The Woodard family of rural Winona has been working for well over a decade to maintain a healthy, profitable dairy herd.   Jimmy and Michelle Woodard have learned to be better business managers, have expanded their dairy and have spent countless hours and a large investment to get their farm’s feedlot in compliance.  For these and many other reasons, the Woodards were named this month’s winner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Good Farm Neighbor Award.

Today the Woodard’s operation includes a milk house waste system with water filtration and curbing around the entire feedlot to capture all runoff.  

“When we bought the farm in 1998 we had our first mandatory feedlot inspection,” Jimmy Woodard said. “We’ve done everything we can since then to meet state and local environmental regulations.”

Woodard says he and his family are also doing their part to be respectful of new neighbors that move out to the country.  They have an “open door” policy and invite people to visit the farm by hosting dairy judging practices for the FFA and 4-H teams as well as facilitating school field trips for a range of students from kindergarten classes to high school agriculture classes.

“We try to respect their reasons for moving out here and we hope they’ll gain an understanding of what we do and return that respect,” says Woodard.   

Winners of the MDA’s Good Farm Neighbor Award are selected by a committee representing the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the MDA.

Award nominations can be emailed to or mailed to Good Farm Neighbor Award, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, 625 North Robert Street, St. Paul, Minnesota, 55155.  A nomination form can be downloaded here.

Source: Minnesota Department of Agriculture