Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig presented the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to Colleen “Coke” Anderson, a poultry farmer in Clay County, on April 26.

“Coke Anderson has been a leader in the agriculture industry for many years,” said Naig. “She sets an example for others to follow by implementing conservation practices on her farm. Coke is involved in her community and is an innovative livestock producer.”

Anderson and her late husband, Marvin, were school teachers who raised two daughters on the farm. It was 270 acres of rolling terrain, and in order to utilize the land properly, they made it a livestock farm. In 1975, they built a 50,000-bird egg layer building, at which time they created M & C Anderson Pullets and went from teaching to farming.

M & C Anderson Pullets were nominated for the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award by Kevin Stiles, Iowa Egg Council and Iowa Poultry Association executive dir­ector.

“Animal care and environmental stewardship is a foremost priority for Coke and M&C Anderson Pullets.” stated Stiles. “The Iowa Poultry Association and the Iowa Egg Council were proud to nominate Coke for this award.”

The Andersons have owned land in Clay County for over 50 years. They have planted hundreds of trees both as windbreaks and to protect the steeper slopes from erosion. They also constructed grass waterways and four farm ponds to control runoff in heavy rains.

Anderson is actively involved in various leadership roles and organizations on a local, state and national level. She is a current board member of the Iowa Poultry Association. She was the first woman to be elected as chairman of the American Egg Board in 1999.

Anderson is the 144th recipient of the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, which is made possible by the financial support of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers. It is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.