Located on the outskirts of Lis­comb in Marshall County, the  Mosher Angus Farm is home to three generations who are working together to continue a tradition of raising cattle, sheep, corn, soybeans and hay.

Last month, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey presented the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to the Mosher family for their commitment to their land and livestock and their longstanding involvement in several community organizations.  

According to Norval Mosher, the success of their farm is greatly dependent on neighbors helping neighbors.

“To be a good neighbor, you’ve got to work with your neighbors and you’ve got to try hard to be a little bit of a role model,” said Norval. “You don’t do these things for personal gain; you do it because that’s the thing to do to build your community.”

The Moshers were nominated for the Good Farm Neighbor Award by B.J. Hoffman, a friend and neighbor who has rented pasture ground to the family for over 25 years.

“The Moshers value the resources that keep their operation functioning,” said Hoffman. “They farm their forage ground responsibly and utilize working horses and dogs to check on their livestock’s health and well-being. They do what’s right, not what’s easy.”   

Growing the herd

Norval Mosher grew up on a dairy farm near Bonaparte and vowed he would never milk cows for a living, so when he graduated from Iowa State University in 1953, he didn’t know if he would ever have another opportunity to farm.

After college, Norval spent two years in the U.S. military and later took a job with Butler County Extension Service. He married his college sweetheart, Esther McKibben, in 1955.

Norval continued his off-farm career until he formed a partnership with his father-in-law to work as hired help at the McKibben farm near Liscomb. In 1959, Norval and Esther joined her family in raising hogs, sheep and a small herd of cattle.  

Since then, that small herd of cattle has prospered into a successful purebred Angus breeding stock business.

“The herd was started by Esther’s dad back in the 40s, and some of the cows we have today are decedents of the Angus cattle he started,” shared Norval. “Our son, Jim, has expanded upon it tremendously.”

Building Community

In addition to growing the farm, the Mosher family has dedicated countless hours of service to organizations including the Marshall County Pork Producers, Marshall County Extension Council, Liscomb City Council, 4-H and the Liscomb Church of Christ. Norval has also served in state and county level leadership roles with the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.

Today, the legacy of community service that Norval and Esther built is being carried on by their daughter Dynette, who works at Iowa State University, and Jim and his wife, Brenda, and their two daughters, Lauren and Leah. Each family member plays an active role on the farm and in various ag commodity groups and youth organizations.

For Jim, receiving an honor like the Good Farm Neighbor Award is cause for celebrating community rather than individual success. “This is no reflection on us, but a reflection on the community,” said Jim. “It’s more important to celebrate the fact that we have good neighbors, because they’re the ones that challenge us to do better and come to our aid in times of need.”

The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, presented by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa Ag Radio Network in partnership with the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, is awarded to Iowa farm families who raise livestock. It’s given in honor of distinguished late WHO radio farm broadcaster Gary Wergin and recognizes families who take pride in being good neighbors and stewards of the land.

To nominate a deserving livestock farmer or farm family, visit www.supportfarmers.com/goodfarmneighbor or contact Haley Banwart at 515-225-5526 or hbanwart@supportfarmers.com.

The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers was created more than 10 years ago by farmers to help farmers raise livestock responsibly and successfully. It’s a joint partnership involving the Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Poultry Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Turkey Federation and Midwest Dairy Association.