New Iowa Master Farmers Named for 2008

Wallaces Farmer honors the class of 2008 - five farm families and an Exceptional Service Award winner.


Leland and Kris Boyd, Charles City, have been named Iowa Master Farmers by Wallaces Farmer magazine. They are among five farm families that will be recognized during ceremonies in Johnston on March 20. The other families are: Don and Linda Friederichsen, Holstein; Mike, Nick and Alyse Hunter, Chariton; Glenn and Bev Rowe, Lorimor; and the 2008 Exceptional Service award winner, Dr. Robert Wisner, ISU.

Henry A. Wallace started the Iowa Master Farmer program in 1926. The 2008 selections bring the total to 415 Iowans who have been honored since 1926.

Leland Boyd began farming as a high school senior. Using money earned showing 4-H calves he was able to buy his own herd of 18 feeder calves. He and his father Duane farmed in partnership until 1981 when they incorporated as D & L Stock Farm, Inc. (Duane and Genevieve were named Master Farmers in 1975.)

Today, Leland and his wife Kristeen run a 1,200-acre diversified operation consisting of two livestock enterprises (feeder-to-finish swine and feeder cattle) and four crop production enterprises – corn/soybean production, soybean seed production, cash alfalfa, registered seed oats and oat/straw sales. Leland still holds the district record for soybean yield set in 1998 – 78.65 bushels per acre.

Leland is an early adopter of new technology. Computerized application monitors are used for anhydrous application and sprayer operations. His planter and cultivator are equipped with a GPS guidance system and the combine has a yield monitor.

Leland has used a crop consulting service since 1986. Based on the advice of the consultant, he uses conservation tillage with high population planting. Oats, alfalfa, corn and soybeans are rotated on one-third of his acres.

He employs site-specific placement of plant nutrient, lime, herbicide and insecticide inputs. "We still use a cultivator in both corn and soybeans," notes Leland. "But our weed management emphasizes band application of herbicides."

In the swine part of the livestock operation, Leland operated a farrow-to-finish hog operation until about three years ago. Now he buys three-week-old pigs to finish – about 2,000 head per year. Confinement facilities include two nurseries, a grower and two finishing units.

Having an associates degree in ag machinery from North Iowa Community College helps Leland enhance his machinery skills. He and Duane tore down an older, unused grain leg system, remanufactured and installed it to make their own grinding facility. They also created a blower system to blow the ground feed underground to several bulk bins - as far as 500 feet from the grinder.

On the cattle side, Leland buys 400-500 yearling calves each year to finish in two feedlots using automated belt feeding systems. "Our goal is a rate of gain of 3 pounds per head per day," notes Leland.

In his "spare time" Leland's hobbies include piloting his Cessna 172 airplane. He has offered rides to be auctioned off for local benefits and often takes neighbors up to look at their crops or just for pleasure. His second favorite pastime is fishing in Canada.


With a deep love of farming, Don and Linda Friedrichsen have made agriculture their life. Their contributions to helping Iowa become a better place extend from community involvement to the state level - especially in activities that help youth.

The Friedrichsen's dedication to Ida County Extension, 4-H and the Ida County Fair has been invaluable. "This family is an ideal example of what the 4-H program is all about," says George Hoffman, a long-time neighbor and himself an Iowa Master Farmer.

Visiting their farm you can't help but be impressed. They've done a nice job of preparing and bringing the next generation into the farm business, which supports three families. Sons Alan and Dale farm with Don and Linda.

Deriving 100% of their income from farming, the family grows corn, soybeans and hay; and has 180 beef cows, feeds out 2,500 to 3,000 fed cattle per year and farrows 80 to 100 sows and feeds out the hogs. They do it all with family labor.

Farm records are on a computer. Cow records are kept individually for breeding records and source verified for selling. Cropland is grid sampled, and crop and manure management records are kept. Yields are recorded by GPS.

Most of the corn is fed to livestock with some going to a local ethanol plant. About 100 acres of the soybeans are food grade; the rest of the beans are grown for seed. Both pay a premium. They produce high-quality dairy hay for sale and the rest is consumed by their feeder cattle and beef cow herd.

With an ethanol plant nearby, they feed distillers grains at 30% of the ration for cattle and 10% for hogs. They also feed syrup from the ethanol plant to the cows, using a lick tank in summer and top-dress syrup on cornstalk bales in winter.

For 20 years they've used artificial insemination on the cows. At weaning, calves are weighed and the information is used to select breeding programs and heifer replacement.

Most of the cattle are fed in outdoor lots on different farmsteads, on concrete except for two lots. "Two years ago, we built a 490-head bedding barn with the cattle being inside at all times," says Don. "We use cornstalks and straw for bedding and the confinement barn is producing good results. Our next project is to build another one."

The Friedrichsens still volunteer to help youth. "We've always enjoyed working with 4-H, school, our county fair and other youth activities," says Linda. "The rewards come back to you."

Don is serving his 14th year on the local school board and ninth year on the Iowa Association of School Boards.


A love of farming began for Mike and Nick Hunter while growing up on the family farm near Chariton in southern Iowa. The brothers earned ag business degrees from Iowa State University and returned home to farm; Mike in 1978 and Nick in 1983.

With the help of family, the brothers gradually increased their acres and equipment. In the 1980s, they purchased land together and formed Hunter Brothers, Inc. Mike is president and Nick is secretary/treasurer.

One full-time herdsman helps with the beef cattle operation. Nick's wife, Alyse, and their children help on the farm and with the tree farm when they can; Mike's daughter, Branigan, helps nearly full time on the farm.

The brothers have no-till farmed since they began farming. They grow hay for themselves and for sale; and they also custom farm some corn and soybeans for local producers. Hunter Brothers Tree Farm sells 700 Christmas trees a year. This business also sells nursery stock and transplants trees using a truck-mounted tree spade.

The diverse operation reflects the brothers' willingness to try new farming methods and a desire to protect the environment. They've worked with ISU Extension and NRCS to host numerous field days. In 2006, the brothers were selected as Rathbun Lake Protectors, a program recognizing farmers who use methods to protect a large regional water supply.

Known for their conservation efforts, the Hunters have installed 200 acres of buffers protecting nearly 2 miles of the Chariton River. They've built two modified sediment basins to contain and filter runoff from the feedlot. Manure is applied to fields using a comprehensive nutrient management plan.

The NRCS EQIP program is used to put a variety of pasture improvement and other conservation practices to work; rotational grazing, cross fencing, paddocks, watering systems, frost seeding, grass waterways and terraces.

The Hunters recently installed a hoop building for feeding cattle. They custom feed some cattle and manage a local landowner's cow-calf operation. Their strong suit is the cow-calf and feedlot enterprises, and the ability to diversify and earn 100% of their income from the farm.

The brothers give generously of their time and talent by donating tree plantings. The community has benefited; city parks, ball fields, schools, courthouse, Lucas County Fairgrounds, etc. They volunteer without fanfare. Asked what they consider to be their proudest accomplishments, Mike and Nick say working with their children on the farm and being involved with the 4-H program assisting young people with their calves.


Glenn Rowe is a fourth-generation cattleman with a cow-calf operation and feedlot interests. He started farming with his father Roger in 1968 in both the cattle and row-crop operations. After graduation from Iowa State University, he returned to the family farm to manage the operation. Today, he and Bev own 1,600 acres in Dallas, Madison and Union counties. About 400 acres are tillable, the rest are grazing or non-tillable acres.

From 1968 to 2000, Glenn operated a 50/50 corn and soybean minimum tillage row crop farm in addition to his cow-calf and feedlot operation. In 2000, he and Bev turned the row-crop management over to sons Justin and Tanner who rent 90% of their row crop acres. Justin and his wife Corinne farm, run a cow-calf operation and custom baling service at Dallas Center. Tanner and his wife Laura also farm, run the Rowe feedlot operation and a welding repair service at Minburn.

Since renting out the cropland to their sons, Glenn has concentrated on his true passion: a cow herd of around 110 head. He works diligently to find the right Angus bulls at private treaty sales to breed to his black and Red Angus cows. Each year, he retains his best heifers to breed and strengthen his herd genetics. The rest of the calves are put on feed in his feedlot, which he owns in a 50-50 partnership with son Tanner. The calves are fed out to 1,250 pounds. Additional calves are bought to feed out around 1,200 head per year.

In conservation, Glenn has utilized both the Conservation Reserve Program and worked closely with NRCS programs to improve his pasture acres. He also employs buffer strips along streams. He takes great pride in his pasture management utilizing rotational grazing, weed control, excavation such as terraces and pond maintenance to prevent erosion, and brush removal to improve and maximize pasture productivity. "We are constantly working to improve our rotational grazing system," says Glenn. "Last year, we installed ¾ mile of rural water line to provide water in some of our new paddocks."

The Rowes have been involved in the Iowa Cattlemen's Association for almost 40 years. Glenn served as a district director, regional vice president, president-elect and president of ICA. He also served as building committee chairman for the ICA. During this time, a new headquarters facility for ICA was purchased and extensive remodeling done along with raising more than $1.1 million. He is currently a member of the ICA Foundation board. Bev has also been involved with the Iowa Cattle Women as an officer and committee person.

Glenn and Beverly's dedication to young people is obvious as they have been involved with youth for over 35 years at the Iowa State Fair 4-H Horse Show; and Dallas and Madison counties to support young people in the 4-H programs.


An Iowa State University Extension economist who provided grain marketing information and advice to farmers for 41 years is being honored with the Iowa Master Farmer Exceptional Service Award. Robert Wisner, who joined the ISU faculty in 1967 as an assistant professor and Extension economist in grain marketing and outlook, retired from ISU in December 2007.

Wisner joins the ranks of only nine others that have received the Exceptional Service Award. The award honors his career of helping farmers through his Extension work and for teaching their sons and daughters at the university.

Wisner grew up on a family farm in Michigan and was 27 years old when he came to ISU in February 1967. He achieved an impressive list of accomplishments in the four decades that have passed since his hiring and his retirement at age 68. He made presentations to farmers and others at more than 2,200 Extension meetings, conferences and other meetings in 38.

states and 18 foreign countries. He has authored more than 1,500 publications.

He contributed a market analysis article to 960 issues of the bimonthly Iowa Farm Outlook Newsletter. The newsletter in recent years has moved from being a printed newsletter to online, where it receives 50,000 hits per month.

Over the years, Wisner became well-known as an innovator in market outlook and in analyzing marketing and risk-management strategies. He was the first and still one of the few outlook specialists to present probability-based grain price forecasts. He's recognized for providing market analysis in a form that can be easily understood and used by farmers.

Wisner helped educate crop insurance agents and farmers about risk management tools like forward pricing and harvest-price revenue insurance. Recognized around the world, Wisner's writings on risk management and marketing of genetically modified crops have been translated and widely used in Japan and China, and have helped shape research on identity-preserved marketing in Europe.

Wisner witnessed several revolutions in agriculture. The massive Soviet grain purchases in 1972 and 1973 pushed grain prices sky-high. Several grain embargoes also had an impact. Oil price shocks in the 1970s led to the push for ethanol production. The boom times of the 1970s were followed by the farm financial crisis of the mid-1980s.

In retirement, Wisner is doing some work for the Ag Marketing Resource Center on the ISU campus.

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