Dave Green grew up working with his father on the family’s cattle farm in Dickinson County. Years of raising and showing cattle instilled in Green the love of cattle and a passion for agriculture.

"I grew up loving cattle, feeding cattle and being outside," Green (pictured right in above photo) said.

He started college, but the farm and his love for agriculture called him home.

He worked closely with his dad, then the two formed a partnership and grew the feedlot herd by 1,000 head. Five years later, they grew the herd to 2,200 head. His dad retired about five years ago, but Green and his wife, Sharee, and their daughters Kendal, 15, and Kylan, 13, and an employee care for the cattle in the feedlot and the cattle in their 999-head capacity bedded monoslope barn. They also raise approximately 150 steers and grow crops.

The Greens were recognized last week as recipients of the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, which recognizes livestock farmers for the care they take for their livestock and the environment and for being good neighbors.

The award, presented by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Ag Radio Network, is made possible through the financial support of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF). It’s named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who created the award. They were nominated by Katie Olthoff of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.

Environmental actions

"Dave’s farm is located on the Little Sioux River, and his family has always been proactive about the environmental impact," Olthoff wrote in her nomination letter. "For example, his feedlot operates under total containment to eliminate the chance of manure runoff. Dave is also Beef Quality Assurance certified, showing a dedication to his livestock and the end product."

It’s those type of farmers and families that the award works to recognize, said Brian Waddingham, executive director for the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers.

"They’re a really good family and a really good choice for this award because they are great stewards of the land and the livestock," Waddingham said. "They are a great example of the hard work and dedication that Iowa’s livestock farmers have and what they do every day on their farm."

Green said it was an honor to be recognized with the award.

"I’m not going to say I’m doing anything so much different than anyone else; we’re all kind of doing these things," Green said. "But it’s good for the public to see the things we’re doing to protect the environment."

Showing the public the types of practices on their cattle farm has been important to the Green family. Dave was instrumental in creating the Dickinson County Friends of Agriculture after some anti-ag sentiment was spreading in the area.

Positive message

"Dave reached out to the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association after seeing negative information about agriculture from the Iowa Great Lakes Association. He then went on to help form the Dickinson County Friends of Ag to help spread positive messages about agriculture in his home county," Olthoff wrote in her nomination letter.

Dickinson County Friends of Agriculture’s mission is to highlight the good things happening in agriculture, and Green knows it starts locally.

"Dickinson County has been an uphill battle for agriculture here, so we’re trying to show what we do," Green said.

He said the group has created banners and advertisements to promote agriculture and keeps consumers informed through its Facebook page.

The Green family has permits and a manure management plan for their farm, which specifies when and where they can apply manure as a nutrient on their fields. They are monitored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

"They’re extremely environmentally conscious, and it’s great that they get this recognition in Dickinson County, right here in the lakes area," said Al Giese, owner of Prairie Feed and Trucking, which supplies the farm with feed.

"They’re in a very sensitive location, and they’ve done a fantastic job with their environmental practices and the things they do around their cattle yards," said Dan Dreeszen, president of the Dickinson County Farm Bureau. "They’re very oriented toward quality care of their livestock. Their main goal is to contain the manure and give the cattle the best environment they can."

To nominate a farmer for the award, go to www.supportfarmers.com/programs/wergin-good-farm-neighbor-award

Photo Caption: Al Giese, left, congratulates Dave Green, a recipient of the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award. Giese said the Green family takes great care of their cattle and environment. The Dickinson County farm family raises cattle and crops near Milford.