Since Craig Church and Gladie Schott met as youth participants at the Howard County Fair, it was natural for 4-H to remain a vital part of their family life. They joined Craig’s parents in their farm operation and raised four children.
As dairy farmers, Craig and Gladie have been strong supporters of the 4-H dairy project in Northeast Iowa. They gave one-on-one assistance to several dairy youth, whether teaching to clip cattle, practicing showmanship, transporting cattle to a regional show or helping at local shows. For larger groups, they hosted dairy judging practice and fitting workshops on their farm. Craig and Gladie gave continual support to their children’s 4-H projects and leadership activities, with two of their children named Iowa 4-H Dairy Award winners.
Gladie served as leader of the Cresco Merrymakers girls’ club for 14 years. This club was a model setting for youth to develop life skills. Gladie helped officers grow their leadership skills and expected members to serve on committees. Other emphasis areas were communication skills through presentations and learning through hands-on workshops. After Gladie stepped aside as club leader, she continued to organize county-wide sewing workshops.
Gladie is also a renowned 4-H exhibit judge at several county fairs and club achievement shows. She is comfortable evaluating a variety of project areas and enjoys the on-on-one visits and teaching moments with 4-Hers.
The Church’s can also be credited with inspiring other adults to become 4-H volunteers. When Howard County aimed to start a county dairy judging team, Craig thought of a recent dairy science graduate for the coaching role. As the Cresco Merrymakers club leader, Gladie encouraged other parents to become project leaders and later become general leader. Likewise, Craig and Gladie stepped up to help when asked. In 1998 they hosed an IFYE exchange student from Switzerland who was interested in dairy farming. They are a 4-H 400 donor to the Iowa 4-H Foundation.
In recent years, Gladie has dedicated countless hours to the Howard County 4-H Alumni Group. Gladie was on the founding committee in 2007 and continues to serve this group which raises funds for 4-H activities and inspires alumni involvement.
Craig and Gladie own and operate Oak Knob Guernsey Farm with over 100 registered cows and over 130 young stock. Farming 300 acres, they also raise corn, beans, alfalfa and other forages for the dairy herd. The fourth generation is now involved on the farm.
The Church’s have also served their church and dairy organizations like Howard County DHI (Dairy Herd Improvement) and Iowa Guernsey Breeders Association.
Craig and Gladie have instilled the values of leadership and service to their four children. Craig and Gladie are blessed with nine grandchildren, ages 2 to 12, with the three being active 4-H members and a fourth will be joining this fall.