Grinnell Lions Club honors Van Arkel family of Malcom with the 2021 Jim Urfer Spirit of Farming Award
The Dave and Tracee Van Arkel family was honored with the 2021 Jim Urfer Spirit of Farming Award at Grinnell Ag Days on Aug. 26. Pictured in this family photo is from left, front row: Zach and his wife, Grace, holding their son, Henry, Katee holding her daughter, Lynlee, Tracee and Dave. Back row: Katee’s sons, Ross and Vance.
Dave and Tracee Van Arkel have been chosen for the 2021 Jim Urfer Spirit of Farming Award because of the family's notable contribution to good farming practices, resource management, conservation, and community involvement.
The Van Arkel farming operation started in 1952 when Dave's parents, James and Doris Van Arkel, purchased the home farm three miles west of Malcom. Dave and Tracee's son, Zach, joined the family operation in 2015, making him the third generation to farm the 1,800 acre family-owned farm. Over time, they have raised cows, hogs, and sheep. Most of their acres are no-till with increasing emphasis on cover crops. They also have CPR acres as part of their operation. They continue to do their own tiling and conservation work.
“While we are very honored to receive this award, it is also really a tribute to my mom and dad and our extended family,” said Dave. “My mom passed away in 2010 and my dad in 2018. So our family has just gone through a generational transition which can often be divisive. But thanks to the understanding and sacrifices of my brother, sister, sister-in-law, and two nieces, we were able to keep my mom and dad's dream of an ongoing family farm unit alive.”
Dave and Tracee's family consists of son, Zach and his wife, Grace, and son, Henry. Grace works as an agronomist for Bayer Crop Science. They have a daughter, Katee, who lives in Ashland, Mo., with her children, Ross, Vance, and Lynlee. Tracee has recently retired as a school counselor and is starting on the Iowa Citizens Foster Care Review Board for Poweshiek County.
Both Dave and Tracee volunteered at this year's Grinnell Food Coalition, and both are active members of the Grinnell United Methodist Church. Dave has taught Sunday School for more than 20 years, and both he and Tracee have been youth group counselors.
Both are members of the Farm Bureau and continue to support the Poweshiek County 4-H/FFA Fair.
Please congratulate them on continuing to operate the family farm begun by Dave's parents and making a difference in the Grinnell community.
The Jim Urfer Spirit of Farming Award
The Jim Urfer Spirit of Farming Award is named for the late Jim Urfer, the long-time Grinnell Implement Case I-H dealer, who was a charter member of Grinnell Ag Appreciation Day. The award is on display at Grinnell Implement. A new Jim Urfer Spirit of Farming Award recipient is determined each year by the Grinnell Lions Club. Winners are selected based on criteria that emphasize good farming practices, resource management, conservation and community involvement. The award has been in place since 2013.
Dave Van Arkel of Rural Malcom shares a word with those gathered at the Grinnell Lions Ag Appreciation Day on Thursday, Aug. 26 after he and his family received the Jim Urfer Spirit of Farming honor.