Green Farmstead Partner Program

By Joseph L. Murphy, Iowa Soybean Association

Our "Pictures of the Week" take us to Grand Junction where Bruce and Jenny Wessling celebrated the 10th anniversary of their partnership with the Green Farmstead Partner Program earlier this week. The Green Farmstead Partner Program is a partnership between the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF), Trees Forever, the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association and farmers that want to go the extra mile to make their farmsteads aesthetically pleasing and improve neighbor relations. In 2009, the Wesslings utilized the Green Farmstead Partner Program to design a windbreak using trees.

"In trying to improve the overall look of the site we wanted to plant some trees, so we reached out to Trees Forever and the Coalition," Bruce Wessling says. "They came up with a plan, so we were placing the trees in the proper area with proper distances from the barn. We were the first people to install through that program."

Properly placed trees, shrubs and prairie plants provide many benefits to livestock farming operations. From improved water quality to odor control, buffers around livestock buildings, feedlots, manure management structures and farm fields provide economic and environmental benefits. Besides screening facilities, trees, shrubs, prairie flowers and grasses provide beauty, helping to foster good relationships with neighbors and creating a positive sense of community.

"We've planted over 70,000 trees in 10 years, so I think that speaks volumes of the livestock farmers out there that want to do things right," Brian Waddingham, executive director of CSIF, says.

Trees and shrubs around buildings and manure management structures enhance air flow to dilute and disperse odor and trap dust particles. Plantings around buildings, fields and streams also provide habitat for songbirds, game birds and other wildlife. Flowering trees, shrubs and prairie flowers provide food and habitat for pollinators.