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HUNGER RELIEF for Iowa Families 30 tons of pork 110 communities 292,320 servings We know parents in financial need may face even more difficulty providing complete and nutritious meals to their children during summer months when school lunch programs are not available. Haul Out Hunger continues the long-standing efforts of Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation to support our local food pantries and community shelves while highlighting and building awareness of food insecurity issues in Iowa. Throughout June, Iowa Select Farms employees delivered over 30 tons—1,015 cases of pork—to 110 Iowa communities, providing 292,320 servings of nutritious pork for families in need. Thank you to all of our food pantry partners for your dedication and commitment to making our communities stronger.


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Leaders in pork industry focus on hunger relief


Giving back The company’s community outreach, the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation, according to the company, is a focus on rural areas of Iowa where their farmers live and work, with one of the main goals of the foundation being hunger relief. Haul out Hunger, Power Snack program, Operation Christmas Meal and the Pork Care Package program are the projects that make up the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation.

son said, is an effort which has grown to annually donating over 30 tons to more than 100 rural Iowa food pantries. “We deliver in June when kids are out of school and families have more mouths to feed,” said Sorenson. Power Snack Program The Power Snack Program provides ingredients for kids to make their own “Power Snacks” such as ham sandwiches made out of deli ham and whole wheat bread. This program, according to the company, helps 18,000 Iowa children that are on a free or reduced lunch, providing the means for 48 free ham sandwiches. Sorenson said the Power Snack program provides each child’s family four pounds of deli ham and four loaves of whole wheat bread. Included with the food, is a “Protein Power” booklet that provides recipes such as how to make the perfect ham sandwich, scrambled eggs and ham, grilled ham and cheese, ham wraps, ham pizza snacks and ham, cheese and crackers.

Operation Christmas Meal Operation Christmas Meal is an annual holiday tradition. This event is held each December at the Iowa State Fairgrounds where Iowa Select Farms distributes 5,000 -Submitted photo 4 1/2-pound pork loins to food insecure families. Last year, Sorenson said Jeff Hansen started iowa select farms back in 1992. He and his wife, deb Hansen together fund the “deb and Jeff Hansen foundation” where their focus Haul out Hunger is helping to combat hunger in iowa’s rural areas. Haul Out Hunger, SorenSee HanSenS Page3C FERTILIZER APPLICATION


IOWA FALLS – If you would mention Jeff or Deb Hansen’s name while talking about the pork industry in Iowa, those names may not ring a bell. But, bring up Iowa Select Farms and most likely, people will know who you are talking about. The Hansens started Iowa Select Farms 26 years ago and they are currently the largest pork producer in the state of Iowa and the fifth largest in the United States. Jeff Hansen, president and CEO, founder and owner of Iowa Select Farms is a thirdgeneration family farmer from Iowa Falls. After marrying Deb, they converted an old barn for farrowing and bought used farrowing crates for $35 each. The couple then purchased three sows from the local sale barn and started their farrowing operation. After growing their herd to 50 sows, Jeff Hansen said they sought better equipment to reduce labor and modernize their farm. They did this by incorporating raised decks for the sows and also began selling the flooring system to area producers. Soon thereafter, Modern Hog Concepts was founded, and that was just the beginning. Today, the equipment supply company has grown to include manufacturing facilities and offers producers across the Midwest custom or turnkey building packages. Fast forward to 1992. Jeff

Hansen said he had a vision to build his own farms and soon Iowa Select Farms was born. “His dream was to build a farming business that would produce high quality pork while benefiting Iowa through job and economic growth,” said Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms. Today, Iowa Select Farms is a privately-owned, Iowa farming business with 800 farms in 50 counties and according to the company, is one of the leading economic engines to Iowa’s rural communities. “If you make up your mind about what you want, don’t let anyone discourage you,” said Jeff Hansen. “No matter how high the hurdles are, there’s always a way – even if it means reinventing something to make things better.”




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Continued from Page 2C

the foundation launched 12 regional Operation Christmas Meals and they also have plans to select new communities, all in rural areas where Iowa Select Farms has a presence, each year. Operation Christmas Meal is a group effort. “More than 120 Iowa Select Farms employees hand out the fresh loins during a unique live, on-site radio broadcast featuring WHO Radio personalities Van Harden and Bonnie Lucas of the Van and Bonnie in the Morning Show,� said Sorenson. “The

project is a joint effort by all to assist in bringing struggling families together for a nutritious holiday dinner.� Prior to the event Iowa Select Farms’ employees invite families who are part of organizations such as Children and Family Services, Bethel Mission, Hope Ministries, United Way, Joppa Outreach, Food Bank of Iowa, Iowa Food Bank Association and others to come to the fairgrounds to pick up a pork loin. “When I look out and see hundreds of cars, it really brings an awareness of the

world outside our window, of hunger and hungry people,� said Deb Hansen. “We’re here to give back, and make Christmas a little brighter for these families.� “It’s in the DNA of Iowa farmers,� said Jeff Hansen. “Growing up as third generation farmers and in the early years of Iowa Select Farms, we always did what we could to help people. It warms all of our hearts to be able to do Operation Christmas Meal every year.�

Pork Care Package Program Jeff and Deb Hansen also founded the Pork Care Package Program. This program serves 12,000 Iowa members of the Armed Services. They re-Submitted photo ceive, Sorenson said a package containing $40 worth of coupons good for Deb Hansen is shown here during the operation various pork products, in- Christmas meal event. cluding fresh pork, ham, The Deb and Jeff Hansen foundation alribs, bacon and ground pork as well as a so provides $250,000 to assist in the escookbook and seasoning packets. “Supplying the resources for several tablishment of the Cancer and Blood Dishome-cooked meals that helps bring fam- orders Center at Blank’s Children’s Hospiilies together is just one way we say thank tal in Des Moines as well as an additional you to the men and women who sacrifice donation of $250,000 to assist in the creso much while protecting our freedom,� ation of Children’s Cancer Connection’s Hansen Home for Hope. said Sorenson. The Pork Care Packages are delivered A career in agriculture to all units of the Iowa National Guard, Whether offering advice to young peoalong with the 123nd Fighter Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard; 185th Air Re- ple looking for a good career fit, Jeff fueling Wing, Iowa Air National Guard; Hansen encourages them to consider agri-Submitted photo U.S. Army Reserves; U.S. Navy Reserves culture. “There is not better industry to be in than May 9, 1993, iowa select farms welcomed its first litter of pigs at Cadillac sow and U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. The Pork Care Packages are also sent to agriculture,� he said. Whether it is row farm, otherwise known as sow 1. Located outside of Blairsburg, this brand new the Iowa National Guard’s Survivor Out- crops or livestock, ag is the way to go. Exsow farm was the first of many to come. reach Services to deliver to 600 Iowa fam- plore all of the options. Check out the young farmer programs.� ilies of fallen soldiers.

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Cecil Rueter: ‘I have stood the test of time’ By KRISS NELSON

GRAND JUNCTION — In 1951, Massey-Harris had a new generation of tractors and a new implement dealer in Grand Junction. Cecil Rueter had gotten out of the service and, after spending time working on the railroad in Chicago and later as a real estate agent in California, made his way back to his hometown of Grand Junction and began working for an implement dealer in Jefferson. “I worked on the railroad for less than a year. It wasn’t for me,” Rueter said. “Then I was in California for about two years and there was just too many people.” Rueter said he enjoyed working in the implement business, so he decided to get acquainted with the sales manager and talked to him about possibly opening up a dealership in Grand Junction. Although there were 17 farm equipment dealers in Greene County at that time, Rueter said he went ahead and got a contract. He, along with his brother-in-law Bob Zenor, went into business together selling Massey-Harris farm equipment. “He isn’t afraid to try things,” Todd Rueter, Rueter’s son and chief executive officer of Reuter’s Red Power, said. “He started with 17 other dealers in the county. He jumped in there and decided to do it.” In the beginning Rueter said they started the new implement business in an old building in Grand Junction. “Things weren’t too bad back then,” he said. “We had a lot of customers. There were a lot of farmers at the time; two to three farmers on every mile back then. They farmed 160 to 300 acres with two to three bottom plows. It took a lot of farmers to farm then. They can do 160 acres after supper now.” Rueter and Zenor were together for about 10 years before Zenor took a job with Massey in Des Moines. “He got a real good job. A better pay than what we were making out here, so I bought him out and took over,” he said. “That’s how I got started and we just keep going.” Soon, it was time to move to another location. “I bought a different building up town where we were and I remodeled it,” he said, “and we got done on a Saturday night and the next Thursday it burnt down. I hadn’t even paid the contractor yet. He came the next week.” “He didn’t know how to offer his bill, but I owed it to him.” After that small setback, Rueter said they moved to their

-Farm News photo by Kriss Nelson

ToDD RueTeR, left stands next to his dad, Cecil rueter. Cecil rueter started in the implement business back in 1951. although he has retired, he still comes to visit his business on a daily basis. current location along U.S. Highway 30 outside of Grand Junction in the early 1960s and continued to grow from there. “We sold a lot of combines back then, in the ‘60s and ‘70s. We would sell 50 combines a year,” said Rueter. “Now, they don’t sell that many probably in the state of Iowa in a year.” Throughout those early years, Massey-Harris changed to

Massey Ferguson, which Rueter said they sold for 40 years until that brand was purchased by the AGCO Corporation. It was at that time they made the choice to start selling Case brand implements. See rueter Page 10C

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Outstanding in her field By LAURA CARLSON

On a warm June evening, Dr. Sherry and Roger Olsen talked about the history of their farm, RSO Livestock, as a backdrop of familiar sheep sounds drifted on the wind as the couple detailed the farm’s history. The couple has lived on what is known as the “Randall Curve” in Hamilton County since April 2003. They had moved there from northeast Ray County, Missouri, located just 2 miles north of Dr. Olsen’s parents’ farm. The Olsens had lived there from 1987 to 2003. “When we relocated to the present location, we sold our farm to my youngest brother and his wife, where they have established their home and are raising three boys,” Dr. Olsen said. Because of the “deep, black soil” on their farmstead, the Olsens were able to purchase the grounds that had been in crops. “We seeded down this ground and built a fencing system so that we can rationally graze our ewes,” she said. “There are seven paddocks and we rotate the ewes through the paddock every five to seven days.” All the other feed and hay supplies are purchased from an outside source, Dr. Olsen added. “Our focus is the production of rams and replacement females; Hampshire, Hampshire-Suffolk crosses and Dorsets,” she said. “We do sell a number of market lambs for FFA and 4-H projects. Lately we’ve had requests for lambs that are purchased to fill freezers.” Those are delivered to the Story City Locker in Story City to be processed. Getting involved How did the Olsens get involved in raising sheep? “I actually married into raising sheep, although as a toddler I can remember Dad having a few ewes that sold when we purchased another farm and moved,” Dr. Olsen said. As for Olsen, as the youngest of four children, his wife explained that he always got the “last pick” of the cattle and swine to exhibit

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for his 4-H projects. But he got tired of doing that and ought three Hampshire market lambs from the Iowa State University Sheep Teaching Farm. “One of Roger’s original three market lambs finished amongst the top ten lamb carcasses at the Aksarben 4H Livestock Show and Rodeo, in Omaha, when all market lambs exhibited were required to be harvested and compete for carcass awards,” Dr. Olsen said. “At that time, over 1,000 market lambs were exhibited in this show. We’re pretty proud of that effort.” The couple, who have been married for 31 years, met at the American Royal Livestock Show and Rodeo in Kansas City. They then met again a year later at the Minnesota State Fair. After they got married, the Olsens early years provided good experience in herd management. “In Missouri, we ran a 200 head flock of Hampshire and Hampshire-Suffolk cross ewes of our own,” Dr. Olsen said. “Roger was the shepherd for Houghton Hampshires in Polo, Missouri (a 750 head flock).” Raising the sheep Dr. Olsen said, this breeding season, they plan to expose 70 to 80 head of ewes to begin lambing in early January. “Of these, the older ewe lambs will be exposed to also lamb as yearlings,” she said. “Not all producers do this, but for us it allows that ewe to raise one more lamb crop for us. We don’t flush those ewe lambs, however, they regularly lamb twins and produce the milk to raise them.” But she added it’s important that a manager must carefully watch the condition of the yearling mothers as they milk, because they need to maintain condition to breed on time. Olsen said they also keep track of the ram’s history. “Above each stall is posted the ram’s lineage,” he said. “We are very particular about our bloodlines.” The couple are the sole managers and operators of the farm, and they do not hire outside farm help.

-Farm News photo by Laura Carlson

DR. sHeRRy olsen and her husband roger finish up chores on their farm, rso Livestock in Hamilton County. dr. olsen is also a meat science lecturer at iowa state University. But they do get help in shearing the ewes from Bruce Sellers, a world-champion sheep shearer from Chariton. “I shear the rams and lambs myself,” said Olsen. When it comes to how the operation

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works, Dr. Olsen said natural service is primarily used at breeding time, but they also use artificial insemination on specific ewes. “This allows us to bring new genetics into our flock,” she said. “However, we do have

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friday, JULy 13, 2018

Continued from Page 5C

Tough times The changes in the livestock industry, Rueter said, have been some of the biggest changes he has seen in the agricultural implement dealer business. “It used to be every farmer had a few hogs, cattle and chickens,” he said. “Then all at once livestock got in trouble in the ‘80s and that took a lot of implement dealers out in the ‘80s. Nobody was buying anything for two to three years. You couldn’t sell anything.” Many of those other 17 dealers did well until up until that point, but it was the years he had prior the 1980s’ Farm Crisis that helped him keep his business going. “I had some good years in the ‘70s,” he said. “I am kind of a saver-type. I saved a little bit to help get through it.” One aspect that most likely made Rueter unique in the farm equipment dealership industry was how he chose to handle those customers that owed him money. “I didn’t ever try to repossess anything,” he said. “Because, if you repossess, you couldn’t sell it anyway because no one was going to


buy it. They couldn’t. And you would lose a farmer.” “I tried to work along with them once in awhile. Your customer is your only asset and you have to keep as many of them as you can.” “He understands and empathizes with those that are struggling,” said Todd Rueter. ‘Have stood the test of time’ Rueter semi-retired eight years ago but comes to the Grand Junction store almost daily. “I just come to the store,” he said. “They didn’t take my key and they gave me an office.” Paige Rueter Benlaala, Rueter’s granddaughter, and part of the third generation to work for the family business — along with her brother, Alex Rueter — said her grandfather is a great role model. “The fact that he wouldn’t call himself a leader is why he is a leader,” she said. “He is focused on doing one thing and that is taking care of the customer and not worried about

the accolades and things like that. He’s just always had his head down and cared about people with good values.” Benlaala said hearing stories about her grandfather is one of the highlights of working for the family business. “Anyone you talk to in this area, who is a farmer, has purchased a Massey Ferguson from Grandpa at some point and time,” she said. “Their comments, like how they called Grandpa at 3 a.m., stuck in the field and he would be the one to come out. His work ethic is really the backbone to the company.” “I put a lot of hours in, but it doesn’t seem like it to me,” said Rueter. “I’m a little bit conservative and maybe worked a little harder. I have stood the test of time.” Although Rueter’s son, Todd Rueter, has taken over as CEO for the company, Benlaala said the business is run much like it was when her grandfather was in charge. “The underlying principles are the same,” she said. “Integrity, good values, hard work and good service.” Alex Rueter said there is so much he can

say that he has learned from his grandfather. “He’s a leader in ag for sure, but I’d go a step further and say that the way he has lived his life, he has set a standard for which every person should strive,” he said. “If you were to only get halfway there, you’d be a tremendous success. While the member of the Greatest Generation, that term might be an understatement. I’m just lucky enough to have him as my grandfather.” Todd Rueter said his dad has been a great role model through his leadership to everyone. “He knows what hard work and perseverance will get you. He has a non-quit attitude,” he said. “What I have learned, more than anything, from my dad, is that he looks at a problem as an opportunity, not a struggle.” Since 1951 from Rueter and Zenor, to 2018 and Rueter’s Red Power, the company has seen some definite growth. The company currently has a total of eight locations. That growth, however Rueter attributes to his sons Kim and Todd Rueter.

grateful to have an opportunity to surround myself with exceptionally talented young men and women that are making a difference in the industry, as well in their communities.” Dr. Olsen said her goal as an educator is to give her students the tools they need to be successful in their careers. “We have students who come from production backgrounds who will not be able to immediately return to the family farm, so I want them to realize that they are still valuable to agriculture,” she said. “The same is said for our students from non-agricultural backgrounds — they are provided excellent education and training to also enter the work force in agriculture.” “I want all of them to become outstanding and productive citizens and to give back to their communities, mentoring those youth with whom they interact in helping them

achieve their dreams and goals, just as they were helped along the way to become successful,” Dr. Olsen added. She went on to say that she and her husband enjoy all aspects of livestock production. “I am particularly relieved if we can have an uneventful lambing season, get the new lamb crop weaned, on feed, and then watch them grow,” Dr. Olsen said. “It is very gratifying when we have new customers who purchase our genetics as well as those who are repeat customers. We like to see definite improvement each lambing season.” She’s proud of where she’s ended up in her life. “I honestly don’t know what else I would rather be doing,” she said. “A tough, but very gratifying business. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Continued from Page 7C

our rams’ semen collected and stored for both personal use and available for other producers.” Sheep are marketing via private treaty sales, but also regularly consign to various sheep sales across the Midwest and Plains. “We are very particular about the structure of our sheep, as they must be able to move on acceptable feet and legs,” Dr. Olsen said. “Additionally, they must be clean fronted and up-fronted with wide racks and loins that carry to wide hips with a wide pin set. Ultimately, the carcasses of the market lambs will end up in a retail case or in a freezer, and pounds of product on a trim carcass is very important. We highly value maternal characteristics, milking ability, and docility.”

farm. Olsen is responsible for customer service and right-of-way projects for the Xenia Rural Water District out of Bouton. Dr. Olsen teaches in the Iowa State University Department of Animal Science, where she is a meat science lecturer and meat judging team coach and program coordinator. She teaches three classes and assists in two other classes. “I advise approximately 65 undergraduates in our department and am the adviser for the Block & Bridle Sheep Interest Group, and co-adviser for the Collegiate Beef Team,” she said, adding that she enjoys working with the students in finding their passion within the livestock and meat industries. “My office wall is covered with pictures of my students who have graduated and moved Away from the farm on to very successful careers,” she said. “To The couple also does work away from the me that is extremely gratifying, and I am very


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From student to vice president at Iowa State University By KRISTIN DANLEY-GREINER

AMES — From a young boy growing up on a southwest Iowa farm to becoming one of the top officials at Iowa State University, John Lawrence has climbed the leadership ladder at Iowa’s renown agriculture institution while leaving an undeniable and unforgettable imprint at the college. Lawrence’s life story is not what many expect from the vice president of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. He started his educational aspirations as a non-traditional student; a 24-year-old freshman who had spent several years prior working on the farm. He first attended community college, then returned home to buy out his father’s part of the farm. Lawrence said he borrowed money to buy his first set of gilts when interest was at 7.5 percent. After the fall of 1979, that rate shot up to 13, then 18, then 20 percent. “It was not a good place for a highlyleveraged young man to be,” he said. A person for whom he’d worked and respected impressed upon him how much he needed further education. So Lawrence packed his bags and headed off to the state’s leading ag institution — Iowa State University.

There, he earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science, since his background was concentrated on livestock. But Lawrence was inspired to not stop there. He went on to earn a master’s degree in economics and then his doctorate in agriculture economics. “I was still working on the livestock angle, just from the business and economic end,” Lawrence said. “I remember consciously making the decision while wrapping up my master’s that I wanted to stay John lawrence in academics. I even interviewed for a job in the private sector, but I told my wife that even if I got the offer, it wasn’t for me.” After growing up and farming in Iowa, Lawrence said working at ISU is “a great place to be.” He started off working in Extension as an assistant professor of economics and Extension livestock economics. He served as director of the Iowa Beef Center, then slid over to become associate dean and director of Extension ag and natural resources. Following that he served as interim director for the Beginning Farmer Center, ag

law and taxation, and the Iowa Nutrient Research Center. “I just built myself as a utility infielder. Whatever position was needed to be played, I’d cover my bases,” Lawrence said. “I stepped in as interim vice president after having served on the leadership team for seven years. I’ve been with Extension since 1991 and I know the people in the program. I saw this as a way to really give back to the university.” Lawrence added that he “wanted to give people security and confidence that one of their own was there on an interim basis while the university conducted a nationwide search.” He oversees Extension and Outreach, which spans many areas from crops and livestock to horticulture, families and human sciences, nutrition and 4-H. “I tell people that I’m no one’s boss, but I’m more of cheerleader, coach and water boy,” he said. “I try to make sure I’m getting the resources to those who go into the trenches to do their job.” Lawrence was also excited to work with ISU President Wendy Wintersteen, who has spent her entire career in Extension. “That’s one of the reasons why I was

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really interested in this position. I look at our strategic plan for the next five years and where we want things to go,” he said. “We have a lot of great people with experience, but some are nearing retirement, so we look at how to prepare for the next generation of Extension professionals and continue to attract bright people into our program.” Even today on campus while he’s busy, Lawrence’s heart isn’t far from the family farm. He returns in the fall to help his sister and brother-in-law with harvest, running the grain cart. His wife’s family also owns a couple of farms. And while he has retirement on the horizon, Lawrence isn’t in any rush. “My goal is not to coast but rather spring through the end of this career,” he said. “I really felt that I had something to contribute to the state of Iowa and ISU. I just love it here.” “I think back on the days where I was wading through hog pits when a sow had fallen through the slats and I’d never imagined being here one day,” Lawrence added. “I’m very fortunate that education has been very good to me. I’ve had a lot of great mentors along the way who I give credit to.”

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Keller is a voice for agriculture By KRISS NELSON

CLARION — Deb Keller will be finishing up her tenure as chairperson of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) this month. Keller, who has served that position over the past year, will remain on as past-chairperson for one more year. USGC is a non-profit organization that globally promotes U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products, including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles. Keller is unique to the role as a leader in the agricultural field in the fact that she didn’t grow up on the farm. “I grew up in the city,” she said. “While growing up in the city, my grandparents had 80 acres and my favorite thing was to go out and hoe thistles. I knew agriculture had to be a part of my life. That’s how I got into agronomy.” Keller met her husband, Gary Keller, in a corn field at Purdue University where they were both agronomy majors. “I thought I won the lottery when I found out he was farmer,” she said. “So I moved here.” Keller and her husband farm near Clarion in Wright County, with their daughter Emily Cook, her husband Matt, and Keller’s brother-in-law, Mel Keller. “When I think about farming, I smile,” she said. Having the next generation coming back to the farm gives Keller hopes they will be able to take over the family farm operation some day. “Emily has come back to the farm and the rule was she had to go get a four-year degree. She had to go out and work and then come back to the farm, so she would appreciate it,” said Keller. “Her husband Matt came from Florida. He is adapting to the farming so well. We’re hoping, ultimately, this farm will remain in the family.” Those hopes of carrying on their family’s heritage come from the tough times

-Farm News photo by Kriss Nelson

Deb Keller and her son-in-law, matt Cook stand by one of the farm’s tractors earlier this spring. Keller has just finished her tenure as chairman of the u.s. grains Council and farms with her family near Clarion in wright County.

Keller’s father-in-law experienced when he purchased the family farm. “My father-in-law bought a lot of the farm at the end of the Depression, some of it for $50 an acre,” she said. “So we are hoping it will remain in the family and pass down through our grandson, James, and another grandson that is expected later this fall.” In order to make room for future generations, Keller said they hope to expand their farming operation at some point.

Leadership Keller began her course in agricultural leadership after a neighbor encouraged her to run for a spot on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. “So that’s really where I got my start in regards to corn leadership,” she said. “That was about 15 years ago.” Although Keller has a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Purdue University and had the hands-on experience as a farmer, she soon found out there was a lot more to learn.

“When I joined Iowa Corn, I thought I understood agriculture and that is really where I got my entire education,” she said. The education came from training which included media training and “anything related to the farm.” “It put so many different pieces together for me,” she said. “I always knew exports were important. I always knew livestock was important, even as a grain farmer that didn’t raise livestock. But until I actually got into Iowa Corn and I saw all of the struggles the livestock producers have, then I understood how important commodity groups are.” Not only did she become involved to help promote agriculture, but to help promote her own farming operation. “The reason I have stayed involved is because my business is important to me,” she said. “If I feel like agriculture is important and I want to pass it down, then it’s my responsibility to do the best I can to help advance agriculture. So that’s how I got involved and this is why I stay involved.” Through her involvement on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Keller said she eventually became chairperson, which paved the way for her to move on to the USGC almost 14 years ago. “I went on a mission trip to Morocco, Egypt,” she said. “I was arrogant. I always thought U.S. farmers helped to feed the world. But, really, when I went there and I saw all of the ways the people have to work to build markets and how it ultimately affects me, that’s how I knew I needed to be a part of the U.S. Grains Council.” She was a leader of the Rest of the World Advisory Team (A-Team) through the USGC. This team oversaw all council programs outside of Asia. Keller said serving on leadership of the A-Team helped her understand how overseas demand connects back to the farm. “Leading A-Team provided me an understanding of specific markets, to really drill down in a certain part of the world, to See keller, Page 16C

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Continued from Page 14C

take information in little bites,” she said. “Now, when I focus on the big picture, I can put all of those little pieces together.” Keller thanks the Iowa Corn Promotion Board for providing her the training that gave her the knowledge to run for chairman of the USGC. After she is finished serving her term as past-chair on the USGC, Keller said she hopes to continue in some sort of leadership role. “I am hoping to, but it is up to the discretion of Iowa Corn,” she said. “They have invested so much time, money and effort in to me. I feel like it is my responsibility to stay on a few more years, but I also know the importance to get new people involved as well as fresh ideas.”

roles can provide a different viewpoint. “Nobody’s going to watch out for my business, so I just think that’s so important,” she said. “Also, as a female in agriculture, I bring a different perspective.” Sitting around the USGC’s board room, Keller said are three women in addition to women staff members. “We think differently,” she said. “We see things differently, and it’s important to not be intimidated and I always speak my mind, because if I am just occupying a seat, I am not helping anyone.”

Making time Keller credits her husband for his support that allows her to take such leadership roles that not only take her out of state, but sometimes out of the country. ‘That’s so important’ Although she is an active member of Keller feels that her leadership has their family farm operation, it’s her posihelped her own business, but she also be- tion on the farm that also gives her the time lieves women being active in leadership to be gone.

“I have the best husband in the world,” she said. “He knows my commitment that the two of us made together and he sees the benefits of having people involved and being a voice for agriculture.” Becoming a voice Keller suggested those wanting to become a voice for agriculture get educated. “First off, listen to the news, read articles and know your issues,” she said. “I have learned, sitting on Iowa Corn, it all comes at you at once. And it takes a year to get up to speed and that’s even when you’re trying to keep up. There’s just always something you haven’t even thought of.” Keller said once a person becomes active, it doesn’t take long to get bitten by the leadership bug. “Once you do get involved, it’s going to be two or three meetings and you’re going to get caught up in it and see the importance of it,” she said, “and as long as you are do-

ing something you are passionate about, you’re not working.” Whether becoming a leader for a commodity group or not, Keller said speaking up for the agricultural industry is important. “To me, it’s very important to be a voice, and not everybody has the time or ability,” she said. “I am fortunate that my husband says, ‘Go. Do this.’ But not everybody can.” Keller said what everyone can do is make a phone call or send an e-mail to their legislators. “It’s not that hard,” she said. “While our senators (U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst) are very strong on ag issues, sometimes they just need to be able to say, ‘I have heard from X number of farmers,’ so it’s important to call them. Even though they are on our side and they are working for us, it is still important to put your voice out there so that they know we really do care.”

FCSIC Chief Operating Officer Dorothy Nichols announces retirement Board names rick Pfitzinger as successor McLEAN, Va., —The Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation announced the retirement of Dorothy Nichols, its chief operating officer since 2006. Nichols is retiring July 31, after 35 years of federal government service. The FCSIC board has designated Rick Pfitzinger, FCSIC’s director of risk management, to succeed Nichols. Pfitzinger has been with FCSIC since 1992, serving as asset assurance manager and chief financial officer before becoming director of risk management. “Dorothy provided extraordinary leadership to FCSIC, and we’re fortunate to have another individual with such depth of experience on our management team ready to take over as chief operating officer,” said

Jeffery Hall, chairman of the FCSIC board of directors. “The FCSIC board has established a strong succession plan that builds on our experienced and qualified executive team.” During Ms. Nichols’ tenure, FCSIC achieved the following: ∫ Developed strong risk management capabilities. ∫ Implemented a line of credit with the Treasury Department’s Federal Financing Bank for use in a market-based liquidity crisis. ∫ Updated its dynamic capital model for evaluating the adequacy of the Farm Credit Insurance Fund. ∫ Obtained increased premium flexibility

Nichols served as general counsel at FCSIC for 10 years before becoming chief operating officer, but her years of government service reached beyond FCSIC. She served as chief operating officer of the Farm Credit Administration and as an associate general counsel at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. She also held several legal positions with the Federal Home Loan Bank Board during the thrift crisis. Her successor, Pfitzinger, has over 30 years of regulatory and insurance experience. Before becoming FCSIC’s director of risk management, he was the corporation’s chief financial officer. He came to FCSIC from the FDIC where he had worked to resolve troubled institu-

tions by providing liquidity assistance to promote financial stability. He was also a risk management analyst at the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation and held several private-sector positions in mortgage insurance and banking. Pfitzinger holds a Bachelor of Science in finance and a master’s degree in management. “We look forward to working with Rick in his new role as chief operating officer,” said Chairman Hall. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience about the Farm Credit System, FCSIC, finance, and insurance.” FCSIC is managed by a three-member board of directors. In addition to Chairman Hall, Dallas Tonsager and Glen Smith serve as members of the board.


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Farm management team are leaders in conservation By KRISS NELSON

been doing the same thing as them.” “We understand the frustrations of the FORT DODGE – Sunderman Farm farmers out there,” said Jon Larson. Management has four core values they The crew at Sunderman Farm Manageuse to operate their farm management and ment prides themselves with those relationagricultural real estate sales business: ships they have not only with their land ownChristian faith, integrity, teach and lead. ers but their operators. “We do a lot of teaching and leading,” “From what I have heard, it’s not uncomsaid Brent Larson, a farm manager with mon for farmers to have an adversarial relaSunderman Farm Management. “I really tionship with the farm manager,” said Brent do think we are unique.” Larson. “I don’t have an adversarial relationBrian Larson, owner and farm managship with any of my farm operators. I can’t er for Sunderman Farm Management said operate that way. If there is a problem, we the company was started back in 1961 by need to communicate about it and make it Roger and Lyda Sunderman. work.” “They operated it by themselves for Brian Larson said they have been told they some time before I was hired,” said Brian have some of the best reputations among othLarson who came to work for the compaer farm managers. ny in 1969 and has been a part of the “It’s a matter of following the Golden company ever since. Rule,” said Brian Larson. In addition to the father-son duo of BriIt’s that good service, they all agree, that an and Brent Larson, Sunderman Farm brings the maximum return to the farmer and Management is also led by farm manager landowner. Mark Thompson, real estate sales repre“And that’s what we are trying to get to. sentative Jon Larson and office manager We make it work for everybody, so everyJenene Friedrichs. body gets a fair return,” said Brent Larson. “You have to know what you are do“We want to make owning land as pleasuraing,” said Thompson. “And we have the ble as possible. I think we do a good job at expertise we have because of all our years lowering the barriers to communication beof experience. We are a smaller firm, but tween owners and the operators. We need to -Farm News photo by Kriss Nelson we have a lot of years put in together. We have the communication there because the are a family, Christian based, faith oriented brian anD brent larson stand next to their sign at their farm management operator has got to be effective for it to be sucfirm. We tout that. That’s what we do.” office in fort dodge recently. the team at sunderman farm management uses cessful for both the owner and the operator.” “I think the key tagline that describes us conservation practices on their own fields and bring expertise in that area among is we are faithful stewards of relation- others to their clients. ships,” said Brent Larson. “Whether that is Conservation a relationship with landowners, three, four Sunderman Farm Management has started generations we are buying or selling farms emphasizing conservation not only on their the buying and selling of farmland. for or relationships with operators to keep guys up to speed “We buy farms for people that are interested in owning own farms, but in their business as well. with what the latest is on farming techniques and other op- land and sell farms for folks that want to sell their farm“Ultimately we are turning the tides so that we can retions that are out there.” generate soil,” said Brent Larson. “By the time my career is land,” said Brian Larson. Brian Larson said Sunderman Farm Management’s main Thompson said one of the distinctive factors of Sunder- over in the farm management world, I would love to look focus is managing farmland for absentee landowners. man Farm Management is that Brent, Brian, Jon and himself back and say we actually were able to regenerate the soil.” “We manage the landowner operator relationship and we all farm. “We are trying to improve soil health and promote the make all of the decisions that need to be made from a “We’re all engaged in our own farming operations,” he management of it,” said Thompson. “Our own farms are allandowner’s perspective,” he said. said. “That’s not totally unique to the farm management ready in that system. But we are looking at trying to use that The firm also manages a full spectrum of lease types in- business, but the biggest thing is the relationship and inter- as a point of emphasis for our management business now cluding crop share, cash rent, custom farming situations and action we have with our operators. That helps me have a bet- and for the future.” flexible leases. Brent Larson said because they have navigated those water relationship with my operators, because they understand Sunderman Farm Management also assists people with I am not just talking to them out of a book because we have See Sunderman, Page 26C

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Gravel is an award winning leader in the watershed By KRISS NELSON

STORM LAKE — Lee Gravel, project coordinator for the Headwaters of the North Raccoon Water Quality Improvement (WQI) project, was one of seven watershed coordinators honored for their contributions and dedication to improve water quality across the state of Iowa. The award was presented to the honorees in April. “During Earth Week, it’s a great time to recognize these unsung heroes who work hard every day to implement conservation practices to improve water quality,” said Sean McMahon, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance executive director. “These watershed coordinators help meet local community goals while also simultaneously advancing the objectives of the statewide Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.” The Headwaters of the North Raccoon WQI project consists of the northernmost 100,000 acres of the North Raccoon River encompassing the northeast portion of Buena Vista County, the northwest portion of Pocahontas County and parts of Clay and Palo Alto counties. “I work from a day-to-day basis with farmers and landowners trying to increase awareness about conservation practices that are outlined in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy and help them try something new,” Gravel said, “be it through the means of incentivizing a practice of educating them on some of the benefits and overall trying to increase the level of adoption of those practices inside the watershed.” Gravel, who previously worked with conservation in the Cherokee County area, said he is seeing a lot of his hard work paying off. “We have had some significant increases in cover crop use as a result as boots on the ground, door-to-door promotion of the practices, education and information landowners and producers of the benefits of those practices,” he said. Gravel said the Headwaters of the North Raccoon WQI project has one of the highest adoption rates of edge of field practices in the state. “There is significant interest from landowners and producers to install either a bioreactor or saturated buffer on some of the tile lines that are draining their fields,” he said. Getting landowners involved Gravel does a lot of promotion out in the watershed in order to get people interested and hope they will contact him. “But a lot of contact that I have had over the last couple of years resulted from one-on-one; going door-to-door,

-Farm News photo by Kriss Nelson

lee Gravel, project coordinator for the Headwaters of the North racoon water Quality improvement project stands in a bioreactor being built on the dennis Hogrefe farm near storm lake. gravel was recently one of seven watershed coordinators awarded 2018 watershed Coordinator of the year.

making phone calls, trying to get on the farm,” he said. “I keep those numbers increasing. Otherwise, it will be diffihope people will at least let me come to their farm. That is cult to do.” half the battle — getting on the farm and talking to farmAs far as farmers and landowners receiving funding, ers and landowners.” Gravel said there are a lot of resources available, but especially within the Headwaters of the North Raccoon WQI Future of the watershed project. Gravel would like to see 25 percent of the Headwaters of “To get some of these practices applied, there are signifthe North Raccoon watershed with a cover crop application icant funding opportunities and programs available,” he within the next three years. said. “I really like being able to work with landowners and “That would be my goal,” he said. “Currently we are at producers and getting them to try something new and wit8 and a half percent. The biggest restraint has been funding, ness them realize the benefits of it and entirely change the not the level the interest. If the funding is there, we can See gravel, Page 26C

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Continued from Page 17C

ters of farming with a conservation-minded approach on their own farms it helps to open up the door to conservation with landowners and farm operators. “We think it’s the best thing for the farm long term,” he said. “Our clients are the farmland owners and we feel that the best way to manage their farmland is with someone that is willing to take care of it and if farm operators we have on our managed properties see us practicing conservation techniques, they can come to us and


ask what techniques they can employ on their farm. We are unique because we open up the dialogue with our owners and can speak about it on a firsthand perspective.” Conservation techniques Thompson and the Larsons implement on their own farming operations include cover crops, waterways, no-till, strip-till and nutrient management. There are many programs available for landowners and farm operators that are in-

terested in being more conservation conscious. Sometimes, the paper work can be overwhelming, especially for the absentee landowners. “We take care of it for the landowners,” said Thompson. “We navigate all of those programs and paperwork then we work closely hand in hand with the operator to have them implement and take care of the land the way it should be.” The knowledge of the staff at Sunder-

man Farm Management on different conservation practices, they feel definitely sets them apart. “I think we are really effective at translating soil health and conservation,” said Brent Larson. “And also how to be profitable,” said Thompson. “Because that’s what we do. We have to make money for our clients. It’s a huge benefit - the expertise that we have. We’ve been a part of it. Done it and implemented it.”

Continued from Page 22C

way that they operate.” Why a career in conservation? Gravel said working with in the conservation industry in Iowa allows him to see how his farmer friends care for the stewardship of the land and that they have a significant passion for that career and livelihood. “I care a lot about natural resources and care about preserving the environment in the state that it is in and protecting it for future generations and that goes hand in hand with helping farmers,” he said. “If they can find a practice that does that and also increases yield and profitability, then I am all for that.” 2018 Watershed Coordinator of the Year Gravel said his application for the award of 2018 Watershed Coordinator of the Year was reviewed by representatives of the De-

partment of Natural Resources, Conservation Districts of Iowa, Iowa State University, Iowa Department of Agricultural and Land Stewardships and the Iowa Agricultural Water Alliance. “I received the award for the work that is being done in the watershed,” he said. “But a lot of the positive things that have come out of the watershed project has been the result of farmers and landowners being willing to do something different and try something in spite of there being risk.” “Seeing people willing to make those changes is by far the most beneficial thing that I have gotten from the project and the hard work that I have done,” he added. “The award is just a realization of hard work put into some of these projects and -Farm News photo by Kriss Nelson the farmers that are willing to make changes as a result Lee GraveL, project coordinator for the Headwaters of the North racoon water Quality improvement projof that hard work is just very ect works to install a bioreactor recently. rewarding for itself.”

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friday, july 13, 2018

Monarch Consortium given Leadership in Collaboration award By KRISTIN DANLEY-GREINER

Iowa is home to countless key agriculture leaders and innovators with roots to the state, but the latest initiative taking flight in Iowa has caught everyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attention around the world. The monarch butterfly population has declined by more than 80 percent in the past 20 years in North America. In fact, this species is close to becoming endangered. In response to this development, the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium formed in 2015 to help national efforts to fight the decline in monarch population. Earlier this year, the consortium was bestowed with the Leadership in Collaboration award as part of the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture leaders awards. The consortium is comprised of more than 40 members and partners who all strive to enhance monarch butterfly reproduction and survival in Iowa, which lies along the monarch butterfliesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; migratory route and serves as one of several states where it chooses to breed. The consortium has set a goal of designating between 480,000 to 830,000 acres of habitat for the monarch butterfly by 2038. Iowa leaders hope to establish 127 to 188 million new milkweed stems within the state, which would add to the 1.3 billion new milkweed stems being established across several north central states. Female monarchs lay eggs exclusively on milkweed plants, so efforts are focusing on generating new milkweed stems to aid their survival. However, habitat plantings are expected to include a diverse array of nectar species to provide forage for adult monarchs throughout their life cycle and seasonal migrations. Farmer Wayne Fredericks raises crops near Osage in northeast Iowa, but also sets aside seven acres of pollinator habitat on his operation. There is a 0.75-acre triangle on his farm where his equipment didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fit terribly well and another three-acre parcel surrounding a sink hole that were perfect for creating a pollinator habitat.

Seth Applegate, an agronomist on Iowa State Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s monarch research team, said farmers benefit from creating pollinator habitat on their properties because it cuts back on mowing time. It also doubles as quality quail and pheasant habitat, boosts the rusty patched bumblebee â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which is on the endangered species list â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and improves the chances of re-enrollment in the conservation reserve program. Joshua Divan, with Pheasants Forever, partnered with the consortium almost two years ago. He and other wildlife supporters have recognized the plight of the monarch for years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had biologists in place since 2009, working with entities like Iowaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Natural Resources and Conservation Service and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship on this issue,â&#x20AC;? Divan said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our involvement has always been to increase the scope and scale of technical assistance to private landowners, helping them enroll in federal, state and local programs with the objective to help boost the population.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Monarchs are the most iconic insect in the world and no one wants to see that go away,â&#x20AC;? he added. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The beauty of this is that the habitat that the monarchs are lacking is the same for honeybees, pheasants, quail and other wildlife.â&#x20AC;? A recently held workshop highlighting what people can do to save the monarch butterfly was attended by more than 300 people, which Divan said was welcome. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obvious that folks care about this little butterfly and are accepting that it will take all hands on deck to turn this around,â&#x20AC;? he said. Dana Schweitzer, program coordinator with the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, said that while the monarch isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t as big of a critical pollinator as others, it is an â&#x20AC;&#x153;indicator for biodiversity and a flagship species,â&#x20AC;? one that people readily recognize. Schweitzer emphasized that anyone can participate in the monarch conservation project, from farmers with CRP land to acreage owners who want to cut back on their mowing so they put an acre into monarch habitat.

-Submitted photo

The Iowa Monarch conservaTIon consorTIuM was formed in 2015 to help national efforts to fight the decline in monarch population. monarchs need milkweeds to lay eggs, however habitat plantings are expected to include a diverse array of nectar species like this one shown here. People can even add plants for a pollinator garden in their urban yard. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Before anyone adds habitat, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll want to think about the site where it will be located, because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll maintain for five, 10 or more years,â&#x20AC;? Schweitzer said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pay attention to sun exposure, drainage, etc. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll also want good communication with neighbors and any landowners theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re accountable to to understand the project being undertaken. Be sure to pick a seed mix thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ideal for the soil condition and monitor the site.â&#x20AC;?

Schweitzer suggested interested people spend a year planning for the site and seed mix selection, then spend the year after that planning to mow and monitor the site. Approximately three to four years into the project, butterflies should start flocking to it. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Overall, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had a really positive response from landowners and folks interested in this, following up on it and asking questions,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We also plan to offer more workshops and field days in the coming months and we encourage people to ask questions.â&#x20AC;?

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Cover crop champion: sarah Carlson earns leadership in Conservation award By DARCY DOUGHERTY MAULSBY

cal advice about cover crops and small grains. Her efforts “My philosophy? Don’t farm naked; plant cover crops,” have helped thousands of farmers across Iowa and the Mid- Carlson said. “Think roots in the ground year-round.” Ames—What was it that made rural Vermont thrive? It west find inspiration and answers about ways they can diOn March 6, 2018, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike was a question that stuck in Sarah Carlson’s mind as she versify their operations and keep their soil covered. Naig presented Carlson with the Leadership in Conservathought back to her internship in 2000 on tion Award during the Iowa Secretary of a farm in the Green Mountain State. Agriculture Leader Awards dinner at the “As I learned about rotational grazing Iowa State Fairgrounds. and other farming practices, I also saw “Sarah has led the charge for cover crops how tiny, isolated, rural towns had busy for the last 10 years in the Midwest, and country stores that sold everything from we’re lucky to have her working for Iowa food to clothing to gasoline,” said Carlfarmers,” said PFI President Mark Peterson, strategic initiatives director for Pracson, who raises corn, soybeans, cover crops tical Farmers of Iowa (PFI). “There was and small grains in southwest Iowa. “We more of a sense of community here, and want to be leaders in protecting and imthis rural area felt more vibrant than the proving our soil, here in Iowa, and Sarah is one I came from.” helping us get there.” Carlson grew up in a small town in While Carlson was honored to receive DeKalb County in north-central Illinois the recognition, she says the award is so and also spent time on her maternal much bigger than one person. grandparents’ farm by Princeton, Illinois. “The credit really goes to the farmers “That’s where I got the itch to learn who have changed their farming systems to more about agriculture,” said Carlson, make cover crops work – and then shared whose journey took her not only to Verboth the good and the bad with their neighmont, but South America before returning bors. That kind of open exchange saves us to the Midwest. all time and money as we work to make Those diverse, global experiences cover crops and small grains a lasting addishaped her views about agriculture and tion to our corn and soybean landscape.” led her to PFI, where she began working in 2007 while she earned her master’s deLife-changing learning in Latin Amergree in crop production/physiology and ica sustainable agriculture from Iowa State Carlson discovered the power of collaboUniversity (ISU). ration at the grassroots level to create posiSince then, Carlson has earned a reputive change when she served as a Peace tation as a no-nonsense agronomist driven Corps volunteer. Living in the southern by a passion to revive rural communities, highlands of Ecuador from February 2002 one farmer at a time. “My vision is to fill to June 2004 was life changing, she said. rural church pews and school buses by “Joining the Peace Corps was the best -Submitted photo helping farmers diversify their operations thing I ever did. What I do today with PFI while protecting and improving their soil.” is so similar to what I did in the Peace Corps sarah carLson, strategic initiatives director for Practical farmers of iowa in Latin America.” was recently recognized during the iowa secretary of agriculture leader awards  Carlson    learned that farmers in Ecuador Don’t farm naked Carlson has become one of Iowa’s go-to dinner when she received the leadership in Conservation award. face many of the same challenges as Iowa resources for cover crops. She helps farm ers connect with their peers to share practiSee CarlSon, Page 40C


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friday, july 13, 2018

Continued from Page 32C

farmers. “They were experiencing mass outward migration from rural communities,” said Carlson, who assisted local growers with agronomy issues. “I wondered, ‘Who’s going to farm this land when the older generation is gone?’” A desire to keep farmers on the land and build strong rural communities prompted Carlson to join PFI after she returned to the Midwest. She was inspired by PFI co-founder Dick Thompson’s words: “Once the cattle leave the farm, so do the people.” Carlson has long promoted systems that support livestock and crop farms, from adding small grains to the crop rotation to planting cover crops for cattle grazing. “When I starting working with PFI, I felt like I really had to up my game,” Carlson recalled. “Growers wanted to know how to grow flax in Iowa and evaluate it as a third crop for a diverse rotation and an additional income stream.” As interest in diverse farming systems has grown, so has PFI. While the organization had six full-time staff members when she started, it now has 18, said Carlson, who added that PFI’s membership has more than doubled since she joined in 2007. “PFI works, because it encourages farmers to get together, share ideas and help teach each other to meet challenges and become more sustainable,” Carlson said. Revitalizing rural Iowa Carlson continues to build partnerships between PFI and segments of the food and beverage supply chain to grow markets and support research for small grains and cover crops. Most recently, she co-chaired the Conservation Initiative’s Cover Crop Working Group and led the creation of a cover crop discount through the crop insurance program. “For the last nine years I’ve studied cover crops in cornsoybean rotations,” Carlson said. “In the last few years I’ve also broadened this to include small grains and diverse rotations, while also focusing on insurance issues related to cover crops.” Carlson is encouraged by the progress that’s being made in Iowa and the Midwest to add more cover crops to help address water quality challenges. “Every day I see more crop and livestock farmers asking -Submitted photo questions about cover crops for their operations. There’s more work to be done, but we’re moving in the right direction.” Working with curious farmers who value continuous im- Sarah CarlSon, strategic initiatives director for Practical farmers of iowa, visits with darrell steele, who provement is rewarding for Carlson, who remains committed farms near washington, iowa. the pair is standing in a barley field. to revitalizing rural communities. “I want to help make rural Iowa a place people seek out, because this is the place they want to live.”

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Rooted in rural: mary roberts leads Calhoun County fsa By DARCY DOUGHERTY MAULSBY

the best opportunities for women in rural America,” said Roberts, who has worked for USDA for 15 years. ROCKWELL CITY—Call it “You have a flexible work schedlandscape shock. For a southwest ule, earn a good living and have adIowa farm girl like Mary Roberts, vancement opportunities.” moving to northwest Iowa threw her into a whole new world. Learning conservation from “I grew up with hills and trees on the ground up my family’s crop and livestock Roberts knows what it’s like to farm near Avoca, where our hilltop not have these opportunities in the pasture had eight terraces,” said workplace. After earning her aniRoberts, county executive director mal science degree from Iowa State at the Iowa Farm Service Agency’s University in 1999, she worked for (FSA) Calhoun County Service two different agribusiness compaCenter in Rockwell City. “Being nies in northwest Iowa, handing able to see for miles meant you jobs including grain accounting. were at the top of a hill.” The work environment wasn’t exAfter she married her husband, actly welcoming to a young, female Phil, in 2000 and moved to his employee looking to grow her cafamily’s farm west of Pocahontas, reer. she was surrounded by a much flat“I was basically told I should just ter landscape, which often meant be glad I had a job, since I was a less livestock production and more woman,” Roberts said. row-crop farming. This didn’t sit well with Roberts, “It took me awhile to find the who pursued new opportunities as a true beauty in the flat land,” full-time, temporary employee at Roberts said. “I’ve come to appre- the FSA office in Pocahontas. ciate this highly productive soil, be“I didn’t know anything about cause it’s meant to be row cropped FSA, but I learned,” Roberts said. and taken care of.” “Loan deficiency payments were a Helping farmers care for the land big thing back then, so I learned has guided Roberts’ career, which about all them, too.” has included various roles with the Next, Roberts worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s NRCS in Storm Lake as a soil con(USDA) Natural Resources Con- servation technician who designed servation Service (NRCS) and the waterways, terraces, sediment conFSA. It’s a good fit for this mother trol basins and more. A conservaof three children who cherishes the tion project on a side hill by Linn opportunity to raise her family on Grove helped change her view of the farm. the northwest Iowa landscape. “Working for USDA is one of “While most people would drive

by and think, ‘Oh, that’s just a pasture,’ we counted more than 200 native plants in that area,” Roberts said. “That experience was the first time I felt, ‘Ok, this feels like home.’” Learning from the land Roberts returned to the FSA when she had the chance to join the county operations trainee (COT) program. This allowed her to work in FSA offices in various northern -Farm News photo by Darcy Dougherty Maulsby Iowa counties, including Humboldt, Wright, Mary robertS, county executive director at the iowa farm service agency’s Franklin, Floyd (fsa) Calhoun County service Center in rockwell City, grew up on a farm near avoca and values the opportunity to raise her family on a farm and serve local and Dubuque. “The land- farmers. scape varies across each of After completing 10 months of these areas, which means there are was time for farmers to sign up for lots of different types of farms,” programs, you saw how the differ- training, Roberts accepted a job as said Roberts, who noted some areas ent landscapes influenced their de- the Mills County FSA director in had lots of waterways, while others cisions and impacted our workload southwest Iowa. Since this was far had contour grass strips. “When it at the office.” See robertS, Page 46C

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Continued from Page 42C from her family in northwest Iowa, she was grateful to be offered the Calhoun County FSA director job right before Christmas of 2010. “I felt very blessed to have this opportunity and have such great colleagues,” said Roberts, who leads a team of four female employees. Roberts also appreciates her county FSA committee, including Trent Blair of Lake City, Mike Spencer of Rockwell City, Deb Lightner of Lohrville and Derek Nelson of Manson. “The FSA county committee has a vital role in local program delivery and policy guidance. These outstanding farmers bring a lot of valuable experience and knowledge of farming in Calhoun County,” she said.

Growing new opportunities Gaining more experience is important to Roberts, who is actively involved in FSA organizations at the state and national levels. She looks forward to attending her sixth national FSA employee convention this year. “No matter what part of the country we come from, we have similar struggles and successes,” Roberts said. “It’s so energizing to -Farm News photo by Darcy Dougherty Maulsby learn from each other and come back with new ideas that make our office more Mary robertS, county executive director for the farm service agency’s (fsa) Calhoun County service efficient.” Center, visits with jane glasnapp in the rockwell City office. glasnapp, an fsa program technician, brings These new ideas somemore than 30 years of experience to her role. roberts has worked for usda for 15 years. times include offering new resources in Calhoun County and surrounding areas,

like Women, Land & Legacy (WLL), a USDA education and outreach program for women in agriculture. “As more women have a direct connection to their family’s farming operation and are inheriting land, WLL gives them a way to network with each other,” said Roberts, who noted the next WLL will be held at the Lake City Public Library from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 19. The event will include Iowa farmer/speaker and Rockwell City native Michele Maguire Beck (“Farming Out Loud”) and a representative from United Bank of Iowa speaking about cash rent. Finding ways to support local farmers is important to Roberts. “I’d like to provide more educational opportunities for beginning farmers [those who have been farming 10 years or less], especially since we’ve had approximately 50 beginning farmers in Calhoun County in the last three to five years. People don’t know the questions to ask if they don’t know what resources are available.” On her own family’s farm, Roberts is finding new ways to diversify the operation and bring back livestock, thanks to a small herd of registered Angus cattle. “I love the connection to the land and the fact that agriculture is a close-knit community filled with caring people. I want to do my part to contribute to a more food-secure nation.”

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Rick Titus in His 43rd Year of Selling and Installing More

,MĂ&#x201E;JPLU[-PYLWSHJL0UZLY[Z =LU[-YLL.HZ3VNZ Rick Titus of Clarion started his business, called â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Country Storeâ&#x20AC;?, in 1975 and even though he has moved into town now, he has no intention of retiring any time soon. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I enjoy and love doing this,â&#x20AC;? said Titus. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve covered every corner of the state because Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m an expert, and that is not meant as a boast. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think anyone else in the state does exactly what I do.â&#x20AC;? What he does, is sell and install the Fuego Flame (brand name) fire-place insert, which he believes are the most efficient inserts on the market, for the money. However, it took him awhile to find out about that brand. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was living in Littleton, Colorado, and came across a brochure for the Heatilator fireplaces, which were made at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa,â&#x20AC;? said Titus. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When we moved back here 3 years later, I decided I was going to call them and become a dealer.â&#x20AC;? Titus was soon displaying the units at county fairs and got some busi-ness. But then in checking back with his customers, to his amazement, he found out they were sending most of the heat up the chimney. I then tried selling other brands of fireplaces like Preway, and Majestic and found they were no better. These were touted to be energy efficient, having fans and adjustable dampers, but they still were not burning like a wood stove, so I just kept looking. I was selling wood stoves, but not everyone wants a wood stove in their home. Then I found out about the Fuego Flame Fireplaces, which were as close to wood stove efficiency as you will find. This company made Zero Clearance fireplaces and also made four different sized inserts, so now I could offer my customers a super efficient fireplace, or install one of the inserts inside of their existing wood burning fireplace, no matter how large or small,â&#x20AC;? Titus said. But then it wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t long before he found a fireplace that has an unusual shape, like a two sided, or seethrough, or arched opening, and these inserts would not fit. So he decided to just make the inserts from scratch to fit these

unusual fireplaces. He even built an insert to fit a four sided fireplace for Bill Knapp In Des Moines. The Fuego Flame fireplace inserts can make any fireplace burn up to 70% efficient, and needs no electricity while keeping 99% of the heat in the home. It burns slow like a wood stove will, keeping the beauty of the fireplaceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s overall appearance and fun of watching the fire. Once the insert is installed, the average fireplace can heat 1,000 to 1,500 square feet of a well insulated home, while using 2/3 less wood, and protects the home from runaway fires. It can burn most of the night on just 3 or 4 hardwood logs, leaving you a nice bed of hot burning coals to ignite new logs come morning. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Some of my customers use the fireplace 24/7 all winter long, and rarely hear their furnace kick on. Thus they save a tremendous amount of fuel each month. These inserts literally pay for themselves by saving the customers fuel,â&#x20AC;? Titus says. The inserts are made using 12-guage steel, which Titus said transmits the heat quicker because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lighter. Cool air from the house enters underneath the insert, and is then circulated up the back of the fireplace with the heated air exiting out the top, all without the use of a fan. The temperature of the air coming off this insert varies from 200 to 1,000 degrees. Titus says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;You bake in your oven at 350, and you can feel that kind of heat coming out of the top of the fireplaceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heat opening. Most heat circulating fire-places do not come close to putting out that kind of heat, for they send all their heat up the chimney. The Fuego Flame inserts are installed using an insulated ceiling, which prevents the stove heat from going up the fireplaceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chimney. The insert damper control is on the insertâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s face plate, so you can close the doors and then close the damper. The inserts also burn with their damper 95% closed, thus making the wood burn nice and slow. The twin glass doors are made using ceramic glass, which will take

1,400 degrees temperature, so you never have to worry about breaking - photo by Les Houser, Wright County Monitor the glass with myself,â&#x20AC;? said Titus. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even charge for heat, and you get to enjoy watching the slow burning logs estimates when I come into your home. I inside. These twin doors are easy to clean feel an in home visit is the only way I can with very little effort. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Remember when know exactly what the customer needs.â&#x20AC;? you were a kid sitting around the campfire, Titus is also not afraid to tackle, or at least or at a family reunion, how much fun it is look at, any chimney problems including a to sit around the campfire! Well, you can cracked chimney. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve fixed one of those have that same fun in your home with a many times for someone,â&#x20AC;? said Titus. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I real wood burning fire in your fireplace installed a stainless steel liner inside the all winter long, and enjoy the romance of chimney and made it safe and efficient.â&#x20AC;? the flames; and everyone could use more Titus explained that these inserts are not romance, right! It is actually mesmerizing like others that you can buy, and that it to watch the flames, and you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even takes some time to install them. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is have to say a word as you watch the fire. not a quick fix job,â&#x20AC;? said Titus. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just Now you can have the romantic comfort shove it into your existing fireplace, collect of a campfire and enjoy all that warmth a check and leave. Most of the other in your home safely and efficiently,â&#x20AC;? said inserts on the market make your fireplace look like it has a wood stove shoved into Titus. it, and they change the whole look of the For those that canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t or donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wish to burn fireplace by putting a big metal shroud wood, Titus offers super efficient gas logs around the insert. It takes me from six to as an option. He started selling those in eight hours to do this, but it will be done 1991, and they offer the same nice flame right and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never need to do anything ef-fect, but without the work and clean- more with it.â&#x20AC;? up from real wood. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got people who Titus has even thought of people who bought a fireplace from me in the 70â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and 80â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that are now having me put gas like to cook food over a wood fire. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve logs in those same fireplaces,â&#x20AC;? said Titus. developed a barbecue grill that will fit These gas logs are capable of heating up inside there,â&#x20AC;? said Titus. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can grill to 1,000 square feet of the average well steaks or bake potatoes. It will work great insulated home, so if you have a power for putting a dutch oven in the fireplace outage, these gas logs will keep you toasty too.â&#x20AC;? warm, and keep the pipes from freezing in Feel free to contact Rick at The your home. Country Store for more information. You Titus has covered a large area of the can call either 515-532-3881 or 515Midwest in his sales and installation 293-2455, or visit his website at www. travels. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have built and installed units in fire-placesatthecountrystore. com, or fireplaces from Minneapolis to Kansas City e-mail him at yahtitus@ â&#x20AC;&#x153;We and all over Iowa,â&#x20AC;? said Titus. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve learned donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what the future holds for our that if I go to a county fair, I get business electrical system in this country,â&#x20AC;? said from that area.â&#x20AC;? He also feels that word Titus. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If some-one wants to control us they of mouth has been his best advertising, could cut off the electricity, food supply, or and that the personal attention he can disrupt our fuel. Everyone should have a offer gets the sales. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I do all the work way to heat their home with-out electricity.â&#x20AC;?



farm News / fort dodge, iowa

friday, july 13, 2018

UNI-HYDRO IRONWORKERS • Ellis Band Saws • Drill Presses • Belt Grinders • Brakes • Shears • Benders

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Boone 515-432-3882 Buena Vista 712-732-5056 Butler 319-267-2707 Calhoun 712-297-8611 Carroll 712-792-2364 Cerro Gordo 641-423-0844 Cherokee 712-225-6196 Clay 712-262-2264 Crawford 712-263-4697 Dallas 515-993-4281 Dickinson 712-336-3488 Grundy 319-824-6979 Guthrie 641-747-2276 Hamilton 515-832-9597 Hardin 641-648-4850

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Iowa State University Extension and Outreach does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic informat marital status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or status as a U.S. veteran. (Not all pro bases apply to all programs.) Inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies may be directed to the Diversity Officer, 2150 Beardshear Hall, 51 Road, Ames, Iowa 50011, 515-294-1482, All other inquiries may be directed to 800-262-3804. ADV.18.19 May 2018 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or status as a U.S. veteran. (Not all prohibited Iowa State University Extension and Outreach does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, bases apply to all programs.) Inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies may be directed to the Diversity Officer, 2150 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill marital status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or status as a U.S. veteran. (Not all prohibited apply to all programs.) Inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies may be directed to the Diversity Officer, 2150 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa 50011, 515-294-1482, All other inquiries may be directed to 800-262-3804.bases ADV.18.19 May 2018

Road, Ames, Iowa 50011, 515-294-1482, All other inquiries may be directed to 800-262-3804. ADV.18.19 May 2018

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or status as a U.S. veteran. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies may be directed to the Diversity Officer, 2150 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa 50011, 515-294-1482, All other inquiries may be directed to 800-262-3804. ADV.18.19 May 2018 Established in 1984

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or status as a U.S. veteran. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies may be directed to the Diversity Officer, 2150 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa 50011, 515-294-1482, All other inquiries may be directed to 800-262-3804. ADV.18.19 May 2018

Advantages of Samba mowers:

NovaDisc – 2.20 to 3.88m working width • Pottinger Cutter Bars: The heart of PÖTTINGER disc mowers is the cutter bar,

proven over thousands of cuts in the field. First-class cutting quality, low drag resistance and strength are the trademarks of these cutter bars. • Optimum Crop Flow: The crop flows through smoothly and uniformly, maintaining full cutting capacity in all operating conditions. PÖTTINGER guarantees trouble-free downhill mowing, even on steep slopes. • Sleek Cutter Bar: The sleek cutter bar design is only 28 cm deep, perfect for enabling the best possible ground tracking. The optimised overlap of blade paths ensures a clean and uniform mowing pattern. • Durable Mower Discs: The oval, low profile mower discs are made of hardened finegrained steel. Quick-change blades make maintenance easy. • High-Strength Stub Shafts: The strong stub shafts are bolted to the gears and are thus easy to replace when required. • Heavy-Duty Bearings: Durable, twin race tapered bearings with a theoretical bearing spacing of 60 mm are extremely stress-resistant.

- light mower design, - lower power demand with comparable alternative drum mower, - design based on the new LiteCUT cutterbar, - opened rear and front guards significantly facilitate replacement of cutting knives, - setting mower to transport, operating position and for driving over windrows owing to use of only mower’s hydraulic cylinder

Samba light rear disc mowers with working widths of 1.60 m, 2.00 m, 2.40 m and 2.80 m are designed for farmers who own smaller farms. Application of innovative suspension assembly allows adjusting optimal pressure of cutterbar onto the ground. Mowers feature the recent SaMASZ manufactured LiteCUT light cutterbar with quick knife replacement option. What is more, the mower has been equipped with hardened discs and slides, central knife holder and strengthened bushings. Besides, properly designed hardened knife holder significantly improves cleaning of the bar from any dirt present.


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