‘Good Neighbor’ award goes to Green family
MILFORD – Dave and Sharee Green agree that they’re just out doing what they do as farmers and cattle producers.
But their efforts to be responsible in what they are doing landed them the Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award at a June 20 ceremony in Milford.
“This award recognizes livestock producers that are setting a great example and doing a great job in their operation all around,” said Mike Naig, Iowa’s deputy secretary of agriculture, who was on hand to present the award to the Green family. “For this operation today, we recognize them for the quality of care they give to their animals from a production standpoint, and how they are protective of the environment.”
Dave Green said he was honored to receive the award.
“I think it’s great, and it’s really nice to (be awarded) here in Dickinson County,” he said. “It can be a challenge with the public’s opinion on livestock mixed with our Great Lakes Region here.”
Dave and Sharee Green farm and operate a permitted 2,200-head feedlot just west of Milford. Their operation features a monoslope building and a manure management plan and total containment system. The MMP is overseen by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Green said the DNR monitors all of their pit fills and they have grid samples taken every four years from fields on which their manure is applied. Those fields are registered on their MMP and the DNR monitors it.
“We contain every drop of manure,” said Green, adding that they work to be especially mindful of it since they live “right on a river,” and in a lakes resort area and on a heavily-traveled blacktop road leading into and out of town. “We try and stay ahead of it rather than (worrying about it after the fact.) This award was for good animal husbandry – it’s just what we do.”
Green said operating a cattle feedlot would be more difficult without the help of his full-time farm associate, Scott Wintz. He also has two on-call associates in Doug and Dustin Schwaller.
Merle Witt, membership coordinator for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association – the organization which nominated the Green family – said the Cattlemen’s Association was happy to be part of the award.
“It’s nice to have producers out there who are doing things right and who are well-liked in the community,” he said. “In this situation theirs is a monoslope building and it’s a deep-bedded monoslope building so he hauls a fair share of manure.”
Witt said Green’s mindfulness in protecting the environment is part of the reason he received this award, since he lives in the Iowa Great Lakes Region, where water protection and water quality is of utmost importance to the tourism industry there.
“You do think twice because we all want clean air and clean water,” said Witt, of the Green family’s production and manure management practices.”
How it began
Gary and Elaine Green said that Dave Green grew up raising cattle and loving the work. Following his high school graduation in 1990, he was just stepping into the business when manure containment and management practices were beginning to be placed under the microscope of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Dave picked up the wheel after Gary stepped back and it was either ‘go with this new program or don’t do it at all,'” said Elaine Green.
Gary Green said he grew up raising cattle as well. He and Elaine moved to Milford from Sioux County in the fall of 1964 where they raised registered Polled Herefords.
They had just under 100 head then and started with a cow/calf operation. A few years later they disbanded the purebred herd and went commercial, having 350 commercial cows at one time.
They eventually built the monoslope and sold the cows and moved forward with feeding cattle.
Today the Greens have 2,200 head of cattle in the feedlot.
“You’d be surprised at the number of times I’ve said to Gary, ‘Wouldn’t your dad just love to see what your boys have done with this operation?'” Elaine Green said.
Gary Green choked up as he talked about what this award means.
“This is really something,” he said. “Elaine and I have been so blessed with our family.”
Elaine Green agreed.
“Nothing feels better than to see your kids follow through and do such a wonderful job to deserve an award like this and be recognized for their work, especially in this county.”
Naig said the Greens reacted to the award just like most other recipients do.
“So many of these folks are very humble and they say, ‘We’re not doing anything extraordinary.'” Naig said. “Dave and Sharee are good producers and are taking good care of things at home, but they’re also engaged in their community.”
There have been 115 Good Farm Neighbor awards given since the program began in 2003.
The Green family consists of Dave and Sharee Green and their daughters – Kendal, 15, and Kylan, 13.
The award, named after a former WHO Radio farm broadcaster, is given several times a year to Iowa producers who stand out in their vocation. It is given by the Iowa Coalition to Support Farmers, which includes organizations from all Iowa farm commodities.
Though they were not actively part of the award, members of the Dickinson County Friends of Agriculture group was present to support the Green family.
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