Contract goat grazing, compost & soil health field day at Steenhoek Farm – July 18, Ames and Ogden

For Release: July 2, 2015

AMES and OGDEN, Iowa — Goats and compost are two farm enterprises that aren’t typically linked, but at Steenhoek Farm, they are indispensable allies.

Steenhoek Farm is owned and operated by Chad Steenhoek, and comprises several unique yet complementary businesses. On the farm, 20 to 40 goats are raised and bred for Goats on the Go, a targeted grazing service that Chad co-owns with business partner Aaron Steele, and specializes in using goats to control problem weeds, brush and invasive plant species. Steenhoek Environmental then uses the manure to make high-quality compost, and rain-garden and planting mixes.

Improved soil health is a unified outcome from using both the goats and the compost. Learn more about making quality compost, using goats to control problem plants without chemicals, and the soil health benefits of both at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day Chad is hosting on Saturday, July 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event – “Goats and Compost Partner for Soil Health” – is free to attend and will include lunch. RSVPs are requested for the meal. Please contact Lauren Zastrow at [email protected] or (515) 232-5661 by Wednesday, July 15.

The field day is sponsored by Iowa SARE and Story County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The two-part field day will start at Steenhoek Farm, located at 3892 500th Ave. (County Road R53), about 5 miles north of U.S. 30 on the northwest side of rural Ames. Guests will tour the farm and compost operation, and Chad will demonstrate Steenhoek Environmental’s Liquid Compost Extract machine, as well as other equipment. He will also share new methods for planting cover crops with compost and with the extractor machine.

The second part of the day will focus on grazing with goats. After lunch, the group will travel a few miles west to the farm of Raymond Hansen, where Goats on the Go is helping with a grant project. The Hansen farm is located at 955 230th St., about 4.5 miles southeast of downtown Ogden. Raymond was awarded a SARE grant to compare the effects of goat grazing, prescribed burning, and the combination of grazing and burning on invasive multiflora rose and honeysuckle. Raymond has contracted with Goats on the Go to provide goats and strategic advice on the grazing portion of the project. Attendees will hear from co-owner Aaron Steele, and will get to see the property at the end of the grazing phase and compare it to the surrounding untreated landscape.

“It is hoped that the research will lead to new best practices in the restoration of savanna landscapes and the management of Iowa’s forests for economic value,” Chad says.

In addition to the compost and goat grazing businesses, Steenhoek Farm operates a yard waste site; grows ornamental grasses to sell; and includes hogs, chickens, ducks, rabbits and dogs.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2015 field day season features 40 field days around Iowa. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. The guide is available online at practicalfarmers.org, or contact the PFI office at (515) 232-5661 to request a printed copy.

Practical Farmers’ 2015 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Natural & Organic Meats; BlueStem Organic Feed Mill; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment Company; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa Farm Service Agency (USDA); Iowa Farmers Union in partnership with Town and Country Insurance and Hastings Mutual Insurance; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Klinkenborg Aerial Spraying and Seeding, Inc.; La Crosse Seed; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); MOSA Organic Certification; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; The Nature Conservancy in Iowa; Pro-Soil Ag Solutions; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed and Honey Company.

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Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers that seeks to strengthen farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call (515) 232-5661 or visit http://practicalfarmers.org.

Contact:

Chad Steenhoek | Steenhoek Farm | [email protected] | www.goatsonthego.com; www.secompost.com

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]