Award given in honor of the late Kent Mowrer’s work through the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers. 

Often reaching more than 100 feet tall and offering a wide, dense canopy of dark green leaves, the Burr Oak was chosen as a memorial tree honoring the late Kent Mowrer, a farmer who spent more than a decade working with fellow farmers across Iowa on animal agriculture issues as a field specialist for the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers.

“Iowa agriculture remains strong because we have so many talented and dedicated people working every day to keep us productive for the consumers and communities who rely on us. Kent was one of those people who truly made a difference,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, ahead of a tree planting event honoring Mowrer at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

Prior to his death following a brief illness in July 2021, Mowrer worked as the senior field coordinator for CSIF for 11 years. He assisted livestock and poultry farmers in navigating regulations in Iowa, choosing good locations for new livestock barns and feedlots, enhancing relations with neighbors and implementing best management practices that improve air, soil and water quality.

Mowrer also worked with livestock farmers to plant trees as windbreaks around their barns through CSIF’s Green Farmstead Partner program.

“Kent was great at his job. He was a true farmer at heart himself, which enabled him to relate so well with the livestock farmers he worked with. He always prided himself on finding solutions to tough questions that he encountered on farms,” said Brian Waddingham, executive director of CSIF. 

“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to siting livestock and poultry barns, and Kent explained the options farmers had very clearly and concisely to give them peace of mind that they were doing things right,” Waddingham said.

Memorial event

Last month, friends and family gathered at the Boone County Fairgrounds to remember Mowrer’s legacy and present the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award to his family.

This award recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in caring for the environment and their livestock while being good neighbors. It is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award. 

Mowrer’s wife, Chris, and daughters, Josie and Maddie, accepted the award on his behalf. 

The Burr Oak was donated by Alex Frazier of Frazier Nursery in Vinton, one of a network of nurseries around Iowa that work with CSIF on the Green Farmstead Partner program.

Life well lived

Mowrer grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm near Perry and received a degree in animal science from Iowa State University. He spent his early career working for companies that touched both the agriculture and energy sectors. 

Mowrer’s passion for livestock and agriculture also included his own flock of sheep and meat goats, as well as horses and other farm animals. 

Kent and Chris, who works as a program specialist at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, instilled a passion for agriculture in their two daughters. 

Both Josie and Maddie are active in 4-H and FFA. 

The girls have reduced the number of sheep and goats they raise, added a couple more horses and started a small cow/calf herd partnership. 

Josie will be a freshman majoring in music education at Iowa State University. Maddie, a high school junior, remains busy with dance and drama club at Ames High School.