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2018 Iowa State Fair “Way We Live” Award families

By Staff | Aug 8, 2018

DES MOINES -2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Way We Live Award at the Iowa State Fair. To highlight the anniversary, 10 well deserving farm families were chosen based on their dedication to agriculture and their strong Iowa farm values. Forty entries were submitted in all.

The Way We Live Award is sponsored by Pioneer, Iowa Farmer Today and the WHO Big Show. The award started in 2009 has recognized 62 outstanding Iowa farm families so far.

Each award winning family receives a prize package of $250, complimentary admission tickets, free parking, various coupons and recognition in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center during the Fair.

Those being awarded within Farm News’ coverage area are:

Nick and Katie Hermanson Family, Story City

Tuesday, August 14 at 11:30 a.m. -Animal Learning Center Stage

Nick Hermanson is a 5th generation farmer on a farm that was settled by his great-grandfather in 1871 and today has multiple generations now participating in the day-to-day work for the family corn, soybean and turkey operation. About half of their corn crop is grown for their turkey operation and the organic nutrients from the turkeys is used as environmentally friendly fertilizer. The Hermanson Family is active in their local Story County Farm Bureau, Ag In the Classroom, West Liberty Foods and the Iowa Turkey Federation working on agriculture education and awareness. Nick and Katie Hermanson believe the farm has always had a great influence on their lives and it is rewarding to see their kids take an interest and want to be involved.

Wolf Family, Scranton

Thursday, August 16 at 11:30 a.m. Animal Learning Center Stage

Dave and Becky Wolf have been 3rd generation grain and livestock farmers since 1981, beginning with a handful of sows and cows. Their kids are actively involved with the farm, helping with lambing, calving, and harvest. The kids and grandkids Julie (Ross) Tuel, Christie (Mike) Pope, David (Megan Buman), Caiden Tuel, Breanna, Tyler and Cody Pope, and Jadon Wolf love anything related to raising sheep, especially feeding and showing. In his free time, Dave Wolf is a Greene County Fair Sheep Co-Superintendent and a member of the Greene County Lamb Producers. As a family, they enjoy mentoring 4-Hers, encouraging and teaching them to care and show lambs. For over 30 years, their entire family of 13 hasn’t missed the Iowa Club Lamb Association breeding sheep show and sale during the Iowa State Fair. They believe raising their family on the farm has resulted in kids who learned from an early age that honest, hard work can lead to success, in whatever you pursue.

John and Jodi Koop and Families, Kamrar

Friday, August 10 at 11:30 a.m. -Animal Learning Center Stage

Their 160-acre farm was established 140 years ago and was purchased by John Koop’s Great-Great Grandpa in 1878. It has been in the family for five generations raising corn, soybeans, oats, and alfalfa as well as cattle, pigs, horses, chickens, and sheep over the years. The current farming operation includes corn, soybeans, cattle, and hogs. Married in 1984, the Koop’s have four children and grandchildren; Johnny (Carrie) and Sawyer and Monroe; Amanda (Travis) and Connor and Alayna; Kelsey (Allan) and Joey. John and Jodi own hog barns contracted through Smithfield and so do Johnny and Joey. John oversees the day-to-day management of both crop and livestock production and serves on multiple boards and committees including the Hamilton County Fair Board for over 20 years. As the farming operation has evolved they are adopting technology to become more efficient and hope to make the operation more sustainable for generations to come.

David and Jenny Felt and Family, Adel

Thursday, August 9 at 11:30 a.m. -Animal Learning Center Stage

The Felt family has always had a passion for agriculture. David Felt became a partner in Felt Family Farms after moving home in 1991, making him a 4th generation farmer. David Felt and his wife Jenny Felt, along with their three children Mackenzie, Marissa, and Cody raise hay, corn and soybeans, and have a feedlot operation. For 20 plus years, have raised chickens with Hy-Line International. From farming a Century Farm to winning awards for land stewardship, holding board positions in the community, being a township trustee, as well as, 4-H leaders, David and Jenny Felt are spokesmen for the ag industry. David Felt has said many times he wants to leave this land better than he found it for the next generation.

Tom and Kaitlin Geake Family, Wall Lake

Thursday, August 16 at 11:30 a.m. -Animal Learning Center Stage

Tom Geake’s great-great-grandpa, David Law, homesteaded on 60 acres in Wall Lake in 1877. In addition to row crops, the farm started with registered Holsteins and hogs, and in the late 60’s they focused on hogs and beef cows and have added ewes in the last couple of years. The entire family is involved from family member’s age 93-years-old to 1-years old enjoying what the farm has to offer and staying active in their community. Tom Geake and his wife Kaitlin Geake along with children Elaina, Claire, June, Cecelia, and William farm with John (Cathy) and William (Lucille) have continued the interest in conservation techniques, built terraces and implemented conservation practices on the farm, like no-till, before it was common. Tom Geake is a certified conservation farmer and enjoys talking to others about conservation needs and practices. Using their land as a display of how conservation practices can be used and how they can be beneficial. They believe that farming is a constantly evolving lifestyle and in order to keep generations coming back you have to practice being grateful, never stop learning, you have to have an innate love for raising animals, seeing crops pop up every spring and see that combine fill every autumn.

Andy and Lisa Hurd Family, Nemaha

Saturday, August 11 at 11:30 a.m. – Animal Learning Center Stage

Andy and Lisa Hurd and their children, Will, Chase, and Sydney live on a Century Farm, where this year marks the 110th year farming. Andy Hurd and his wife came back to the farm in 1998 after graduating from ISU with agriculture degrees. Currently, they are farming corn and soybeans on rotation and feeding cattle and hogs. Everyone from the adults to the teenagers plays a role in the family farm with each kid owning their own cow/calf herd, raising 4-H and FFA livestock and owning a sweetcorn, green beans, and pumpkin business. As the kids grow up, they are becoming very important to the different operations of the farm. The busy Hurd family enjoys sharing their message about agriculture and makes farming a family affair. They believe an important part of farming is being a part of your community where neighbors share equipment, knowledge, and support for each other and keep each other successful on the very unpredictable journey called farming.

About Iowa State Fair

Frequently ranked as one of the top events in the country, the Iowa State Fair is the single largest event in the state of Iowa and one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the country. Annually attracting more than a million people from all over the world, the Iowa State Fair located at East 30th and East University, just 10 minutes from downtown Des Moines is Iowa’s greatest celebration with a salute to the best in agriculture, industry, entertainment and achievement. Nothing Compares to State Fair Moments, August 9-19, 2018. For more information, visit www.iowastatefair.org.

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