Iowa Young Farmer Leadership Award winners give back to their communities
Tanner Brass of Franklin County, Clark Dolch of Adair County and Melissa Moretz of Worth County have been selected as recipients of the 2022 Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Young Farmer Leadership Award.
This award, created in honor of former IFBF President Bob Joslin, recognizes outstanding farming members under the age of 35 who contribute to their communities and demonstrate leadership within their county Farm Bureau. While Brass, Dolch and Moretz all hold off-farm jobs, they still find time for family, farming and giving back. As part of the award, honorees each receive a $2,000 grant to give to a local nonprofit of their choice.
Seeds of Hope Foundation hits home for cattle farmer Clark Dolch who gave his grant money to this organization that supports young farm families facing long-term, life-threatening illnesses. His brother had leukemia in 2010 and has been in remission thanks to treatments. “I saw firsthand the struggles of keeping up with farm work while supporting someone during that fight,” says Dolch.
Working as an ag loan officer, Dolch understands the financial hurdles young farmers face and aims to connect them with funding resources and programs to get more young people farming and living in rural communities. He has held several positions on the Adair County Farm Bureau board, holds a seat on many local community boards and previously served on the IFBF Young Farmer Advisory Committee. He is also known as “Farmer Clark” to the elementary school students who have had Dolch visit their classroom to teach about animal health.
To further the understanding of today’s crop production and promote farm safety, Tanner Brass awarded his grant to his county fair’s ag learning center. “I want to be sure that the general public and future generations are accurately informed of the importance of agriculture and those working in it daily,” he says. Brass, a corn and soybean farmer, hopes to get a tractor cab simulator and showcase ag’s innovation—a passion of his as a precision farming manager for Case IH and on his own farm.
He shares his family farm story through Farm Bureau activities, connecting with others at the county fair and posting photos and videos of his farm on social media. He was also featured in Case IH’s “Built By Farmers” commercial that aired during the 2021 Super Bowl. Brass has long served on his county fair board, is active in his church and recently assisted with a campaign to raise money to remodel the local convention center.
Through her involvement with her county Farm Bureau, Mason City Chamber Ag Committee, Ag Learning Center Committee and as vice president of the North Central Iowa Ag in the Classroom, Melissa Moretz’s commitment for agricultural education and advocacy is evident. “With instant access to information, it is our responsibility as a farmer to share our story so consumers can gain confidence in what we are doing on the farm and why we do it,” she says.
Moretz raises corn, soybeans, alfalfa, hogs and cattle on her family farm. She also works full time as a lending relationship officer. She chose Central Springs AgEd Boosters to gift her grant money in their endeavor to create a new ag education program to cultivate the next agricultural leaders and innovators.
Brass, Dolch and Moretz will be recognized at the 2022 IFBF annual meeting in December and will also receive an expense paid trip to either the 2023 American Farm Bureau annual convention or Young Farmer and Rancher Conference, an expense paid trip to the Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Conference, a Choice Hotels certificate valued at $500 and a $1,500 award from GROWMARK.
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