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ATLANTIC, Iowa - Mick Sager gave up full-time farming two decades ago. But he and his wife, LaVon, wanted to preserve a rural way of life for their growing family.
Predawn calf feeding, raising and selling their own livestock and sometimes seeing animals they care for die have made the four Sager children more resilient and physically fit than their city-dwelling peers, Mick Sager said.
"It's just nice to be able to grow up doing these things," he said. "Instead of staying in the house and playing video games, they grow up doing this."
Said daughter Jordan, 21: "Living on the farm teaches you work ethic. Out here you are getting your hands dirty."
The Sagers are one of six Iowa farm families being honored with "The Way We Live Award" this year at the Iowa State Fair.