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Master Farmers: Ann and Marlyn Jorgensen are among most recent 'Wallaces Farmer' honorees.

Marlyn and Ann Jorgensen, of Garrison, have been named Iowa Master Farmers by Wallaces Farmer magazine. They are among four Iowa farm families that were recognized during ceremonies in West Des Moines on March 19. The other families are Roy and Phyllis Bardole, of Rippey; Brian and Cindy Kemp, of Sibley; and Gene and Marita Rouse, of Huxley.

The Iowa Master Farmer Award was initiated in 1926 by then editor Henry A. Wallace. Deserving Iowa farm families have been recognized every year since with the exception of 1932-37 – during the Great Depression; during World War II from 1942-45; and in 1962. The 2014 selections bring the total to 441 Iowans who have been honored since 1926.

Marlyn and Ann Jorgensen have been outstanding leaders for Iowa and U.S. agriculture for nearly four decades. They married while in college at ISU. Marlyn worked briefly for ISU Extension; the couple moved to northeast Iowa and rented a farm, then moved to Benton County in 1967 to begin farming where Ann grew up.

Marlyn and Ann bought the farm from Ann’s parents and formed a legal partnership (Jorg Anna Farms), which still exists. Marlyn handles the production and Ann the financial side, including marketing. They raised four children – Christopher, Peter, Tim and Jennifer. They once produced 10,000 farrow-to-finish hogs, and Marlyn was named an Iowa Master Pork Producer.

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Today, Tim does the farming with help from Marlyn. The farm still grows corn and soybeans, using soil-saving no-till, minimum till, terraces, contouring and a number of other conservation practices. Marlyn has served on local, state and national boards. A past president of the American Soybean Association, he served on the Iowa Soybean Association board for 16 years. He was elected to the ASA board in 1983 and served until 1992, and was ASA president in 1989-90. He helped establish the national soybean checkoff, and in 1995 received ASA’s highest honor, the ASA Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 1997 Marlyn partnered with two neighboring farmers to start Iowa Soy Specialties, a local soybean processing company. “We wanted to make soy foods for human consumption,” Marlyn explains. “We shipped our product all over the U.S. and secured 33 local investors, mostly farmers, who received a great return on their investment when we sold the company four years later.”

The Jorgensens are active church members: Marlyn has held offices in the Benton County Farm Bureau, Garrison Lions Club, and other service organizations.

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By: Matthew Purdy on March 26th 3:40pm

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