Leadership Washington learns about agriculture
Members of this year’s Leadership Washington class boarded a school bus Wednesday, March 12, and traveled the roads of Washington County to learn about agriculture.
The day began at the Washington County Extension office where the group did a feed-mixing exercise. They learned about different ways feed can be mixed, different equipment, and why it is important for a farmer to mix feed correctly.
The first stop was at the Bates Turkey Farm where the class learned about turkey production. They visited a grow shed and later saw a video of turkeys being loaded on semis the day before. The group learned about the labor involved in keeping the birds healthy, the costs of feed and fuel, and bio-security. Mike Bates told the group about West Liberty Foods and the processing of the meat and that their product is sold locally.
At the next stop Matt Wulf told the group about his cattle operation and they had an opportunity to bottle feed a baby calf. The group moved on up the road to the Brayton Turner farm where they learned about sheep production and saw several groups of baby lambs. They also met his guard ‘llama.'
Over lunch, a presentation was given by Bob Shepherd, Market Master of Washington’s Farmers Market, and the role value-added agriculture plays in our community. Aaron Putze of the Iowa Soybean Association also gave a presentation on agriculture in Iowa and shared many interesting facts.
The afternoon began with a discussion of the different types of hog production that takes place in our county. Sheryl Lewis told about raising natural pigs and Rachel Fishback talked about raising pigs in confinement buildings.
The class traveled to the Dick Gallagher farm where Dick and Ryan Gallagher told the group about grain farming, and showed some of their equipment as well as their grain-drying system. They discussed the cost of equipment, grain marketing and how events and weather in other parts of the world affect prices in Washington County.
The afternoon concluded with a trip to the Aaron Sobaski farm where the group learned about raising goats and the pigs he raises that are trucked to New Jersey for processing. He also had sheep and lambs on hand for the group to see.