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In support of Marshall County livestock farms

My family and I farm near Marshalltown where we raise hogs and corn. As a family, we’ve been improving our conservation and stewardship efforts for six generations and intend to keep improving our land for my children and future grandchildren.

I’ve had conversations with people asking if we are a factory farm. I hear many commercials, see it on Facebook and read letters to the editor in our local paper referencing factory farms and what they are doing to ruin our land and water. On my farm, we are a family farm, not a factory farm.

The average farm size in Marshall County is 357 acres. In Marshall County, there are 886 farms that make up our 316,451 farmable acres in the county.

I’m not sure if the label of Factory Farm is to make you think of “big farmers” and “big buildings” or if that label is supposed to take the personal connection out of the message. You know, distract you from thinking they are referencing your neighbor down the road, the farmers that attend your church or your kid’s basketball coach that has two hog buildings.

Don’t be fooled.

Activists are wrong to claim livestock farmers apply manure in a “wasteful” manner. It’s an important source of valuable nutrients. In fact, Iowa State University researchers say Iowa has a manure shortage when it comes to meeting crop farming’s nutrient needs, because livestock in the state can only produce enough manure to apply organic nutrients to 25 percent of Iowa’s cropland. On my family farm, I use precision technology and conservation practices to make sure I only use what I need, where I need it and it stays in place, thanks to my cover crops, buffers and my manure management plan.

Livestock works for Marshall County. Thirty-four percent of jobs in this county are in the livestock and livestock production industry. I support elected officials that understand the balance that we Iowan’s have between industry and our environment. We’re out here living it, making improvements and doing things better than ever before.