DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that the Jay and Jeanne Hansen family from Hudson in Black Hawk County have been named the February winners of the “Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award.”
Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Jay Johnson will present the award to the Hansen family on Thursday, Feb. 14 at the Hansen Farm Fresh Dairy Visitor Center, 8461 Lincoln Road, in Hudson. 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. on Feb. 14.
“Jay and Jeanne are very deserving winners of this award. The do a tremendous job of caring for their animals while also reaching out to their community to share the story of agriculture,” Northey said. “It is great to be able to recognize a family operation like the Hansen’s that is creating new opportunities and growing a business in rural Iowa.”
Jay and Jeanne have a dairy farm with 175 cows and 190 heifers, all purebred Holsteins. In addition, they started processing and marketing their own milk in 2004 so that their four sons, Brent, Brad, Blair and Blake, could join them back on the farm. In addition to the dairy, the Hansen’s also raise row crops and hay.
The Hansen’s were nominated for the award by their neighbor, and customer, Joanne Vlasak. In her nomination Vlasak said, “The Hansen’s are a good neighbor and community member because they serve so many people in the surrounding area. Not only can people purchase great Iowa dairy products that are produced right here in the neighborhood, the have a tremendous passion to tell everyone about farm living and what it takes to get food to the market.”
To that end the Hansen’s have built a visitor center and on-farm store and give regular tours to families, school groups and other visitors.
In addition to the four sons who now own and work on the farm, Jay and Jeanne have a daughter Lynn and 15 grandchildren.
In closing Vlasak said, “The Hansen family is fulfilling a lifelong dream of farming and their children represent the fourth generation of Hansen’s to farm in Black Hawk County.”
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.