Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig presented the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to the Swanson family, owners of Swanson Family Farms located in Galt, Iowa, this week. The operation is run by Ron and Florine Swanson, their son, Stuart and his wife, Lori, and their four children, Adelai, Celeste, Lilian and Delia. Marcus Gatewood is also an employee and important part of Swanson Family Farms.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the award presentation ceremony was limited to the family. Secretary Naig and the Swanson family practiced social distancing while receiving the award live on WHO Radio's The Big Show.
"The members of the Swanson family are great advocates for the agriculture community," says Naig. "Their willingness to open their barns to show consumers the time, energy and care that farmers put into raising their animals to feed others is critical to helping bridge the gap between the farm and the table."
After graduating from Iowa State University, Stuart started a farrow-to-finish hog enterprise in 1992. He has raised market animals, show pigs and replacement breeding stock. He currently custom finishes hogs for local producers.
Along with hogs, the Swanson family grows corn and soybeans, which they use for their own feed. The family highly values conservation and water quality practices on their farm. They practice manure management, wetland establishment and nutrient management. In addition, the family has more than five miles of buffers to prevent nutrient losses. They grid soil sample to determine soil quality on an acre-by-acre basis.
Stuart has served as an advocate for the agriculture community and has opened up his farm to tours on many occasions. In 2016, he teamed up with the Iowa Food and Family Project to show a group of 40 consumers the link between their food and the families that produce it. Stuart also volunteers as a 4-H club leader and is a member of the Wright County Pork Interest Group.
The Swanson family was nominated for the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award by industry representative, Joni Erwin.
The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award is made possible thanks to financial support from the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers. This award recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in caring for the environment, their livestock and being good neighbors. It is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.