Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers

(Photo: Joclyn Bushman/Iowa Soybean Association)

Coalition helps livestock farmers implement best management practices

October 28, 2022 | Kriss Nelson

For 18 years, the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) has assisted Iowa farmers in navigating through rules and regulations surrounding livestock farming.

“The Coalition was created by farmers for farmers to work with farm families and give them advice in siting new barns and feedlots, interpreting rules and regulations, enhancing neighbor relations, and implementing best management practices,” says Brian Waddingham, CSIF executive director.

CSIF is a partnership involving the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), Iowa Beef Council, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Poultry Association, Iowa Turkey Federation and Midwest Dairy.

“We understand livestock is an important attribute to agriculture – especially in Iowa,” says Dave Struthers, ISA District 5 director from Collins. “The Coalition helps to ensure all livestock facets are done responsibly.”

Funding investments from ISA through checkoff dollars were $150,000 in 2022 and will remain the same in 2023.

“Livestock is our No. 1 soybean customer, and with Iowa also being the leading processor and feed supplier of soybean meal, it makes sense to grow our in-state livestock industry to help feed the world,” says Grant Kimberley, ISA senior director of market development.

Struthers says the expansion of Iowa’s livestock industry helps the economy and soybean farmers find a market for their soybean meal.

“As we look for uses for soybeans, livestock feed is the primary use – especially for soybean meal,” he says. “We need to ensure livestock farmers in Iowa can thrive and have good guidance when they want to expand or start a new livestock operation. The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers is a key in helping farmers do those things.”

Waddingham says soybean checkoff dollars support CSIF’s work in siting new livestock and poultry barns.

“Siting and building barns in the correct locations grows Iowa’s livestock and poultry industries, generating demand for soybeans,” Waddingham says. “Checkoff investments are being used as efficiently as possible to see Iowa’s livestock industry grow.”

Assisting farmers

Since 2004, CSIF has assisted more than 5,000 farm families to:

  • Follow rules and regulations that apply to livestock farming in Iowa;
  • Choose good locations for new livestock farms, taking into account the proximity of neighboring residences, towns, roads, parks, churches and other public use areas, as well as topography and prevailing wind directions;
  • Enhance relationships with neighbors by fostering better and more timely communication about the construction of new livestock farms, participating in community discussions and networking with members of the news media to discuss intentions about moving forward on new livestock farms; and
  • Safeguard air, soil and water quality by planting trees around new and existing farms.

“We are here for any farmer that has a question about their livestock or poultry farm or wants to start a livestock or poultry farm. Services are free and confidential due to the generous support of Iowa’s commodity groups,” says Waddingham.

CSIF also assists other states to build their own coalitions similar to CSIF.

“Since I started working for CSIF in 2010, I have helped South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois with questions on how to structure their organizations,” says Waddingham. “They all differ, but at the end of the day, those coalitions are there to help livestock farmers.”

Reaching out

CSIF was started during the rapid expansion of Iowa’s hog industry in the late 1990s.

“There was a vision something needed to be done proactively,” says Waddingham. “Over the years, we have evolved from assisting farmers with just pigs and cattle; now to turkey, poultry, dairy, fish and shrimp. Anything an Iowa farmer wants to raise that has feet, wings or fins, we can help.”

Waddingham encourages farmers with new or expanding livestock operations to contact CSIF for assistance and an understanding of Iowa’s rules and regulations.

“There are rules for any livestock or poultry facility you build today from a 10-head open lot or 1,000-head confinement barn,” he says. “We can help explain the rules and how they impact what you are doing on your farm.”

Farm families can call CSIF at 800-932-2436.