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Contract goat-raising field day set July 18

By Staff | Jul 9, 2015

AMES – A two-part Practical Farmers of Iowa compost and goat grazing field day is set from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 18 at the Steenhoek Farm, 3892 500th Ave. in Ames and will continue at the Hansen Farm, 955 230th St. in Ogden.

During the first part of the event, Chad Steenhoek will lead a tour of the Steenhoek farm and compost operation. Steenhoek 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.

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 Steenhoek co-owns with business partner Aaron Steele.

During the “Goats and Compost Partner for Soil Health” event, attendees will learn how the operation specializes in using goats to control problem weeds, brush and invasive plant species without the use of chemicals.

Soil health benefits of producing high-quality goat compost for rain-garden and planting mixes will also be discussed.

“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,” said Steenhoek.

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.

Hansen 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. Hansen has contracted with Goats on the Go to provide goats and strategic advice on the grazing portion of the project.

Attendees will hear from Steele, and will get to see the property at the end of the grazing phase and compare it to the surrounding untreated land.

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

There is no-cost for the event which includes lunch. However, RSVPs are requested to reserve a meal. Please contact Lauren Zastrow at lauren@practicalfarmers.org or (515) 232-5661 by Wednesday, July 15.

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.

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