DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that the Jason and Sarah Russell family, who live in Prairieburg in Linn County, are the winners of the January “Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award.”
Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Jay Johnson will present the award to the Russell family at the Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers booth at the Iowa Pork Congress trade show in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 23. The “Big Show,” which airs on both WHO and WMT radio, will broadcast live from the presentation from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
“Jason and Sarah are a great asset to our state as they go above and beyond to take great care of their livestock while also serving their neighbors and reaching out to 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.”
Jason and Sarah Russell have a daughter Harper and are part of Russell Brothers, LLC, which includes a 7,200-head wean-to-finish swine barn for which Jason and Sarah provide the day-to-day management and labor and hold part ownership. Russell Brothers also include Jason’s brother Eric, his father Dennis and uncles Dave, Ralph, Moe and John and have additional hog-sites in the area.
The Russell’s also raise corn and soybeans and all of their acres are enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program. In addition to a wide variety of conservation practices, the Russell’s are also currently experimenting with the use of cover crops. The Russell’s also have a fifty-kilowatt wind turbine on the farm that helps offset the farm’s energy costs.
As a result of all of their work, the Russell Brothers, LLC is the 2012 recipient of the Iowa Environmental Steward Award, which is presented by the Iowa Pork Producers Association.
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.