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Thursday, March 8, 2018

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


Wold Rim and Wheel, Kloubec Koi Farm, Sarah Carlson with Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium recognized

DES MOINES –Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig presented four Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Leader Awards at the Iowa Agriculture Leaders Dinner held on Tuesday, March 6.  The winners were recognized for their leadership, their innovative solutions and their commitment to serving our communities through collaboration and hard work.

“These awards are an opportunity to highlight and recognize some of the leaders in our state that help make Iowa agriculture such a dynamic and vibrant industry,” Naig said.  “I want to again congratulate all the award winners and thank them for the important role they play in our wonderful agriculture industry.”

The award winners that were recognized were:

  • Sarah Carlson with Practical Farmers of Iowa for Leadership in Conservation
  • Myron and Ellen Kloubec, Kloubec Koi Farm in Amana for Leadership in Industry Development
  • Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium for Leadership in Collaboration
  • Wold Rim and Wheel of St. Ansgar for Innovation in Agriculture Manufacturing

The Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Leader Awards were created to recognize, honor and promote Iowa citizens, companies and organizations who have made significant contributions to Iowa’s agriculture industry.  Those recognized have displayed leadership within the categories of Innovation, Conservation, Collaboration and Industry Development.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Leader Award Winners
Sarah Carlson with Practical Farmers of Iowa – Leadership in Conservation
Sarah Carlson is Strategic Initiatives Director for Practical Farmers of Iowa, where each year, she helps farmers share practical advice and farming knowledge about cover crops and small grains with thousands of other farmers to diversify their operations and keep their soil covered. She also leads projects building partnerships throughout the food and beverage supply chain to grow markets and support research for small grains and cover crops in Iowa and the Midwest. Most recently, she co-chaired the Conservation Initiative’s Cover Crop Working Group and led the creation of a cover crop discount through the crop insurance program.

Carlson grew up in north-central Illinois in a farming family. As a young person, she was troubled by the loss of her grandparents’ farrow-to-finish hog operation and the consolidation of her high school. After attending Augustana College, she went to Iowa State University, where she earned a Master’s Degree in the Agronomy Department. There, she conducted on-farm research with PFI, and was inspired by founder Dick Thompson’s words: “once the cattle leave the farm, so do the people.” Those words struck home with Sarah, and so did the PFI philosophy of farmer-led research and the power of grassroots knowledge. Since joining PFI in 2007, she has earned a reputation as a no-nonsense agronomist, fighting to fill rural church pews and school buses by helping farmers diversify their operations and protecting and improving their soil.

Myron and Ellen Kloubec, Kloubec Koi Farm – Leadership in Industry Development
Myron and Ellen Kloubec have been involved in aquaculture in Iowa for 38 years. Their journey began by converting a 10’ x 10’ summer-kitchen into a small fish hatchery and utilizing a couple of ponds on the family farm. Over time the Kloubecs developed their 80 acre property, with many sloughs and valleys, into an alternative-agriculture operation known as aquaculture. Since its inception, Kloubec Koi Farm has grown into one of the largest producers of koi fish in the county, wholesaling to more than 250 locations in almost all 50 states and Canada. Additionally, most of the Kloubec’s high-valued koi are marketed through Kloubec’s internet store and eBay, where each koi is photographed individually, then sold & shipped to koi hobbyists across the country.

Ellen writes for an industry publication, Pond Trade Magazine, as a featured author on koi
identification and koi health. Myron is on the Advisory Committee for the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center, and was an instructor of the aquaculture curriculum for Kirkwood College’s Alternative Agriculture Program and Successful Farming Magazine’s Ag Diversification conference in the 1980’s. The Kloubecs received an Iowa Venture Award presented by the Iowa Area Development Group for recognition of entrepreneurial achievement. In 2016, the farm was recognized as an Iowa Century Farm by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

In addition to producing award-winning koi fish, the family also raises game fish for stocking ponds and lakes throughout Iowa.

Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium – Leadership in Collaboration
The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium is a community-led organization whose mission is to enhance monarch butterfly reproduction and survival in Iowa through collaborative and coordinated efforts of farmers, private citizens and their organizations. The eastern monarch butterfly population has experienced an 80% decline over the past two decades. One of the causes for population decline is loss of milkweed habitat in the spring and summer breeding ranges of the United States. Iowa is in the center of the monarch’s summer breeding range, and roughly 40% of all monarch butterflies that overwinter in Mexico are estimated to come from Iowa and neighboring Midwest states.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was petitioned to determine if the monarch should be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and is currently under review. Establishing and implementing a viable, voluntary Iowa monarch conservation program during 2018 can provide private landowners flexibility in implementing conservation practices and avoid significant regulatory and management burdens if the species is listed in 2019.

Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship provide overall leadership and facilitation for the consortium. The consortium is comprised of 36 members and 5 partners representing diverse interests across the state.

Wold Rim and Wheel – Innovation in Agriculture Manufacturing
A third generation business, Wold Rim and Wheel has grown in St. Ansgar by supplying original equipment and aftermarket rims and wheels to agricultural markets throughout the United States and Canada. It began in 1938 as a small service station serving the community. R.A. and Janet Wold expanded the family business in 1963 when they created a method to widen wheels allowing area farmers to mount larger tires on their tractors for better tractor performance. The company then expanded to widen rims for combines and added product lines to fit a variety of agricultural machinery.

Wold Rim and Wheel evolved and grew to service and manufacture wheels for a wide range of tractor tire sizes as needed for their expanding farm markets. Today its products are helping increase agricultural production from the wheat fields of Saskatchewan to the cotton fields of the southern states and from the sugar beet rows of North Dakota to the corn and soy bean fields of the Midwest, including Mitchell County, Iowa - home to Wold Rim and Wheel. The Wold family remains actively involved in the business along with a network of dedicated employees and dealers. Together they continue R.A. and Janet’s legacy to problem-solve, design, manufacture, and market innovative agricultural wheels and rims that not only grow Iowa but also North America.


*** Reporters and Editors: Photos of Secretary Naig presenting the awards are available on Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/iowaagriculture/ in the “2018 Iowa Agriculture Leaders Award Recpients” album. 


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