Walcott hog farmers receive ‘Wergin Good Farm Neighbor’ Award

Walcott hog farmers receive ‘Wergin Good Farm Neighbor’ Award

A Walcott-area farm family was presented with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award today in a ceremony on the family farm.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey presented the award to Kent and Marcia Paustian and Kent’s brother, Ross, who are all actively involved in the farming business, as well as Ross’s son, Tom, and Kent’s son, Mike, and his wife, Amy.

“The Paustian family does a great job raising livestock while also caring for the land and serving their community.  It is my honor to help recognize this family. They are another wonderful example of the livestock farms all across Iowa that add so much to our state and local communities,” Northey said.

The Paustians have a thousand-sow farrow-to-finish hog operation and the family markets 22,000 head of pigs annually. They also raise corn and soybeans that they use to supply feed to the hogs. All of their feed is milled on the farm.

In addition to their work on the farm, the family is very active in the local community and in ag industry groups. Ross Paustian is currently serving in the Iowa House of Representatives and Mike Paustian serves on the Iowa Pork Producers Association Board of Directors.

The family was nominated for the award by Will Moon with the Iowa 80 Group. The Paustian’s farm is located next to the “World’s Largest Truck Stop” that has more than two million customers a year and is operated by the Iowa 80 Group.

“The Paustian family realizes the value of sustainability for their farm,” Moon said in nominating the family for the award. “They have established many conservation practices on their farm. They have seeded buffer strips around creeks, used grass waterways to control erosion, established headland buffer strips on hills and have planted cover crops the last four years.

“The family’s hog sites are very well kept. The sites are routinely mowed and have grass buffer strips around them. They plant trees around the barns and the family places special consideration in siting by locating the barns back off the road and away from neighbors.”

In closing his nomination Moon added, “The Paustian family farm is 1,600 feet from our corporate office. We don’t notice the farm. I receive all the complaint cards from our customers and have never received a complaint card about odors from a livestock farm. We are proud to be a family based business and recognize the importance of family businesses like the Paustians.”

WHO Radio’s “Big Show” broadcast live from the Paustian farm during the event.

The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award, made possible through the financial support of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in doing things right. This includes caring for the environment and their livestock and being good neighbors. It is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.

Anyone interested in nominating their neighbor for the award should write a letter or e-mail explaining why their neighbor should receive this designation. Applications may be submitted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Attn: Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, Henry A. Wallace Building, Des Moines, IA 50319 or e-mailed to Communications@iowaAgriculture.gov.