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Neary Family Farm Earns Heritage Award

By Staff | Oct 8, 2015

HERITAGE?FARM - The John Neary Farm was honored this Summer as an IOwa Heritage Farm by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Iowa Farm Bureau. Accepting the award were Neary family members, from left to right. Jim Neary, Bill Neary, Don Neary, Margaret (Neary)?Leonard and Joe Neary. The award was presented at the Iowa State Fair.

DES?MOINES – A Palo Alto County Farm was one of 101 farms honored as an Iowa Heritage Farm. The farm founded by John Neary was honored during ceremonies at the 2015 Iowa State Fair by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. Assisting Northey was Mike Naig, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, a 1996 graduate of Emmetsburg High School.

To qualify as an Iowa Heritage Farm or an Iowa Century Farm, a family must have owned at least 40 acres of farmland for 100 years or more for a Century Farm designation, and 150 years or longer of family ownership for a Heritage Farm declaration.

In 2015, a total of 366 Century Farms and 101 Heritage Farms were honored at the State Fair.

The John Neary family was one of the original seven families that founded Emmetsburg. John Neary settled near Emmetsburg and bought his first piece of ground in 1965. John’s son Patrick, was the second generation to farm; Patrick’s son Joseph was the third generation to farm; Joseph’s son Robert was the fourth generation to farm and the current farmer, Robert’s son Joe, is the fifth generation to farm the land.

Joe Neary, along with his brothers and sisters, are the owners of the Neary Family Farm. The ownership group are Bob Neary of Bethesda, MD; Bill Neary of Blair, NE; Jim Neary of Ames; Don Neary of Carroll and Margaret Leonard of Waverly.

The original farmhouse, with additions, is still used and loved by the Neary children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren today.

“Being able to recognize these farm families is one of my favorite days of the year,” noted Bill Northey. “This award is a tremendous celebration of the families who have cared for the land and raised the crops and livestock that helped build our state and feed the world. To own a farm for 150 years is a testament to the values of land stewardship, hard work, patience, dedication and perseverance that are found in Iowa’s farm families.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has partnered with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation since 1976 to recognize families that have owned and worked a farm for 100 years or more. Including this year’s recipients, more than 18.600 farms from across the state have been recognized.

The Heritage Farm program was started in 2006, on the 30th anniversary of the Century Farm Program. To date. 837 farms have been recognized for this honor.

The 2015 Century and Heritage Farms Program was held on Thursday, Aug. 20 in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair. Joe heinrich, Vice President of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and Northey recognized all the award recipients.

“This program acknowledges the deep roots of Iowa agriculture and the special bond that exists between Iowa families and the land they farm,”?Northey said. “The Iowa State Fair is a celebration of Iowa and Iowa Agriculture, so it’s a great place to recognize the Century Farm and Heritage Farm recipients.”