PRIMGHAR—Daryl and Alyda Haack never expected to be honored for how they live their life.
The rural Primghar couple received the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award during a ceremony on Sept. 3 at Baxterz Bar & Grill in downtown Primghar.
“It’s a real honor,” Daryl said. “I don’t think we do anything different than most of the people around here do.”
About 60 people attended the ceremony, including the Haacks’ son Joshua and several of their friends.
“I feel like anyone there that celebrated with us could’ve earned that award,” Alyda said. “They’re all really good people that care about people.”
The Haacks are the first O’Brien County residents to receive the recognition and the 149th Iowa family honored during the 15-year history of the award.
The honor recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in caring for the environment, taking care of their livestock and being good neighbors.
Iowa secretary of agriculture Mike Naig was on hand to present the award to Daryl and Alyda, who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Dec. 23.
“Since the Haack farm was established over 100 years ago, the family has evolved their farming practices to keep their land sustainable for many years to come,” Naig said.
“The family knows the importance of taking care of the land while being involved in the community, making them deserving of the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award,” he said.
Daryl and Alyda have lived less than a mile east of Primghar since the mid-1970s and own farmland across O’Brien County.
Farmland the Haacks own about 15 miles west of their rural residence has been in Daryl’s family since 1918.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship recognized the Haacks’ operation as an Iowa Century Farm last year.
Joshua, who retired in 2017 after serving for 24 years in the U.S. Air Force, is continuing the family tradition as a fourth-generation farmer.
Daryl and Alyda used to own a cow-calf herd and feeder cattle and are part owners of a two-building confinement site near Gaza where about 4,000 hogs are contract-fed.
The Haacks are focused on caring for their land so it can provide for the next generation.
They have four adult sons — Scott, Joshua, Michael and Christopher — and nine grandchildren.
Daryl and Alyda’s row-crop operation grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa. They strip-till corn and no-till soybeans.
The Haacks’ implementation of buffer strips and Conservation Reserve Program ground allows them to farm productively while conserving Iowa’s natural resources.
“We’re just trying to leave the ground as good or better than it was when we started farming,” Daryl said.
Daryl serves on the O’Brien County Farm Bureau Board of Directors. The Primghar-based organization nominated him and Alyda for the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award.
He also serves on the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Board of Directors and the Little Sioux Corn Processors Board of Directors.
Daryl also has been a member of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and the National Corn Growers Association Board in the past.
He was honored in 2006 with the O’Brien County Value-Added Agriculture Steering Committee’s Agriculture Hall of Fame Award.
Daryl remembered helping out neighboring farmers several times in the past, especially during harvest season.
“There used to be more of this where a neighbor would get sick and you would go help him harvest,” he said. “That doesn’t happen so much anymore.
“Farms have gotten bigger and there are two or three people involved, so if one of them gets sick, the rest of them pitch in and do it,” he said.
As for the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, the Haacks were humbled by the honor.
“I don’t feel like we’re deserving of it,” Alyda said. “I just think there are so many people out there that are good neighbors that could’ve had this award.”