Agricultural Tours Feature Risk Management Strategies

May 21, 2018

Agricultural Tours Feature Risk Management Strategies

By Callie Greiner, and Madeline Schultz,

May 21, 2018

Women across Iowa have the opportunity to visit diverse agricultural businesses through six one-day bus tours this summer. Each tour is designed by local groups of women in agriculture and led by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach county professionals and the Women in Ag program. Interested persons may sign up for a local tour, take a tour across the state, or join several tours. 

Women in Ag Farm Tour 2017While showcasing Iowa’s agricultural diversity, each tour will feature discussion around five common agricultural risks: 1) costs and benefits of production practices, 2) safety of families and employees, 3) impacts of changing regulation, 4) storing and marketing farm products, and 5) managing soil and water. 

The tour hosts are graciously opening up their farms and agribusinesses to demonstrate their unique spins on niche to commodity agricultural production, processing and marketing. Extension specialists will add expertise and guide discussion along the way. Bus rides provide an opportunity for guided discussion, informative video clips and networking with other women interested in Iowa agriculture.


2018 Women in Ag Tours • Palo Alto County • Thursday, June 14, 9:00 am to 4:15 pm

Led by Angie Strohman, Program Educator, Palo Alto County

Bode’s Moonlight Gardens • Catered Lunch at Park • Wirtz’s Farm • POET Ethanol Plant

This tour begins and ends at the ISU Extension and Outreach Palo Alto County office. The first stop is Bode’s Moonlight Gardens, where the family produces and markets vegetables through a CSA and farmer’s markets. After a catered lunch, the next stop will be at Wirtz Family Farm, where they grow organic row crops. The final visit will be to POET Ethanol Plant, where we’ll learn how ethanol impacts the corn market and hear about innovations in renewable energy production.


2018 Women in Ag Tours • SW Iowa • Friday, June 15, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm

Led by Mary Ebert, Program Coordinator, Guthrie County

Early Morning Harvest • Lauritsen Cattle Company • Lunch at Audubon County Extension Office • Veterinary Associates of Manning

Leaving from the Guthrie County Fairgrounds, this bus tour makes its first stop at the diverse Early Morning Harvest Farm. Women will be provided a boxed lunch during the ride over to the Lauritsen Cattle Company which offers computerized real time data along with retained or investor ownership experiences. Finally, women will visit the Veterinary Associates of Manning to learn how this rural business cares for animals using state of the art technology and specialized services, including c-sections on sows.


2018 Women in Ag Tours • Hamilton County • Thursday, June 28, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Led by Susan Schmitz, Program Coordinator – Hamilton County

Boone River and Oxbows Area • Lost Lake Farm • Lunch at Three Sisters Farm

On this tour, women will explore the oxbows lakes and river bends near the Boone River and learn about the water quality projects in the watershed. Tour participants will also learn about cheese production and sample the niche products on the second stop at Lost Lake Farm. Finally, the group will visit Three Sisters Farm where they will learn about sheep production along with predator and pasture management.


2018 Women in Ag Tours • Central Iowa • Wednesday, August 1, 2018, 12:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Led by Madeline Schultz, ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Program Manager – Polk County

Louis Dreyfus Ethanol Plant • ISU Ag 450 Farm and Dairy Farm • Supper at Geisler Farm

This event is offered as an optional pre-conference tour for the 12th annual Iowa Women in Agriculture Conference held on August 2, 2018. Women may register for the tour only, conference only, or both events. Box lunches will be provided on the bus ride to the Louis Dreyfus Company where hosts will explain ethanol production and discuss the impacts of legislation on the industry. Participants will have the option to learn about dairy or swine production along with manure management and composting when visiting the ISU dairy farm and Ag450 farm. Participants may choose to learn about dairy or swine production along with manure management and composting. Geisler Farms – Growing Family Fun provides a fun final destination with a barbeque dinner and networking reception in the Red Shed wedding venue.  The agri-tourism business was started in 2005 on a third-generation family farm. Geisler farm hosts the public on weekends during September and October for a corn maze, pumpkin patch and family activities; sells precut Christmas trees from mid-November through mid-December; and hosts weddings and receptions from April through August.

2018 Women in Ag Tours • Allamakee County • Friday, September 7, 2018, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Led by Julie Christensen, Office Coordinator, and Teresa Wiemerslage, Food Systems Coordinator, Allamakee County

WW Homestead Dairy LLC • Ryan Collins Beef Farm and Tri State Precision Ag  • Lunch at Empty Nest Winery • Jason Howe Farm 

This tour meets at the WW Homestead Dairy LLC milk processing company founded by two farm families in Waukon, Iowa. The bus will make its first stop at the Ryan Collins Farm. Ryan Collins operates a commercial cow/calf operation near Harpers Ferry. As a beginning farmer, Ryan has utilized several programs from the NRCS to implement conservation practices on his 170-acre farm. As part of his rotational grazing system, Ryan installed more than 7,000 feet of permanent barbed wire multi-strand fence and 3,500 feet of permanent high-tensile fencing. Ryan also operates Tri-State Precision Ag and will talk about how the technology works in the bluffs and valleys of the Driftless Region. Tour participants will have lunch at the Empty Nest Winery, which opened its doors in 2011 and is a century family farm. The tour continues with a stop at the Jason Howe Farm. Jason Howe operates a 60 head dairy near Waukon. In November 2017, he installed a robotic milker which not only eased the labor demands of the dairy, but also increased the herd’s milk production. Jason also has a 75 head cow/calf operation which grazes 35 acres along a trout stream. He also has a cooperative agreement with the Iowa DNR to allow public trout fishing in the stream.

2018 Women in Ag Tours • Warren County • Friday, September 21, 2018, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm

Led by Cortney Garrington, Executive Director, Warren County

Capital City Fruit • LaQuercia • Lunch at Annelise Winery • Diversified Crop and Livestock Farm • General Mills

Women will meet at capital City Fruits in Norwalk, Iowa, for a tour of the food packaging and distribution company established in 1949. Here, the hosts will discuss their water recycling program. Next, women will visit La Quercia (La Kwair-cha), a company that makes artisan cured meats. Established in 2005, responsibly produced ingredients are crafted by hand into foods that express the beauty and bounty of Iowa. The tour group then heads to Annelise Winery for lunch. The family-owned winery, vineyard, and event center opened in 2014. The next stop will be a visit to a diversified crops and livestock farm. Here the group will see on-farm trials that include sweet corn and organic and commodity corn. The last tour stop of the day will be a visit to the General Mills local manufacturing facility.

The cost for each tour is $25.00 and pre-registration is required. Register online at or contact the county tour leaders for assistance. These tours are made possible through the support of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture - North Central Extension Risk Management Education program and Farm Credit Services of America.



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