DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that the Aaron and Trish Cook Family from Winthrop in Buchanan County are the winners of the January “Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award.” Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Karey Claghorn will present the award to the Cook family at the “Winter Pork Picnic” during the Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 26.
The “Winter Pork Picnic” is at Capital Square, 400 Locust St., in downtown Des Moines from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on January 26th. A free pork lunch is available to all during the picnic courtesy of the Pork Producers. WHO Radio’s Big Show will broadcast live during the lunch.
“The Cooks are doing the right things on their farm to care for the land and their animals, while also being active off their farm to serve their community,” Northey said. “The Good Farm Neighbor Award was created to recognize families like this that are an example of the great livestock farmers we have in this state.”
The Cook Family own and manage a 1200-sow breed-to-wean pork production facility and custom feed mill near Winthrop. The family have been raising pigs for 16 years. Aaron and Trish have three children, Holly, Spencer and Kirby.
Tom Murray, the FFA instructor at the North Linn High School, nominated them for the award. The Cook’s work with the high school ag students to educate them on pork production. “The Cooks represent a group of young and talented pork producers of the present and future,” Murray said in nominating them for the award.
In addition to working with local FFA students, Aaron is also currently serving on the East Buchanan School Board and County Zoning Commission and is on the Camp Courageous Board of Directors.
The Cooks were also 2010 Pork All-American Awardees from the Iowa Pork Producers Association and were recognized as Master Pork Producers in 2009.
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 WHO Radio 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.
Northey, a corn and soybean farmer from Spirit Lake, is serving his second term as Secretary of Agriculture. His priorities as Secretary of Agriculture are promoting the use of science and new technologies to better care for our air, soil and water, and reaching out to all Iowans to tell the story of Iowa agriculture.