Young Iowa farmers give back to their communities through leadership award
Megan Kregel of Clayton County, Cordt Holub of Tama County and Michael McEnany of Story County have been selected as recipients of Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Young Farmer Leadership Award for their involvement in Farm Bureau activities, agricultural advocacy efforts and service to their communities.
Through this honor, each will receive a $2,000 grant to designate to a non-profit of their choice, an expense paid trip to the 2022 AFBF Annual Convention or Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference, an expense paid trip to the 2022 IFBF Young Farmer Conference, a Choice Hotels certificate for 50,000 points ($500 value) and $1500 cash from GROWMARK.
Cordt Holub, a seeds salesman and corn, soybean and cow-calf farmer, is passionate about on-farm conservation. “I really take pride in taking care of my land and my goal is to leave this place better than I found it,” he says.
Holub’s leadership also transcends his farm into the local community where he assisted with recovery efforts after the 2020 derecho and helped coordinate a $5,000 grant to the local fire department for rescue tools. He has served on his county Farm Bureau board as voting delegate, is a 2018 Ag Leaders Institute graduate and serves on the IFBF Young Farmer Advisory Committee. He has been a leader in legislative and policy issues, attending many townhalls and hosting Governor Kim Reynolds on his family farm to sign a young farmer assistance bill. Holub is also a member of the local cattlemen’s association, Iowa Soybean Association, Buckingham Cooperative and Tama-Benton Cooperative. Holub will give his $2,000 grant to Little Knights Learning Center in Dysart.
As a dairy farmer, Megan Kregel uses her TikTok handle, @megan_dairygirl, to connect with consumers, including 131,500 followers, on questions related to robotic milkers, animal care, food safety and how dairy farmers are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “At least once a week I get a comment or message from someone saying I changed their mind, and they will start to purchase dairy products again after seeing one of my videos. That’s such a rewarding part of this outreach,” she says.
She has served on the Clayton County Farm Bureau board of directors, is involved in Ag in the Classroom and is a 2021 IFBF Ag Leaders Institute participant. Working through various dairy-related organizations in northeast Iowa, Kregel has helped coordinate milk donations to more than 80 local families a month and upwards of 300 families during holiday months and hosted more than 10,000 visitors a year to Iowa’s Dairy Center. She is also an avid supporter of blood drives, donating her own blood every 8 weeks. Kregel has chosen Iowa’s Dairy Story, which provides teachers with ag-related curriculum and classroom activities, as the recipient of her grant dollars.
Michael McEnany has served in several roles on the Story County Farm Bureau board including president and is also a Story County Cattlemen board member. He raises a cow-calf herd through his farm, Double M Angus, and works for LongView Pork where he is a site manager for three 5,000 head finishing barns.
As consumer demand has increased for local foods, McEnany capitalized on this opportunity by partnering with local meat lockers to direct sell his beef and has goals to expand his cattle herd and client base. “Direct beef selling interested me because I like being able to provide a product that consumers are looking for, and the quality they want,” he said. “It gives me an opportunity to generate cash flow for my business and grow the local demand for beef.” McEnany has also worked directly with non-profit organizations to supply beef for those in need and will provide his grant to Nevada Food at First, a food bank sponsored by Nevada First United Methodist Church.
“The focus of this award is on being a well-rounded leader. That means not only being a leader on your farming operation, but also being a leader within your local community,” says Mary Foley Balvanz, IFBF leadership training manager. “Each of this year’s recipients have invested their time serving local youth, churches, food banks and have connected with people to showcase what agriculture is all about: making a positive impact.”
The Young Farmer Leadership Award, for farmers under the age of 35, is in honor of past IFBF President Bob Joslin who was well known for his support and encouragement of young farmers. This year’s recipients will be honored during the IFBF Annual Meeting to be held Dec. 7-8 in Des Moines.
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