PAW PAW — A Bangor area couple who raises goats and produces cheese from their milk, has received the Farmer of the Year award from the Van Buren Conservation District.

Ron and Soo Klein of Windshadow Farm and Dairy in Bangor received the award at the conservation districts’s annual summer picnic, recently held at the Paw Paw Conservation Club in Paw Paw.

“Ron and Soo are giant advocates for safe farming practices and have participated in several programs with the Conservation District,” said A.J. Brucks, executive director of the Van Buren Conservation District.

The Kleins took the time to become verified in the Farmstead, Cropping, and Livestock systems of MAEAP (Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program). They also are certified Wildlife Friendly, the first to do so in Michigan, and are Certified Animal Welfare Approved.

“The Verification in MAEAP shows that Ron and Soo care about the environment, while the Wildlife Friendly certification and the Animal Welfare certification shows they are also concerned about the health and happiness of not only their herd of goats, but also the animals that live in the environment that their farm operates in,” said Kyle Mead, MAEAP Technician at the Van Buren Conservation District.

The Kleins raise approximately 150 goats on their 46-acre farm on County Road 681, just north of Bangor.

The conservation district also presented another award at its annual picnic. Buster Turner of Lawton received the Conservationist of the Year award for supporting the conservation district and its programs.

“Buster helps with the Tree Seedling Sale every April and with a twist of the arm he and his daughter Laura have put on an amazing spread for the last nine years of summer picnics,” Brucks said. “Buster is a dedicated resident with love and commitment to his community and is a truly genuine soul and friends of the Van Buren Conservation District.