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Clay County farm family receives award

By Renae B. Vander Schaaf

Date Modified: 09/23/2013 9:32 AM

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GREENVILLE, Iowa — Good farming practices don't go unnoticed.

Greg and Lola Wood and their son, Chris, have incorporated common sense conservation techniques on their Clay County farm.

The Woods are the Region 3 winner of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association award that highlights exceptional work done by cattle producers to protect and enhance the environment.

They will compete at the national ESAP title in Nashville in February. The other regional contestants are from Florida, Hawaii, Nebraska, Texas, Vermont and Wyoming.

"I was a bit surprised," said Greg Wood. "We went to Denver and were able to meet the other contestants. We all do something different, our cattle operations have different issues to deal with."

Bittersweet Angus is a purebred operation. Bulls and heifers are sold through private treaty.

The cattle rotationally graze through multiple pastures.

Greg Wood installed a solar water system 15 years ago to help save on rural water use. A shallow well was dug near a creek and and a culvert was embedded in pea rock.

"It was designed to be used year-round," said Greg Wood. "No heat is used, yet it does not freeze in our cold winters."

Wood has helped other cattlemen install similar systems.

The Wood farmland once was in a corn/soybean rotation.

"With the land now in forage production, we see no erosion problems at all," said Greg Wood. "There are more earthworms and the structure of the soil has more porous ability to take in moisture."

Since the program's inception in 1991, Iowa Cattlemen's Association members have won 15 regional awards and three national ones.

NCBA developed the program to recognize producers who make environmental stewardship a priority on their farms and ranches while also improving production and profitability.