Jeff and Jeni Hanselman
Earlham – Iowa Yoga Farm, LLC.
Why do you want to farm?
I grew up working for farmers during high school and was a member of FFA as well. My father retired from sales with our local John Deere implement. My wife grew up on a farm, was a 4-H member and was an ambassador for Pioneer in Europe during high school.
We both worked for Pioneer during high school and college. In 2016, I left my corporate job to be a stay-at-home dad, coach high school baseball in Van Meter and start a farm business.
What are you farming right now?
I manage Iowa Yoga Farm LLC where we raise Nigerian Dwarf goats that we use for vegetation management and goat yoga events. Our goats are registered with the American Dairy Goat Association, of which we are members. We purchased our first goats in 2018.
Our current herd has grown to 26 goats. We have 5 acres of hay ground that we have custom baled; a half- acre planted to pumpkins and sunflowers in 2019; 14 acres of timber that we are working to enroll into a forest management program; and 3 acres currently in a rotational grazing system.
In 2019 we received two cost-share contracts with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. These will be used to construct a high tunnel for crop production and establish a rotational grazing system. The grazing plan includes pasture seeding, fencing, watering systems, a rain catch basin, trenching water and electrical to our goat barn.
What’s your vision for your farm?
Our vision is for our farm to become a profitable agritourism destination.
Family: Our family has embraced our farm since our move back to Iowa from Omaha in 2016. Our teenagers are at an ideal age to understand the differences between living in a rural versus urban environment. They appreciate the space and privacy our farm offers, and have different responsibilities than their peers like helping with farm tasks and raising the goats.
Community: We have been overwhelmed by the gratitude of people visiting our farm. We receive many comments about how we have developed our farm and how much people enjoy our goats and learning about our farming practices.
Environment: When we purchased this property, only the lane and house existed. The pasture was not suitable for raising livestock. Through controlled burning and overseeding the pasture, hay ground has greatly improved and helped reduce erosion. We have also gone through much of our timber and removed junk from years of dumping. We are excited to incorporate a rain catch basin to help reduce the amount of rural water we use for the goats and our high tunnel.
Income: Our goal is to generate enough income to pay our USDA micro-loan payment and ongoing farm operation costs. Long-term, our goal is to generate additional income for our family needs.
Why do you want to participate in this program?
We are ready to take the next steps to expand our farm and work towards our long-term goal of becoming an agritourism destination. We value Practical Farmers’ educational resources and the knowledge of other members. The SIP savings match and program requirements will help us achieve our goals.