Iowa Farmers Share Their CSIF Experiences

If you’re looking to diversify or improve your Iowa farm operation, the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) is ready to help at no cost to you. Our resources cover just about everything from the best trees and shrubs to plant, aquaculture start up information, land management and citing considerations to Iowa farm regulations advice. Backed by key and prominent commodity groups within the state of Iowa, CSIF’s free and confidential services help you be a better farmer and neighbor to your community — no matter how many years you’ve got under your belt. We provide experts to help Iowa farmers grow successfully and responsibly. Check out some of these past and present projects we’ve worked on to help Iowa farmers just like you. Want to know how CSIF can help your operation?

Improving Neighbor Relations

The Green Farmstead Partner program is a partnership between CSIF, Trees Forever and the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association to help farmers that want to go the extra mile to make their farmsteads more aesthetically pleasing and improve local relationships. The program helps provide trees and shrubs at no cost and follows through with proper placement guidance to ensure all plantings achieve maximum benefits — from improved water quality to odor control buffers, environmental benefits and more. Watch as Bruce Wessling, owner of Wessling Ag of Grand Junction and Jenn Crall, an Iowa Select Farms representative, share their experiences with the program over the last ten years and the impact it has had on their operations and relationships.

Benefits of Calving Under Roof

Limited access to pasture ground has prompted many Iowa livestock farmers to transition their cattle to sheltered spaces such as hoop barns. Chad and Amy Wilkerson, owners and operators of Wilkerson Family Farms near Linden, attended a CSIF calving barn open house event to learn more about calving under roof. The Wilkerson’s 350+ custom embryo cow-calf operation now successfully resides within two hoop buildings built using free, expert regulation and barn siting guidance from CSIF. Hear about the many benefits they’ve experienced so far.

“My advice to anyone looking to change their livestock set-up is to call CSIF. Building our monoslope barn to expand our feedlot was almost a life-changing experience. We had our questions answered without any major issues and were able to use that information to figure out what we wanted. When you do things the right way, it benefits everybody. That’s what makes livestock production succeed.” — Marty Schwers, Dubuque county cattleman

Priority on Conservation

Cover crops are viewed as a long-term investment in improved soil health and farmland conservation — and that is exactly why fifth-generation farmer Seth Smith of Nemaha, Iowa, was interested. The Smith’s are part of a growing group of Iowa cattle producers who are demonstrating that the integration of cattle and row-crop farms can be, and should be, a valuable part of the nutrient reduction strategy. Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) helped guide Smith through hundreds of pages of rules and regulations to make sure growing his farm was in compliance with state and federal guidelines while offering advice on feedlot design and best management practices. CSIF also provided guidance for Smith to take the next step on implementing cover crops on his highly diversified operation.

Diversifying Your Farm Responsibly

Lucas Tjelmeland, a fifth-generation farmer in Story County, knew that he needed to further diversify into livestock production to grow the family farm, but he wanted assistance in doing it right. Those reasons and by advice of his banker prompted him to call CSIF when he was ready to construct a 4,000-head hog confinement unit in 2014. Tjelmeland says working with CSIF was the best decision he could have made. He received no-cost advice navigating Iowa farm regulations and neighbor communications, tree buffers, water quality and impact planning and help completing the master matrix — a scoring system that can be used to evaluate the siting of permitted confinement feeding operations. Read Tjelmeland’s success story and how CSIF helped him through many tough battles.



“I would encourage other farmers to use the expertise of the CSIF 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 Alexander, Promise City farmer