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Fayette County Family Honored with Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award

A Fayette County family will receive the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award on Thursday.

Wenger Family Farms southeast of Elgin is owned and operated by Aaron and Kali Wenger, along with their three boys, Broc, Aksel and Niko, and Aaron’s dad, Brian.

The farm was homesteaded in 1886, earning its Century Farm distinction in 1988. They raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa, along with a custom swine feeding operation and beef herd. Additionally, Aaron manages Wenger Seed and custom farms for a handful of neighbors.

“Wenger Family Farms goes above and beyond to ensure a high standard of animal care, while also keeping environmental stewardship as a top priority,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Aaron and Kali’s commitment to excellence is not only reflected through continuous improvement efforts on the farm, but also in their commitment to giving back to their local community. Aaron and Kali exemplify the true character of Iowa agriculture, making them deserving recipients of this award.”

The Wenger family works with their county Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) personnel to set and follow conservation plans. With their rolling land terrain, strip cropping, grass strips, and terraces are conservation practices utilized to prevent runoff. With funding from a NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Grant, Wenger Family Farms has updated their hog barn LED lighting and insulated curtains and installed new dryers for better energy efficiency. They have also planted shrubs and a windbreak to improve air quality and prevent wind erosion.

In addition to prioritizing their environmental stewardship practices, the Wenger family keeps animal husbandry top of mind. The family is Pork Quality Assurance Plus, Beef Quality Assurance certified, and they use automatic feed systems in their barns. They routinely sample their manure and apply stabilizers to ensure adequate application for the nutrient needs of their crops.

When not managing their farm operations, Andrew and Kali serve as board members of the Fayette County Farm Bureau and the local REC, are active in their church, coach various children’s sports, volunteer as leaders for their 4-H club, and play a role in their local Farm to Classroom Pen Pal Program. Additionally, Andrew is a member of the Sons of the American Legion, and Kali serves as the Valley Preschool and Childcare Director.

Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Julie Kenney will present the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to Wenger Family Farms in Elgin on Thursday morning. 

The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is made possible by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers. This award recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in caring for the environment, 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.

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