This year, the Iowa State Fair selected six family farms to honor with 2017 Way We Live Awards. Jeff and Barb Hansen of Dallas Center and their daughters were among the six families and received their Way We Live Award in the Animal Learning Center at the Iowa State Fair on Friday, Aug. 18.

The Iowa State Fair’s website said that families were chosen “based on their dedication to agriculture and their strong Iowa farm values.” Each entrant had to submit a short essay describing how the occupation of farming and living on a farm has shaped their lives.

“We had to explain how our family got into farming as an occupation and how dad choosing farming as his occupation affected our lives and growing up as children,” said Sarah Hansen, one of Jeff and Barb’s daughters.

“And how we’ve wanted to stay into the farming because of that and how we were raised on a farm like that,” said Kate Tluch, another one of Jeff and Barb’s daughters.

Sarah had them nominated for the award after hearing about it in an email from Barb earlier this year. They all took part in writing the essay.

“I just thought this would be an awesome opportunity to display about our family farm and let people know what diversity we have and what diversity they can have,” Sarah said. “It doesn’t take someone special. It just takes someone with some love and hard work.”

The Hansen Family Farm raises beef cattle and farrow-to-finish hogs, the grow corn, grass hay, soy beans and alfalfa.

Barb said that she liked that the Fair was recognizing farmers.

“I like that the fair is honoring farmers in general and educating the public on what real farmers are like, what a real farm is,” Barb said. “I think there’s some misconceptions.”

Jeff said that he wanted to show that small family farms can still be successful.

“I would just say that a small family farm can exist and thrive today, and that it’s just neat to show that you can raise your kids up in a family farm and you can still be active in your community, and things are okay,” Jeff said.

Sarah said she was thankful to the State Fair for giving out The Way We Live Awards and Jeff and Barb expressed the pride they felt for what they did.

“It’s not for anything other than we enjoy what we do,” Jeff said.

“He’s always said he gets to farm, he doesn’t have to farm,” Barb added.

“I knew what I wanted to do since I could walk,” Jeff said.