The Way We Live award

Dallas County farm family one of 10 recognized at the Iowa State Fair

-Farm News photo by Kriss Nelson
The Felt Family accepst the Way We Live award at the Iowa State Fair last week.

DES MOINES — David and Jenny Felt, along with two of their three children, were recognized last week at the Iowa State Fair, where they were just one of 10 farm families who received the Way We Live award.

The award was established in 2009.

David Felt became a partner in Felt Family Farms after moving home in 1991, making him a fourth-generation farmer.

Felt thinks the Way We Live award is a special award. He and his family enjoyed getting recognized at the Iowa State Fair, an event he has attended hundreds of times.

“We’re a fourth-generation family. We’ve been around for a long time,” he said. “We want people in the community to know that farmers are doing their best to protect the land. We drink water and we want clean water just like everybody else. Ninety-nine point nine percent of us are doing all we can to make things better in Iowa.”

The Felt family farms 1,200 acres of row crop corn and soybeans in addition to raising alfalfa and grass hay, feed cattle and, for more than 20 years, have raised chickens with Hy-Line International.

David and Jenny Felt have both been spokespeople for the ag industry.

David Felt served on the Dallas County Fair Board for a number of years, and is currently on the soil and water conservation board, where they work to promote cover crops and a program they initiated in Dallas County called the One Percent Challenge.

“We are challenging not only farmers in Dallas County, but across the state to initiate conservation practices to raise our soil’s organic matter one percent in 10 years,” he said.

Jenny Felt said it was their daughter, Mackenzie Felt, that submitted the application for the award.

“It’s a fun thing. We’re proud,” said Jenny Felt. “We’re proud of what Dave does for us and he loves the farm and it’s a great family place for all of us.”

The Way We Live award

According to the Iowa State Fair, 62 Iowa farm families have been recognized so far throughout the years with the Way We Live award.

Each family receives a prize package of $250, complimentary admission tickets, free parking and various coupons.

This is in addition to the recognition and having information about their farm displayed at the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center at the fair.

Emily Wynn, ag education coordinator for the Iowa State Fair, said to help commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Way We Live award, the fair increased the number of awards given out each year.

“We got to select 10 families instead of six and they all really exemplify farm values and the love of the occupation of farming,” said Wynn. “The 10 families we have this year are great.”

She added the award helps to highlight Iowa farm families whose operations center around animal agriculture. Those animals are all present in the learning center during the fair.

“It’s a way to highlight the animals we have in the Animal Learning Center to show they go home to Iowa farm families across the state and that they don’t just live here year around,” she said. “We want people to know there are actually farmers that take care of them and families that love them as much as the fairgoers do.”

Farmers must be Iowa residents in order to receive the award, and farmers can nominate themselves or have someone else do it.

Nominations start in February and go through May 15 of each year.

Wynn said she is fortunate to be able to travel to each of the award-winning farms.

“We go out and take videos and pictures,” she said. “It is the highlight of our summer to go out and meet all of these families and visit their farms. It’s a great time. We love every minute of it.”

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