Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig presented the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to Buena Vista County pork producers Mike and Michelle Ehlers last week at Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines.

“The Ehlers family are leaders in conservation and are great resources for neighbors and fellow farmers who are interested in improving soil health and water quality on their farms,” said Naig. “Their high standard of animal care and community involvement make them deserving recipients of this award.”

The Ehlers family raises corn, soybeans and pigs on their farm outside of Marathon. 

They are leaders in implementing conservation practices, including low disturbance manure application, strip-till, no-till and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) buffer strips. They began seeding cover crops in 2015 and have continued to increase acres seeded to cover crops. 

They have also planted pollinator habitats and installed a bioreactor that benefits water quality in the Raccoon River watershed. 

Regarding animal care, the family prioritizes herd health by ensuring their pigs have high quality feed, good air quality and sufficient space. 

Mike and Michelle are presidents of the Buena Vista Pork Producers Association. Michelle is a local 4-H leader, and the family is active in many local community organizations and events. They have hosted field days focused on low disturbance manure application, building soil health and utilizing conservation practices.