Secretary Naig to Present the Struthers Family with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award

May 16, 2024

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will present the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to the Chuck and Kay Struthers Family of Story County during an event on Friday, May 17 at 11:00 a.m. The presentation of the award will take place at the family’s farm, located at 29885 730th Ave, Collins. 

“Cattle, crop production and conservation have made Chuck and Kay Struthers well respected farmers, but it is their care for and commitment to their neighbors which has made them a foundation of the Collins community,” said Secretary Naig. “Iowa is a great place to call home because we have farm families like the Struthers who go above and beyond to serve and support those around them. I am pleased to present the Struthers Family with the Good Farm Neighbor Award.”

Chuck and Kay Struthers were married in 1968 and immediately started farming the land that Chuck’s dad had been farming since 1939. Today, now more than five decades later, CKS Gelbvieh is a multi-generational family farm that also includes their son, Chad, and daughter-in-law, Merinda. Chuck and Kay have two daughters, Jenifer and Kyla, and six grandchildren. 

Early on, the family owned a flock of 200 to 300 head of sheep. However, the landlord of the acreage they rented asked them to switch to cattle since that is what the farm’s facilities were designed for. Shortly after, they sold all the sheep and purchased cattle. That decision ignited a lifelong love of and passion for the Gelbvieh breed of cattle. The couple have been leaders in state and national breed associations and have both been inducted into the state and national Gelbvieh halls of fame. 

CKS Gelbvieh became one of the first farms in the United States to import Gelbvieh genetics from Germany in the early 1970s. Over the years, the Struthers have since shipped cattle from their genetic line to 38 states as well as Canada and Taiwan. They were an early adopter of innovative practices, including artificial insemination and embryo transplantation. They strive to always use the top bull in the breed to continue to develop and enhance the breed. All of their cattle are registered, and they keep their EPDs (expected progeny difference) up to date to ensure they are making informed genetic choices. The Struthers maintain a good working relationship with their veterinarian and are proud to offer cattle with superior herd health. 

In addition to the cattle, the farm also raises corn, soybeans and hay. Environmental stewardship is important as they utilize proven conservation practices to protect their natural resources, including the soil and water. Most crop acres are mulch tilled or no tilled, and manure is applied at an agronomically appropriate rate on fields that can best utilize it. They have installed terraces, grass waterways and filter strips and implement rotational grazing on their pasture acres. They use rye as a cover crop, which is aerially seeded in late summer and then grazed by the cattle after the grain crops are harvested.

The Struthers are very committed to their community. Chuck was named Story County “Cattleman of the Year” in recent years. They are active members of the Collins United Methodist Church where Chuck has been the Board Chairman for many years and Kay runs the day-to-day operations. Chuck is a founding, and active, member of the recently established Collins Historical Society. Chuck and Kay have both been asked to serve as Grand Marshals in the Collins Days Parade. 

The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is made possible through a partnership with the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF), The Big Show on WHO Radio, and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Now in its 20th year, this award recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in caring for the environment and their livestock while also being good neighbors. It is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.

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