Bruce and Jenny Wessling | Greene County

Wessling Farm, in Greene County, finishes nearly 19,000 head of hogs each year at two sites using three naturally ventilated pig barns that feature deep-pit manure storage. The pigs are raised under contact with Cargill Pork. Bruce and Jenny Wessling also have 4,600 acres of corn and soybeans.

Q. What water quality practices have you used on your farm?
A. We incorporate terraces and grass waterways and have established buffer strips along creeks to reduce soil erosion and runoff from crop acres. Pigs are fed using wet-dry feeders to aid in water conservation and to increase manure value on a per-gallon basis. We take necessary steps to ensure proper nutrient placement, which is achieved through sampling and manure incorporation in accordance with our manure management plan.

Q. Why did you voluntarily adopt these practices?
A. Protecting the environment and water quality is not something we take lightly. Being a good steward of the land is important for us today and for future generations that will farm here.

Q. What, if any, assistance did you receive to incorporate these practices (financial as well as technical)?
A. We utilize the services of a soil agronomist for soil sampling and fertilizer recommendations, the Iowa Soybean Association's On Farm Network for research and the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers' Green Farmstead Partner Program to create the Vegetative Environmental Buffer around our farm. We also rely on CSIF to ensure compliance with all livestock rules and regulations, and utilized their services and those of Iowa State University to establish the best possible sites for our hog barns.

Q. What is your philosophy as it relates to farming and the environment?
A. When you come from a family with generation after generation in farming, you're still operating today because you've done what's needed to protect the environment and your community.