VanAernam Family Receives 2018 Iowa State Fair "Way We Live" Award

DES MOINES, IA (07/13/2018) (readMedia)-- Gale and Colleen VanAernam of Exira, Iowa will be recognized as one of 10 recipients of The Way We Live Award at the 2018 Iowa State Fair. The family will be honored in an award ceremony on Friday, August 17 at 11:30 a.m. on the Christensen Farm Stage in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center.

The Way We Live Award recognizes Iowa families for their hard work and love of farming. Each family exemplifies a dedication to animal agriculture and strong farm values. Each entrant was asked to submit a short essay describing how the occupation of farming and living on a farm has shaped their life. Ten families were chosen out of forty entries from a variety of commodities and areas in Iowa.

Gale and Colleen VanAernam have farmed for more than 50 years raising crops and purebred Simmetal cattle in Audubon County. Corn and soybeans have been the primary crops, while the livestock has always included cattle; the family has also raised hogs and now raises boer goats. Gale joined 4-H in 1955 and went on to become a club leader and served as county livestock superintendent for over 20 years. County Fair and the Iowa State Fair hold a special place for the VanAernam family where Gale and Colleen had their first date and now spend two weeks camping at the Fair each year. Their farming operation has always allowed them to focus on the next generation, just as their father, grandfather and great grandfather did. They believe it's a blessing to see the sixth generation of the family work the land, tend the livestock and live on what will soon be a Heritage Farm.

The Way We Live Award is sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, Iowa Farmer Today and the WHO Big Show. The award started in 2009 has recognized 62 outstanding Iowa farm families so far. Each award winning family receives a prize package of $250, complimentary admission tickets, free parking, various coupons and recognition in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center during the Fair.

For more information on past award winners or the current 2018 Way We Live Award winning families, visit

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Frequently ranked as one of the top events in the country, the Iowa State Fair is the single largest event in the state of Iowa and one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the country. Annually attracting more than a million people from all over the world, the Iowa State Fair located at East 30th and East University, just 10 minutes from downtown Des Moines is Iowa's greatest celebration with a salute to the best in agriculture, industry, entertainment and achievement. "Nothing Compares" to Iowa State Fair Moments, August 9-19, 2018. For more information, visit