Making Hay
Week of March 27th, 2005 | The weather was a picture-perfect day.

Soybean byproduct in tote bags.

Soybean byproduct in tote bags.

Hello! Spring is here! I just got back from my grandparents' farm, celebrating Easter. Here in Northeast Iowa, it is a picture-perfect day. It's about 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun is out. Winter is over, and I can't wait until I get out of school and spend my spring and summer working outside. I can smell the spring air when I go outside and I know it's about time to plant barley.

We should be in the field in a week or two, planting our barley and next year's hay crops. I can't wait! Until then, we have to get our equipment ready. We already have our seed on hand. We have about 60 acres of barley this year. I hope our barley-planting season this year will fit in with my schedule, so I can help.

This year is our first time feeding our calves out. We always sold the calf crop to other farmers who want to feed them out. This year, our calves are going to be sold to Organic Valley. We will be having the calves around the farm until they are finished in the summer.

This coming month will be extremely busy for me. Saturday evening, I have our local New Hampton FFA Chapter Banquet to attend. Members will be receiving awards and recognition for what we've done this past year and we will announce the new officers elected. Hopefully, I will be installed as a chapter officer. This past year, I was the chapter secretary. On April 10, our community church will be hosting our annual fundraiser supper. Since my parents are on the committee for this supper, I will be busy all day with that. My sister, Jolene, will have a piano recital in the evening of April 13. During that week, I will be at dress rehearsal for our spring play at school. I am operating the lights for the production, which will be Friday night, the 15th. On the 17th, I will be leaving for Iowa State FFA Convention in Ames, Iowa. I will return on the 19th. I go to school on that Wednesday (April 20th), but then leave on the 21st to go on the band/choir trip to St. Louis, Missouri. I will come back home on the 24th and spend the rest of the month to relax from my trips! (I hope!) On top of all that, I will spend every free minute of my time working on other activities at school and on the farm.

Our family feed business has changed a lot. When we first started the business five years ago, we sold just a few items to a handful of people in Northeast Iowa. Now, with over 16 accounts, we sell truckloads of product. Currently, we buy and sell a limited quantity of grains, a diverse array of proteins, custom manufactured vitamin and mineral premixes and a little ground chicken feed to a few customers. Our main selling product is our blended proteins. We use different soybean byproducts from plants in Iowa and Minnesota and process the byproducts to make protein ingredients for organic feed. We currently own a single-axle semi tractor, three bumper-hitch hydraulic dumping grain trailers, two semi hopper bottom grain trailers, a separate feed mixer-mill for protein use, and we use two augers. Our feed equipment investment is about $40,000.

We currently have been purchasing protein product out of a plant in Iowa. The protein byproducts come in tote bags, which requires a semi cargo van trailer to haul. We have purchased, recently, a pallet jack to unload these trailers of product. Since we first purchased this, we have piles of empty tote bags and pallets in our yard.

With the feed business, we employ laborers and welders to help us for maintenance, hire about 5 different trucking companies to haul product for us, and we have a testing lab do about 60 tests to insure product quality. This helps the rural economy.

Farm Fact: The by-product proteins are produced from soybeans that are used for human food consumption.

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