The Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF) invites Iowa farmers and the public to attend a series of June "Doing Things Right" on-farm workshops focusing on timely livestock production issues and the planting of vegetative environmental buffers (VEBs).
The events will be held June 11 at the Al Laubenthal farm (hoop-barn beef production) near Whittemore; June 16 at the Curt Keppler and Cade Perrinjaquet farms (pork production) near Strawberry Point; and June 29 at the Ryan Reed farm (pork production) near Hedrick.
The purpose of the workshops is to showcase responsible livestock farming including participating in the Green Farmstead Partner (GFP) program, a joint effort of the Coalition, Trees Forever and the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association. Launched last September, the GFP program offers livestock farmers timely and cost-effective assistance in the planting of trees and shrubs around new and existing cattle feedlots, hog buildings and poultry barns.
Provides technical expertise and resources needed by farmers
CSIF field coordinator Megan Ritter says the GFP program represents a unique and valuable tool for bringing together experts from around the state to provide technical expertise and resources needed for farmers to install vegetation around new and existing feedlots as well as livestock and poultry barns.
Topics to be covered at the workshops include planning, design and maintenance of VEBs, tree and shrub variety selection, tree-planting demonstrations, farm energy audits and beef and pork industry market outlooks. Participants will also be treated to a no-cost meal.
Activities at the Laubenthal farm will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m; from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Keppler and Perrinjaquet farms; and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Reed farm.
According to Iowa State University research, VEBs can reduce potential odor transport from livestock buildings by as much as 15%.
Planting vegetative environmental buffers is an effective practice
"Research also shows establishing a VEB is one of the highest-rated things a livestock farmer can do when it comes to neighbor relations," Ritter says. "It's visual evidence they are committed to doing things right by improving neighborhood aesthetics, enhancing soil and water quality, reducing on-farm energy use and creating a more pleasant working environment."
The Green Farmstead Partner program is supported financially by Alliant Energy, Farm Credit Services of America, Kent Feeds, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. and West Central Cooperative. Nurseries participating in the program include: Kelly Tree Farm, Clarence; Advanced Greenscapes, Ackley; River Valley Forest Services, Inc., Humboldt; Geode Forestry, Inc., Swedesburg; Greenworld, Inc., Sioux Center; Hughes Nursery & Landscaping, Cedar Rapids; and Godbold Landscape Architecture at Spirit Lake.
Livestock producers can get information on Doing Things Right
Farmers interested in obtaining more information about the Doing Things Right workshops or participating in the Green Farmstead Partner program can contact the Coalition at 1-800-932-2436 or by going to www.supportfarmers.com.
In addition to helping livestock farmers install VEBs, CSIF provides insight into understanding all rules and regulations impacting animal agriculture, enhancing relationships with neighbors and choosing good locations for new barns and feedlots. CSIF assistance is available to farm families at no charge.
The Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers was created in 2004 by farmers to help farmers in raising livestock responsibly and successfully. It is a joint partnership of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, Iowa Corn Growers' Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Poultry Association, Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Turkey Federation.