Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig presented the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to the Liljedahl family during a ceremony this week at the Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines. Owned and operated by Dennis and Diane Liljedahl, along with their son, Drew, and daughter-in-law, Candice, Liljedahl Farms is a third-generation family farm located near Essex in Page County.
The farm was established by Dennis' parents Charles and Eileen Liljedahl in 1958, with Dennis returning to the farm in 1975 and Drew joining the operation in 2006. Dennis and Diane's daughter Abbey was raised on the farm but has since moved away with her husband Justin. Dennis and Diane have four grandchildren.
"Multi-generational farm families like the Liljedahls are at the heart of so many of our communities across Iowa. They have a family tradition of being good stewards of their land and excellent caretakers of their livestock," said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. "The Liljedahls are also leaders in their community and within Iowa agriculture and I am pleased to present them with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award."
The Liljedahls raise corn, soybeans, seed soybeans and 2,500 – 3,000 wean-to-finish hogs annually.
The family has implemented numerous conservation practices, including the utilization of no-till planting and the seeding of 1,000 acres of cereal rye as a cover crop each year for the past four years. They have installed terraces, grassed waterways, grassed buffer strips and pollinator habitat on their land, and they participate in the Conservation Stewardship Program.
The Liljedahls have demonstrated a high level of care for their animals and take pride in ensuring consumers can have access to nutritious and delicious pork products. The operation has received the Pork Quality Assurance certification and Transport Quality Assurance certification, and it has implemented an active Secure Pork Supply Plan.
Dennis is the past president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association and has served on the board since 2016. He is a delegate for the National Pork Forum, a member of Page County Pork Producers Association, a 1994 Master Pork Producer, and a former assistant swine superintendent for the Page County Fair. He serves as a member of the Essex Education Foundation, Essex School Board, and St. John’s Lutheran Church, where he is also treasurer. Diane serves as chair for the St. John’s Lutheran Church Council, chair of the committee to restore the Essex Opera House and is active with the Page County Endowment.
Drew is a member of the Page and Fremont County Corn and Soybean Growers Associations as well as the Page County Extension and Outreach Council. Candice is active with the Essex Community Club as well as the Study and Service Club. The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is made possible through a partnership with the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, The Big Show on WHO Radio and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. 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.