Farming Felts of Adel win state fair’s 2018 Way We Live Award

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Iowa State Fair Board of Directors President John Harms of Monticello, left, and WHO Big Show host Andy Petersen present the 2018 Way We Live Award Thursday to the Felt family of Waukee, from left, David Felt, Jenny Felt, Cody Felt and Mackenzie Felt. Not pictured is Marissa Felt. Photo courtesy ‎Carole Schlapkohl‎

Adel Century Farm farmers David and Jenny Felt and family were recognized Thursday morning on the first day of the Iowa State Fair as one of 10 recipients of the 2018 Way We Live Award.

The Felts were honored in an award ceremony on the Christensen Farm Stage in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center. Presenting the award were Iowa State Fair Board of Directors President John Harms of Monticello and WHO Big Show host Andy Petersen.

“The Felt family has always had a passion for agriculture,” said Jenny Felt, the clan’s matriarch. “David became a partner in Felt Family Farms after moving home in 1991, making him a fourth-generation farmer.”

Louis Felt immigrated to the U.S. from Germany and bought the 115 acres that became today’s Felt Family Farm in 1906. His son, Earl Felt, was soon helping on the farm, including running a dairy operation during the depths of the Great Depression.

Earl’s sons, Dick and Bill Felt, continued with the dairy herd until the 1970s and then moved into a 400-head cattle feedlot. Dick’s son, David, today runs a diversified operation, with 350 acres of corn, beans and alfalfa and a 350-head feedlot. Dick and David also raised layers for Hy-Line International for more than 20 years.

David and Jenny have three children, Mackenzie, 23, Marissa, 20, and Cody, 14. This fifth generation of Felts has deep roots in 4-H and FFA, and their commitment to livestock production is strong. Cody recently showed his prize-winning livestock at the Dallas County Fair in spite of a badly broken arm.

The Felt youngsters learned their work ethic and love of the farm from their parents. From working a Century Farm and winning awards for land stewardship to holding board positions in the community and being trustees in Adel and Van Meter townships and 4-H leaders, David and Jenny Felt are real-world embodiments and spokespersons for the agribusiness industry.

“David has said many times he wants to leave this land better than he found it for the next generation,” said Jenny Felt. Her husband’s seat on the Dallas Soil and Water Conservation District Commission is further proof of that sentiment.

Established in 2009 and sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, Iowa Farmer Today and the WHO Big Show, the Way We Live Award recognizes Iowa families for their hard work and love of farming. Each family exemplifies a dedication to animal agriculture and strong farm values.

Entrants for the Way We Live Award were asked to submit a short essay describing how the occupation of farming and living on a farm has shaped their lives. Ten families were chosen out of some 40 entries from a variety of livestock commodities and areas in Iowa. Along with the Felts, 2018 Way We Live Award winners were:

Nick and Katie Hermanson of Story City, Mick and Tricia Schwager of Bellevue, Dave and Becky Wolf of Scranton, John and Jodi Koop of Kamrar, Tom and Kaitlin Geake of Wall Lake,  Gale and Colleen VanAernam of Exira, Andy and Lisa Hurd of Nemaha, Jerry and Cynthia Poots of Newton and Wayne and Char DeMeulenaere of Hartwick.

Each Way We Live Award-winning family received a $250 prize package, complimentary Iowa State Fair admission tickets and free parking, various coupons and ceremonial recognition in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center during the Fair.

For more information on past award winners or the current 2018 Way We Live Award winning families, visit the Way We Live Award website.

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