Honoring a good neighbor
By KRISS NELSON
Farm News staff writer
NEWELL – It wasn’t just Dave Kier’s volunteer effort to assist his neighbors following a tornado last spring that resulted in him receiving a state award, but it helped.
On Nov. 4 people gathered at Kiers’ workplace, DFS Inc., in Newell, to show their gratitude and support for the area farmer.
Kier, a turkey producer, of rural Newell, was named November Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award. A luncheon and award ceremony was held in his honor.
“November is a great month to recognize one of Iowa’s many turkey farmers who take great pride in caring for their animals and the land, while also going out of their way to be a good neighbor,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, who presented Kier with his award.
“Steve is a great example of the farmers we have in this state who go above and beyond to care for their communities.”
Northey also spoke to the audience about the benefits of the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award.
“There are good things happening in Iowa livestock production,” said Northey. “There are a lot of good stories that never get told.
“This program has been going for eight years, and we recognize nine different livestock producers each year. The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award gives us a chance to talk about the good of livestock production and agriculture going on throughout Iowa.”
Kier was nominated by his neighbor, Mike Christiansen.
Christiansen said he recommended Kier for the help Kier provided him after the April 9 storm tore through their farming community, and for the exceptional way Kiers cares for his farm and animals.
The tornado caused significant damage in Story County. Christiansen said he noticed Kier voluntarily picking up debris in Christiansen’s fields, which was a big help to him.
“A week or two after the storm, Steve came right over and cleaned up debris. I didn’t even have to ask him for his help,” said Christiansen.
“Kier fits the description of good neighbor well,” Christiansen said, “on how he treats his livestock and keeps his farm neat and picked up.”
Kier started raising turkeys in 1986 to create more diversity in his overall farming operation.
“We didn’t want all of our eggs in one basket,” Kier said, “and it has been a great move. It’s a great industry.”
Kier contracts turkeys with Sara Lee Foods. His operation consists of a brood hub and a finishing site.
In addition to his turkey operation, Kier also raises pigs and row crops, corn and soybeans.
“I have great help and employees,” Kier said.
Currently, one of Kier’s sons-in-law, Ryan Demey, is learning the ropes of the Kier operation, which could help keep the business in the family one day.
Kier said it was overwhelming receiving the state award.
“It’s a little humbling,” he said, “and I’m pretty overwhelmed by it all.
“I don’t feel like I do any more than anyone else. When it came to the storms, everyone helped out and for me to get singled out I will share this award with all of you.”
The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award is made possible through the financial support of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers and is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a longtime radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.
“I am grateful to the coalition for what they bring to the livestock industry,” said Kier. “I would like to thank the coalition for sponsoring the award. They have helped producers and I appreciate what they have done.”
Kier said keeping his farm and livestock operations neat and clean is his way of being a good neighbor.
Leigh Schultz, of Storm Lake, said she has been working for Kier for six years in the brooder hub and assists with daily chores, as well.
“He’s one of the better bosses I have had,” she said. “He’s easy going and very family oriented.”
Contact Kriss Nelson at email@example.com.
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