Farmer in Iowa
Niman Ranch does not realize what it does for communities. For every person we keep on the land, we have a reason to have another family going to school, another veterinarian in the business, another repair shop in town. You can’t put a measure on that.
A Frame Acres has been in the Mardesen family for 5 generations, and currently 3 generations still work the farm. Part of the ground their family farms is actually broken sod – they’re the only people who have ever farmed it. Ron Mardesen’s mom helps farm the cattle, Ron and Denise run the hogs, and then their three children, Matty, Michael and Anna help out as well. They raise as few as 450 hogs up to 1,300 a year, depending on how much corn they harvest the year prior. They mostly grow corn with soy beans in rotation alongside alfalfa, oats and livestock.
Their goal is to leave as small a carbon footprint as possible. They use corn stalks for bedding and then turn around and use that to compost, which they haul back out on the field. The livestock are outside as much as possible, creating natural ventilation, natural light, and natural disinfectants for the land. They currently rotate the land as so: a field will host pigs or cows for 3-4 years, then it’s plowed up and turned to corn for a couple of years, then it’s seeded down to alfalfa for a couple of years, and then it will be pigs again. Then the rotation starts all over.