August 26, 2023 at 8:00 a.m.
A good neighbor indeed
CLARKSVILLE, Iowa — Not many dairy farm families include community band members, a substitute teacher and a bed and breakfast host. But those are just some of the reasons the Bolin family of New Day Dairy near Clarksville was presented with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award Aug. 3.
The award, sponsored by a partnership of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers and “The Big Show” on WHO Radio, recognizes Iowa livestock farmers. Since its inception 20 years ago, 176 farm families have been honored.
Dave and Pam Bolin, and their son, Dan, and his wife, Lynn, are the first farmers from Butler County to be recognized with the award. They are the 19th dairy farmers to be selected.
“The nomination happened somehow behind by back,” Dave said. “It was the Butler County Farm Bureau board who did it, and since I’m on the board, I’m not sure how they pulled it off.”
But pull it off they did, submitting the family because of their history in the community and beyond. While the Bolins have received other awards, this one was special.
“You can’t be a good neighbor if you don’t have good neighbors,” Pam said. “We have good neighbors, and this (award) is important because it was chosen by the people we live next to. It’s pretty humbling.”
“It’s definitely an honor, and we’re thankful,” Lynn said. “But we are definitely not unique in taking great care of animals and the land and being good neighbors. People in Iowa should definitely nominate their farmer neighbors.”
New Day Dairy LLC was formed when Dan and Lynn returned to the farm and a new facility was built in 2015. It features guest facilities attached to the barn where 120 cows are milked with a robotic milking system. Visitors can watch the daily workings of the dairy from windows in what the Bolins call the Guest Barn and learn more about dairying from special opportunities during their stay.
New Day Dairy’s roots trace back to Dave’s great-grandfather, who sold the cows until Dan began milking again at age 13. Pam also grew up in the neighborhood.
It is Dave who serves as a substitute teacher in between his farm duties. Pam works closely with the church youth, and they both play in Clarksville’s band. Dan is the primary operator of the dairy, while Lynn manages the Guest Barn, and she and Dan are also active in the community.
All four have served in agricultural roles beyond the community, and combined with local involvement, their connections have become broad.
Many of those connections were present for the award presentation, which took place at New Day Dairy. Mike Naig, Iowa’s secretary of agriculture, made the presentation, but the audience included people from congressional offices, local chambers of commerce, the rural electric co-op, FFA chapters, Wartburg College in Waverly, Silos and Smokestacks, and the local grocery store, among others.
WHO radio broadcast “The Big Show” live during the event.
It was Lynn who made sure people with connections to the farm were among the roughly 125 who gathered. Family members from near and far were in attendance, including her mother and a friend, as well as Minnesotans who had coincidentally booked the Guest Barn for that weekend.
“Because we’re so unique and (the farm) has a cross section of food and tourism, it was fun to see people from various connections see what we do,” Lynn said. “Some people knew each other, but I loved seeing them interact. We were able to show some people around the farm who otherwise wouldn’t have had an opportunity to come.”
Those people, not surprisingly, included neighbors who helped with preparations.
One of the lasting mementos included in the award is a bur oak tree that has been planted in Dan and Lynn’s yard. Its characteristics are durability, good shade, hardworking and long lasting.
Just like a good neighbor.
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