Promise City Farm Family Sees Value in Tree Plantings: The Alexanders

07-08-2013 in Green Farmstead Partner

Have you ever wondered how to better control temperature and minimize energy costs at a hog site? Well, planting trees might be the way to do it. Just ask Paul Alexander, Promise City farmer.

Alexander is no stranger to southern Iowa. In fact, his family has been farming in Wayne County since 1976. Today, he is carrying on the family tradition of a diversified grain and livestock farm with the help of his wife Deleta, and brother David and wife Kelley. Between the two families, they own and manage five hog sites; the pigs come from Eichelberger Farms.

At Iowa Pork Congress, Paul stopped by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers’ (CSIF) booth and sought advice specifically about the Green Farmstead Partner (GFP) program. The Alexanders have two 4800-head hog barns that they wanted to plant trees around. Even though they had never had any odor complaints from neighbors, they wanted to be proactive.

After meeting on the farm with CSIF staff and discussing their goals and plans for the future, Paul and his wife Deleta decided the best trees for their situation would be hybrid willows. They wanted something fast growing, but yet able to control snow and wind.

This spring, with the help of Matt Roelfs of Advanced Greenscapes, they planted a total of 800 hybrid willows in two rows on the north and west sides of two of their hog sites. Not only will the trees help minimize energy costs, but they will also help regulate temperatures by providing a windbreak from the winter’s blustery northern winds and cooling the air in the summertime. They hope to see the trees pay for themselves quickly, and then will decide if their other hog barns would benefit from landscaping as well.

Paul has had a great experience working with the Green Farmstead Partner program. “I would encourage other farmers to use the expertise of the Green Farmstead Partner program before construction starts. If we would have planned to plant the trees when we built the barns, we would have room for more trees,” Paul said.

When asked if he would recommend CSIF to other farmers building new sites or needing help interpreting the rules and regulations, he quickly replied, “Absolutely!”

To learn more about the Green Farmstead Partner program and tree plantings for livestock and poultry farms, visit

By: Erin Steele, 2013 CSIF Summer Intern

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