Rock Rapids, Iowa — Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig presented the Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to the Metzger family from Lyon County on Friday, June 24th.
The ceremony was held at the Forster Community Center in Rock Rapids.
Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says that the Metzgers are a multi-generation farm family that showcases how the values of livestock farmers are passed on from one generation to the next. He says that they do an outstanding job caring for their animals and protecting the environment while also serving their neighbors and being leaders in their community. Northey says it was his honor to help recognize the Metzger family with this award.
Marv and Joleen Metzger, Dana and Kary Metzger, Reed Metzger, Brett and Melissa Metzger and Evan and Kristi Metzger, and their families, operate Multi-Rose Jerseys dairy farm. The farm was established in the 1940s by Jacob Metzger, Marv’s father. On the farm they milk approximately 1350 cows and raise dairy calves and heifers. The family also raise hogs from wean to finish and raise crops on approximately 1,800 acres.
Northey says that conservation is priority for the family and they have built terraces and use contour planting. They have also adopted precision farming tools to increase productivity while better protecting the land for future generations. They also designed and built dairy barns to most effectively manage manure so that it can be stored and the nutrients used as fertilizer for crop production. Slatted floor freestall barns for the dairy allow all manure to be captured in 12-foot pits and then applied as fertilizer to field.
The Metzgers have also been active in a number of community and agricultural organizations over the years. The family hosts many tours at the dairy, including the annual June Dairy Month open house for Western Iowa Dairy Alliance in 2013. About 1500 people visited the farm to learn about modern dairy farming as part of that event. In addition, Evan Metzger is on the board of directors of Western Iowa Dairy Alliance, currently serving as Vice President. Marv has also served on the local Lyon County Dairy Association for 10+ years and continues to promote Dairy by leasing out ice cream machines throughout the Tri-State Area each year.
The family was nominated Matt Schelling, who is president of the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance, saying: “They are a great example of a farm family that tries to do a lot of ‘little things’ right, and over time, all those ‘little things’ add up to making a big difference for their farm, their community and their environment.”
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 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 emailed to Communications@iowaAgriculture.gov.