Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig presented the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award today to Jolene Riessen and sons, owners of LeeCorr Inc., on Tuesday, Aug. 9, in Holstein at 11:00 a.m.
Based outside of Ida Grove, this generational family farm has been in the Riesen family for 80 years and is owned and operated by Jolene Riessen and her sons, Cory and Lee. Her husband Jeff was also very active in the operation prior to his passing three years ago. The family grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa and has a cow-calf operation and feedlot. Agriculture and farming have been the center of Jolene’s life for so long she says she can’t imagine doing anything else.
“Jolene and her family are great examples of the legacy and innovation embodied by the family farms that make up the fabric of our state,” said Secretary Naig. “Their dedication to conservation, animal care and their community make them leaders in Iowa agriculture, and I am honored to present them with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award.”
The farm has implemented a variety of conservation practices including waterways, terraces and no-till. A winter wheat cover crop has also been grown on most of the farm’s acres for the past ten years and is chopped or baled to use as cattle feed. Strategic nutrient management is another important component of the Riessens’ conservation efforts. They only move manure and apply anhydrous in the fall and were one of the first families in Ida County to use Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding to improve their feedlot.
In addition to their commitment to environmental stewardship, the Riessen family prioritizes high quality animal husbandry for their cattle. They use feed sheets for all cattle rations to maximize rate of gain and feed efficiency. Lee walks the pens multiple times each day and is in constant contact with their veterinarian about animal health. The Riessens are also Beef Quality Assurance Plus certified, further ensuring their ability to provide top-notch animal care.
Beyond the farm, Jolene is very active in her community. She was recently elected to serve on the Iowa Corn Growers Association Board, is an Ida County Soil Conservation Board Commissioner and is an Iowa Soybean Association District Advisory Council member. Jolene is also active in her local Pheasants Forever chapter and is a Galva City Committee member.
The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is made possible by 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 Big Show farm broadcaster who helped create the award.