The Way We Live Award

The Way We Live Award

The Way We Live Award, sponsored by Pioneer, Iowa Farmer Today and WHO Radio, The Big Show, recognizes Iowa farm families who have demonstrated their dedication to agriculture and strong Iowa farm values. In 2023, The Way We Live Award, in its 15th year of recognizing outstanding farm families, awarded six Iowa families who exemplify hard working farm values and a love for the occupation of farming. So far, The Way We Live Award has been given to 82 well-deserving Iowa families.

See if you know the previous winners and be sure to thank them for their service and dedication to the agriculture industry.

See Previous Winners

2023 Way We Live Award Winners

Forsyth Family Farm, Charles City

The Forsyth family of Charles City has found a variety of ways to be ambassadors for the agriculture industry. Duane, Mark and Joel Forsyth have put in countless hours to care for crops, livestock and their families. All members of the family have contributed to the farming operation. It takes multiple hands to have the farm function successfully. Every member of the Forsyth family has been involved in FFA and is focused on being an advocate for the agriculture industry. The family farms 2,500 acres of row crops, including corn and soybeans, and over 80% of the land that is farmed is family owned. In addition, the farm has had a variety of livestock, ranging from dairy, sheep, beef cattle and pigs. Today, Forsyth Brother Show Pigs has a farrow-to-finish operation with over sixty sows that are bred year-round. The Forsyth Family continues to keep farming values at heart, and they believe that with the power of God’s love, the family business will stay focused on the important things in life.

Forsyth Family Farm

Griffieon Family Farm, Ankeny

Griffieon Family Farm, of Ankeny has been a diversified crop and livestock farm for over 160 years. Dad Craig, mom LaVon and sons Nick and Phil, along with the entire family, take part in teaching others about farming and conservation. The diverse farm includes a cow/calf herd, feeder beef, pasture-raised broiler chickens and turkeys, a flock of sheep, open-air pigs and brown-egg layers, all of which are raised by family members and direct-marketed on-farm at the Griffieon’s shop, at the Ankeny Farmer’s Market and through the Iowa Food Co-op. The Griffieon family takes many opportunities to host local, national and international visitors and to give tours of the farm and media interviews. They recognize the importance of employing conservation practices on the farm, including reshaping their creek banks, planting a riparian buffer and fencing cattle off the banks, installing rocked water crossings for the cattle and dividing pastures into paddocks. The farm uses no-till and minimum tillage practices, as well as cover crops, windbreaks and groves. The Griffieons work to educate Iowans about protecting and preserving Iowa’s legacy of world-class soils, water quality and natural resources.

Griffieon Family Farm

Solsma Family Farm, Sanborn

Although farming is challenging, the Solsma Family of Sanborn, including Jay, Amy, Blake and Claire, loves life on the farm. Amy takes care of the five-acre ‘Solsma Punkin Patch,’ five-acre corn maze and country store that is in operation between Labor Day and Halloween and she sells fireworks in the summer and around Christmas through New Year’s Eve. She helps deliver seed to the field and customers while Jay and Blake farm, care for cattle and manage the Beck’s Hybrid seed dealership duties. Throughout the fall, Amy hosts many school groups and tours at the ‘Punkin Patch.’ During her tours, she explains the process of planting, caring for and harvesting the fall produce. Even though farming can be challenging, the Solsmas love life on the farm.

Solsma Family Farm

Ben, Melia, Tanner and Haley Slinger, Ellsworth

For the Slinger Family of Circle Hill Farms in Ellsworth, each family member plays a major role in the day-to-day efforts of working with turkeys. Their family farm began in the 1940s and now consists of Ben and Melia Slinger, their children Tanner and Haley, Melia’s dad, uncle, cousin and second cousins. Everyone works together as a family to produce a healthy turkey for the consumer. The turkeys raised at Circle Hill Farms go to market at West Liberty Foods and then the turkeys are prepared for restaurants such as Subway. In addition to raising turkeys, Circle Hill Farms also plants corn and soybeans for feed. Ben and Melia love seeing the joy and excitement in their children’s eyes when they want to help with the turkeys, and their goal is to instill the joy of farming and raising turkeys in future generations.

Slinger Family Farm

Brinegar Family Farm, Udell

Passion for agriculture and farming drives the Brinegar Soap-Creek Family Farm in Udell to keep producing and to inspire future generations. The farm consists of growing corn, soybeans and a cow/calf herd. The Brinegar family includes Dale and Alice, son Ryan and his wife, Ashley, and sons Hayden, Landon, Wyatt, Denver and Lincoln. The family takes pride in their cattle by providing quality beef for members of their community. Ryan’s wife, Ashley, gives presentations at the local library about poultry and egg production, and their son Hayden volunteers with the Appanoose County Fair Youth Council to educate and plan fair activities. According to the Brinegars, farming isn’t easy. They said, “It’s not about the money; you don’t get rich, but it’s definitely rewarding to be able to raise our kids in an agriculture lifestyle.”

Brinegar Family Farm

Rector Farms, Denver

Rector Llamas of Denver is the longest continually operating llama farm in the United States. The Rector family’s focus reaches beyond agricultural and livestock production to bring agritourism to Bremer County. Their goal is to educate people about farm life, agriculture and respect for animals. The Rector family has farmed for 150 years, producing soybeans, corn, oats and alfalfa hay, dairy, cattle and hogs. Bill and Dena Rector diversified the family farm operations with exotic animals in the 1960s and purchased their first llamas in 1968. Over the years, their family would gather to show llamas at the Iowa State Fair and their grandchildren still enjoy the annual tradition of showing and camping. Llamas have kept the family’s bond alive, as they are able to connect through their shared experiences and agricultural purposes.

Rector Family Farms

Award Sponsor


Media Sponsor

WHO The Big Show

Media Sponsor

Iowa Farmer Today