that need done and pitches in to make it happen. At the end of the day what everyone enjoys most is time with family, neighbors and friends.
For more information on past award winners or the current 2022 Way We Live Award winning families, visit https://www.iowastatefair.org/participate/the-way-we-live-award.