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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dustin Vande Hoef
515/281-3375 or 515/326-1616 (cell)


Award to be presented June 5 at the Cleghorn Community Center

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that Mark and Sara Wilcox from Cherokee County have been named the winners of the Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award.  The Wilcox family has a dairy milking 70 - 80 head of Holsteins and also raises corn, soybeans and alfalfa.

Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will present the award to the family on Monday, June 5 at the Cleghorn Community Center, 102 E. Grace St., in Cleghorn.  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.

“June is Dairy Month and a great opportunity to recognize the Wilcox family and highlight all their work to care for their animals, protect the environment and serve their neighbors and community.  Iowa livestock farmers take great pride in doing things right and the Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is a chance to recognize these deserving families,” Northey said.

The family was nominated for the award by Jenna Riediger, the executive director of the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance.  In her nomination, she highlighted the family’s commitment to animal welfare and environmental protection.  The Wilcox family uses sand bedding to increase cow comfort and used no-till and have terraces to prevent erosion.

The family is also very active in ag organizations and their community, including serving on the Board of the Cherokee County Farm Bureau and of the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance.  Mark has also served on the Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn School Board and Foundation board.

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  They can also visit the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers website to submit a nomination electronically at



Mailing Address: IDALS,  Wallace State Office Building,   502 E. 9th Street,  Des Moines, IA 50319:     PH: 515-281-5321
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