A Fayette County family will receive the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award on Thursday.
Wenger Family Farms, southeast of Elgin, is owned and operated by Aaron and Kali Wenger, along with their three boys, Broc, Aksel and Niko, and Aaron’s father, Brian.
The farm was established in 1886 and earned its Century Farm distinction in 1988. They raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa, as well as a hog feed operation and a cattle herd. Additionally, Aaron manages Wenger Seed and custom farms for a handful of neighbors.
“Wenger Family Farms goes above and beyond to provide a high level of animal care, while keeping environmental stewardship a top priority,” said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig. “Aaron and Kali’s commitment to excellence is reflected not only in continuous improvement efforts on the farm, but also in their commitment to giving back to their local community. Aaron and Kali exemplify the true character of Iowa agriculture, making them deserving recipients of this award.
The Wenger family works with their county’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff to establish and monitor conservation plans. With their hilly terrain, alley cropping, grass strips and terracing are conservation practices used to prevent runoff. With funding from an NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) grant, Wenger Family Farms updated LED lighting and insulated curtains in its pig barn and installed new drying racks for a better energy efficiency. They also planted shrubs and a windbreak to improve air quality and prevent wind erosion.
Along with prioritizing their environmental stewardship practices, the Wenger family keeps animal husbandry in mind. The family is Pork Quality Assurance Plus, Beef Quality Assurance certified and uses automatic feeding systems in their barns. They regularly sample their manure and apply stabilizers to ensure proper application for the nutrient needs of their crops.
When not managing their farms, Andrew and Kali serve on the board of directors of the Fayette County Agricultural Bureau and the local REC, are active in their church, coach various children’s sports, volunteer as leaders of their 4-H club and play a role in their local farm-to-classroom penpal program. Additionally, Andrew is a member of the Sons of the American Legion and Kali is Valley’s Director of Preschool and Child Care.
Iowa Undersecretary of Agriculture Julie Kenney will present the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to Wenger Family Farms in Elgin Thursday morning.
The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is made possible by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers. This award recognizes Iowa livestock producers who take pride in caring for the environment, their livestock, and being good neighbors. It is named after Gary Wergin, a longtime WHO radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.