Where livestock grows, so does opportunity

posted on Tuesday, June 5, 2018

“I’ve been in the pig business for years, and when we first started out nobody wanted anything to do with the manure,” said Al Anderson, a third generation farmer from Williams, Iowa. “Now, farmers want it, because they know it really helps their soil.”

Last year Anderson approached Iowa Select Farms about their Crop Fertility Plus Program—a program that provides manure to crop farmers in return for the sale of 3-5 acres of land. Land for an Iowa Select Farms 4,800 head finishing barn. The manure from the two barns can fertilize 300 acres of corn/corn rotation, or 600 acres of corn/soybeans.

“The micronutrients that are in the manure are important to the soil, and you can’t get that from commercial fertilizer,” said Anderson.

Anderson has three nearby fields that will receive the manure from the Hale Finisher, a value of $157.16 per acre. The Crop Fertility Plus Program provides the manure at no cost, but the crop farmer, Anderson in this case, covers the cost of application, which is usually around $.015/gallon, or $62.25 per acre, which still leaves him well ahead.

Where livestock grows, so does opportunity. Every new farm needs a manager, and as luck would have it, Al’s son-in-law was interested. Josh English has been helping Al as a farm hand for four years, and he and Al’s daughter, Summer, just welcomed a baby boy, Axel.

“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to manage the barn and the extra income will help,” said Anderson. “It keeps young people in rural Iowa and gives them an opportunity to raise a family here.”

“I am really excited about this,” said English. “I like the new technology in the barn and the pen configuration and layout. I can tell a lot of time and thought went into the design and the equipment, and they made it easy on the caretakers because you’re not jumping over 36 gates every time you walk the barns.”

The Hale Finisher—along with all new company-owned finishers—is part of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers Green Farmstead Program, and also includes electrostatic fences to reduce odors.

“The trees and electrostatic fence let the neighbors know everyone is trying,” said English. “Even though we don’t own the barn or the pigs, we’ll treat it as if we do.”