(Photo by Nancy Nelson)
Beverly Glienke of rural Aurelia received the surprise of her life when the Wallace Farmer magazine sent her a notice that she had been nominated and awarded the prestigious honor of Iowa Master Farm Homemaker (MFH) this past summer. She was one of four women from across the state who were awarded the honor.
To be awarded the honor a person must first be nominated with letters of support from community leaders and family members. Then the nominations are judged by a panel of three people who make the final choices of winners.
The women nominated usually take on thankless tasks on the farm and for their families because they know what needs to be done. These are the women who stay late to help paint the church, run for the school board, teach Sunday school or work behind the scenes in community organizations. Most of all they are farmers who are devoted to their families.
No one seems to fit this description better than Glienke. She has been married to Ernie Glienke for 46 years and they have raised four children, Brian, Dale, Keith, and Lois. The couple built their life around their 100 head Holstein Dairy Herd.
Glienke says, "Everything I did was to help her kids or promote agriculture." Since the couple operated one of the few dairy farms in Cherokee county they were often asked to give tours and present programs. The highlight of their farming career came in 2003 when the couple served as the agricultural stop for Sen. Chuck Grassley's Foreign Ambassador Tour.
She describe the event in the Wallace Farmer, "Down the gravel road came four highway patrol cars and three great big buses carrying people from 62 countries. I'll never forget the whole experience." The couple gave a tour of their farm and answered questions then served their guests nine kinds of homemade cookies, cheese curds, ice cream and milk.
In 2004 the couple then hosted eleven Russians who were interested in visiting an American dairy farm and treated them to a barbecue style lunch.
On a more local note, the couple annually hosts preschool children from their church, St. John's Lutheran. They are treated to ice cream following the tour and they have a great time.
When her ten grandchildren where in kindergarten she used to visit their class and teach the students about the dairy farm using a video and book. Now her daughter-in-law and two older grandchildren carry on the tradition by even taking a cow to school.
In addition to her role in promoting agriculture to the community and the world she has also been an important part of Farm Bureau and 4-H. Her leadership in Farm Bureau included serving as the Farm Bureau Cherokee County Women's leader for four years and District Three Women's leader on the State Farm Bureau Women's Committee for four years.
She has also served on the Cherokee County Fair Board for eight years, was a 4-H leader for nine years, and helped in many other capacities where children are concerned.
She has also been active in her church for 46 years and has been a part time secretary for them for 21 years. The couple are members of Gideon and she belongs to the Auxiliary. They also attend Bible study classes.
Glienke has instilled a sense of responsibilities, love of farming, and family into all four of her children who are now passing those same virtues onto her grandchildren. She always pitched in and helped do the work that needed to be done including many hours on machinery and she always kept the farm record books.
The couple's three sons are all now in production agriculture and the grandchildren frequently help on the farm. Her daughter wrote, "What greater statement of a master homemaker than a farm family legacy carried on to the next generation?"
Although the couple retired from farming in March, when they sold their 100 dairy cows and rented their land to their sons, Brian and Keith, the only differences they see are the fact that they don't get the milk check or the vet or feed bill anymore. Otherwise, they still rise and the crack of dawn and get busy with daily activities.