Huhes are Good Neighbors
Wed, 06/06/2018 - 2:25pm admin
—Just in time for Dairy Month, Huhes honored
Marcie Klomp News Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Cresco - “If you do what you’re passionate about, work can be fun” is the way Tim Huhe looks at life. Actually, it is the way the entire Huhe family looks at life.
That concept and being good stewards of the land were part of the reason the Huhes were named winners of the Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award on May 30.
Tim and Diana, along with his parents, Linda and Galen Huhe, and their three daughters, Jennifer, Abby and Katie, were presented the prestigious award by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.
He told those gathered at the Featherlite Center the Huhes are the 135th family presented with the Good Farm Neighbor Award since 2003. Naig said they were “doing the right thing with their animals, their farming practices and their community. It is an honor for me to congratulate you,” the Secretary said.
“The Huhe family operates a diverse, multi-generation farm that is committed to providing the best possible care for their animals, protecting the environment and serving their community,” Naig said. “As we get ready to celebrate Dairy Month in June, it is great to be able to recognize one of the many dairy farms in Iowa that add so much to our state and communities.”
Animal care and environmental protection have been a top priority for the Huhe family for nearly 50 years. The family has a free-stall dairy barn where cows have constant access to feed, water and a clean place to lie down. On their crop ground they no-till and use cover crops such as cereal rye.
In addition to the work on the farm, the family is very active in the community. Tim currently serves as President of the Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation, serves on the Howard County Farm Bureau Board and is active on the Howard County Fair Board.
Tim later acknowledged his entire family. “This is not a Tim Huhe award. It is a Huhe family award. When I have meetings, someone has to do my work. Sometimes I come home from the meeting and work two hours later to make up for the time spent away.”
He is proud to work with his family. “Sometimes we have more conversations before 5 a.m. than after!”
Tim says his parents were an inspiration to him, working hard to raise eight children. “Thirty years ago, Dad was milking 30 cows. We’ve gradually built that up to 300.” Doing that took a lot of hard work and many long hours.
In those 30 years, things have changed and farmers, not just the Huhes, had to change as well. In the 1980-90s, milking 30 dairy cows made a good living. Couple that with land at $1,000 per acre, and a family could survive on farming. Now, everything is 10 times different. Land is 10 times as expensive. To make up for that, Tim milks 10 times more cows.
“I’m lucky,” Tim said. “I have an older generation who gave their all, and a younger generation who is excited about farming.”
His daughter, Jennifer, a graduate of Iowa State, has her day job at Minnesota Select Sires, but still helps milk cows in the morning. Her parents wanted her to get a day job and spread her wings. It is her choice on where she will land.
The other girls are still college students. Abby goes to Upper Iowa at Fayette and Katie attends Central College in Pella.
Tim spoke to the crowd, telling them, “We have good neighbors here. I appreciate everyone who showed up, whom we’ve worked with over the years and on a daily basis.”
The hours are long and hard, but Tim doesn’t mind. “I enjoy what I do. I choose to work 18 hours-a-day for the next generation.”
In addition, working together builds family bonding, Tim noted. “You work together. You play together!” Some of that “playing” has been work-related, such as when the girls showed at the local fairs. The highlight was when Jennifer was able to win the 2015 Red & White Dairy Show at the Minnesota State Fair.
Galen and Linda Huhe won the Howard County Distinguished Dairy Family in 1988 from Howard County Dairy Association. Tim and Diana won the Howard County Young Dairy Farmer Award in 1996, and in 2014 they were named Outstanding Farm Family by Kiwanis Club of Cresco.
Wergin Good Farm
The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, made possible through the financial support of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in doing things right. This includes caring for the environment and 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.
The award also acknowledges the farmers’ commitment to their local communities.
Other local winners
Those from Howard and surrounding counties receiving the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award include:
Jed and Joyce Becker, Howard County, April 2005
Dennis and Barb Mashek, Winneshiek County, November 2012
Karl Fox, Mitchell County, August 2015
Leon and Barb Sheets, Chickasaw County, October 2017
Accepting the award
The Huhe family was told they were nominated for the award by Mariah Schmitt, Dairy Center Coordinator three weeks ago.
They say they have not been alone, and that it takes a community to make their farming operation possible.
“When they first contacted me about this award, you know, they talked about it being a little more of a personal-type award and achievement, and I don’t believe that’s what it is no matter where you’re at and what you’re involved in. It takes a group effort to make anything successful,” said Tim.
The family says they are humbled and proud to receive the award, but said that there are a lot of other farmers in the area who are just as deserving.