CSIF – Because confidence matters

04-10-2024 in Anniversary

Bryce and Brian Sampson of Story County are confident they can handle anything that comes at them in their crop and livestock operation.

Raising the next generation on the farm has the father and son duo confident in the future.

A 2020 derecho has them confident they can handle catastrophe.

The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers has them confident they can face their neighbors and regulatory agencies knowing they are doing things right.

“Come out and catch us doing something right,” Brian challenges.

Brian Sampson farmed with his father and grandfather before purchasing his first 80 acres in 2003. He erected his first hoop barn for his cattle in 2006 with guidance from CSIF.

“They came out and looked at the plans and listened to our ideas, helped us see the broad picture, and helped work through the process of EQIP funding,” says Brian. CSIF made sure the structure and site met DNR regulations. “They helped us do things right.”

That was the first of three hoop barns as Brian expanded the cattle operation and raised Bryce on the farm.

“There’s not a lot of livestock in Story County,” says Brian, “and farmers can feel isolated and sometimes a bit intimidated. You wonder if you are doing things right or not. CSIF gave us the confidence to make sure we were headed in the right direction.”

In 2011, Sampson received the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award for his environmental and livestock stewardship and community involvement.

Bryce was proud of his dad for the good farmer he was, but staying on the farm was never really either of their intent.

“He had so many other interests and options,” says Brian. “Farming was my job, not his.”

Bryce went off to college, then to work in California. He married and started a family.

Then one day in early 2020, Brian received a phone call. It was Bryce, sitting in traffic, asking if he could return to the farm. He wanted his kids to have the opportunity to grow up on a farm like he had.

Brian was glad to oblige and started making plans, working once again with the coalition. “I knew if I didn’t expand, he wouldn’t have any reason to stick around,” says Brian.

Then fate interfered. Bryce and a devastating derecho arrived on the same August 2020 day.

A hoop barn, a windbreak, and much of the farm’s crops were destroyed, along with grain bins and the roof of the newly remodeled house where Bryce and is family intended to live.

Brian calls the event an “unplanned transition.” Bryce sees it as a confidence building challenge.

“We emerged with the confidence that if we can survive that, we can survive anything,” says Bryce. “It was scary. But we survived, able to move on and rebuild, make changes even.”

Again, CSIF was by their side, helping to rebuild the hoop barn, replace trees in the windbreak through the Green Farmstead Partner program, and navigate grant funding options.

“They are our partner,” says Bryce. “They are an invaluable objective knowledge base. And that’s a valuable resource since Dad might not always be around.”

Not that Brian intends to go anywhere anytime soon. Bryce holds an off-farm job while serving as a financial partner in the farm and helping out when he can. Brian continues to be actively involved in the farming.

Bryce’s young daughters enjoy farm life, as he had hoped, and especially enjoy having Grandpa on site and at their beck and call, providing treasured combine rides.

“I was able to come back because the operation was up to date,” says Bryce. “Dad’s always looking ahead and CSIF helps him do that.”

“They help us look 10 years down the road and at the same time focus on the practical things like truck traffic and where a road or drive should be,” says Brian. “They keep us from stubbing our toe so hard it hurts, while making sure we can pass a DNR inspection anytime as we expand in a populated area.”

Keeping in good stead with their neighbors is crucial to the Sampsons. Bryce and his family intend to be part of the community for many years to come.

“CSIF gives me the confidence to do that,” says Bryce. “It puts me in touch with people who can answer questions. It’s easy to talk to them and I know I can trust them. That gives me the confidence to keep looking forward and planning ahead, and the confidence to know I’m being a good neighbor.”

And that draws the right kind of attention.

When doing business in nearby downtown Roland, Bryce and Brian are often greeted by neighbors who are appreciative of their “do it right” approach.

“People come up to us and say, ‘I like driving by your place and seeing what interesting things you’re up to’,” says Brian. “And I can’t imagine a better confidence building compliment – for us, or for agriculture.”


The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers was created by farmers to help farmers raise livestock successfully and responsibly. It’s a joint partnership involving the Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Turkey Federation, Midwest Dairy and the North Central Poultry Association. The non-profit, non-partisan organization provides assistance to farmers at no cost. CSIF does not lobby or develop policy. Farm families wanting a helping hand can contact the Coalition at 1-800-932-2436 or www.supportfarmers.com.

(By Terri Queck-Matzie for CSIF. Queck-Matzie is a freelance writer from Greenfield).

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