Green Ridge Family Farm of Weldon, Iowa, was one of five farms across the United States to receive U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award during the 2022 International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta. U.S. Poultry & Egg
Association (USPOULTRY) sponsors the annual awards in recognition of exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production.
Applicants were rated in several categories, including manure management, nutrient management planning, community involvement, wildlife enhancement techniques, innovative nutrient management techniques, and participation in education and outreach programs. Applications were reviewed and farm visits conducted by a team of environmental professionals from universities, regulatory agencies and state poultry associations.
Arlyn and Sue Kauffman and their five children care for 20,000 cage-free, pasture-raised hens that produce about 400K-500K dozen specialty eggs annually for the table-egg market in California. The hens are fed a non-GMO diet with locally-sourced corn, soy and small grains grown on the Kauffman’s farm and neighboring farms. The Kauffmans also grow wheat, rye, oats and alfalfa on their 240-acre farm. Typically, half the production acres are in alfalfa and grass. They also have a small herd of goats and cows. Their hope is to eventually “get rid of the haying equipment and transition to a Savory Institute
styled grazing system, once the children are just a little older.” In addition, the family raises vegetables in a no-till garden that uses mulch-based weed control and compost to provide organic matter and nutrients.
The Kauffmans are in the design phase of a quarter mile tree buffer on their farm, mainly to restore habitat lost while clearing fence rows. Arlyn and his family have also constructed terraces on their fields to reduce erosion. They practice 100% no-till and 100% cover crop farming. Nearly 100% of their energy needs have been met through the installation of solar panels.
As a member of Iowa Poultry Association’s environmental committee and Practical Farmers of Iowa, Arlyn and Sue engage in meetings and conferences to address issues that affect Iowa’s soil health and water quality. In addition, Arlyn and his family host cover crop workshops and open their farm to FFA students and other groups, including activists, to help everyone better understand sustainable farming and the egg production industry. Arlyn and Sue are recipients of the Good Farm Neighbor Award in Iowa as well as the Iowa Governor’s Environmental Leadership Award. The laying hen component of their operation is certified through the American Humane Farm Program and Certified Farm Animal Care.
Jarod Morrison, CFO of Farbest Foods and treasurer for the USPOULTRY board of directors, presented the award to Arlyn and Sue Kauffman.