Ewoldts Noted as Good Farm Neighbors
There are lots of ways to be a good neighbor, and the Robb and Jennifer Ewoldt family of Davenport have covered most of them.
Writing a bi-monthly newspaper column to explain what’s happening on the farm? Check. Demonstrating ways to use quality assurance standards in handling animals? Check. Installing edge-of-field water quality practices? Check.
Hosting a Picnic in the Pasture every year for 300 people? Check. Practicing erosion control on fields with a variety of practices? Check. Volunteering their time for local and state ag groups? Check.
These activities to promote good neighbor-to-neighbor relations is a key component of showing not only responsible livestock production, but the character and commitment of the farmers who do that work. The Ewoldts were honored in early July with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, which is coordinated by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers and the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship.
“We’re involved in promotion and telling our story because we’re only 2 percent of the population…but everyone gets to vote,” said Robb Ewoldt. If people are voting on agricultural issues, Ewoldt says his family is working to make sure the farmer voice is heard in a positive way.
Jennifer, who is a DVM at a small animal clinic, may be the most recognizable person in the family if you talked to the nearly 400,000 people in the greater Quad Cities area. She writes a column for the local paper that talks about what they are doing on the farm and in their farm life (4-H projects, anyone?). She’s been doing that for more than 10 years. Jennifer’s columns were so popular, the Quad City Times took 50 of the columns and several farm photos and published a book.
She’s not the only publish-worthy member of the family. Children Alex and Issac were featured in a children’s book called “My Soybean Farm” for the Ag in the Classroom publishing project.
And the weekend before the Good Neighbor Award was made, the family hosted their 10th annual Picnic in the Pasture, an open house for families and the community to come out and see and experience a farm first hand. Machinery, animals and working displays about agriculture are all available for some hands-on activities by those who come for the free event.
Robb has been just as open with his farmer neighbors. “Like my parents, I try to lead by example,” Robb said. Robb planted cover crops and was always open to answering questions from curious neighbors, as well as custom renting his equipment so they can give the practice a try on their own farms before making any big investments.
The Ewoldts have cattle and horses, along with a 2400-head wean-finish barn where they feed pigs for Eichelberger Farms.
“We like being diversified in our farm operation,” Robb said. “It really makes sense for us to have cattle for our land that is best in forages and pasture. And custom-feeding hogs has helped us generate dollars to help build investments in other areas of the farm.”