Faces of Our Neighbors & Memories: Euken-Myers family celebrations generations of farming with environmental impact in mind | Business & Agriculture

The road of succession continues on a household farm in Cass County.

For the reason that late 1980s, Randy and Jill Euken have farmed a swath of land exterior Lewis, 10 miles south of Atlantic, elevating cattle and rising corn and soybeans. Randy and Jill are shifting to Atlantic whereas their daughter Michelle Myers and son-in-law Steve Myers take over the homestead.

“We really feel very blessed that our daughter and son-in-law wish to farm,” Jill Euken stated.

Jill Euken’s nice grandfather, grandfather and his brothers bought the farmland in 1912. Each Eukens grew up with cattle on household farms and confirmed cattle as 4-H members, in keeping with data supplied by the Iowa Cattleman’s Affiliation.

The pair married 40 years in the past (their 41st anniversary is in August). Armed with levels linked to farming — Randy Euken studied agriculture enterprise at Northwest Missouri State, Jill Euken studied client sciences at Iowa State College — the pair bought the household farm from Jill Euken’s nice aunt in 1987.

“We acquired married and we knew we had been going to farm and attempt to make the perfect of it,” Randy Euken stated.

“We had the benefit of legacy,” Jill Euken added.

Over the previous 40 years, they’ve continued to develop and enhance their cattle herd by fastidiously deciding on alternative heifers and bulls, conserving and using an in depth set of information, implementing the perfect practices for environmental stewardship and thoroughly tending to beef diet and herd well being, the Iowa Cattleman’s Affiliation stated.

All through that point, the farm has included each row-crops and cattle. The land is utilized with erosion and water high quality in thoughts, with the extremely erodible floor rising pasture or hay.

Now, the household has put in place a farm transition plan that’s transferring administration and operation of the meat and farming enterprises to their daughter and son-in-law. Over the previous three years, Michelle and Steve Myers have bought and improved their very own farm and bought half of the Eukens’ cow herd. They’re retaining possession of their calves within the household feedyard and are carrying on the legacy of environmental stewardship of their farming and cattle enterprises.

Each Myers studied at Iowa State, with Steve Myers specializing in agriculture enterprise and agronomy, and Michelle Myers specializing in agriculture enterprise, agriculture economics and entrepreneurship, amongst many focuses, Jill Euken stated.

“They’re effectively ready,” Jill Euken stated.

Randy added: “They’re extra ready than we had been.”

And the Myers are shifting to the homestead. They’re the fifth era within the household to earn a residing from the farm.

The Eukens and Myers presently have roughly 165 cows and 30 head of alternative heifers, the Iowa Cattleman’s Affiliation stated. In addition they feed out their very own calves and others in a 400 head feedlot, and buy feeder cattle which can be customized fed elsewhere.

The household manages pasture and hay floor along with row-crops. The row-crop acres are farmed with an prolonged rotation together with alfalfa hay.

And whereas they’re shifting to city, Randy and Jill Euken aren’t retiring.

“I informed them they wanted to be there, and I’ll commute,” Randy Euken stated. “I’m not quitting. I’m removed from quitting.”

“Retiring is just not a objective proper now,” he added, chuckling, “That’s down the street.”

The farm earned the Iowa Cattlemen’s Affiliation 2020 Iowa Environmental Stewardship Program Award for the household’s dedication to working to depart the land higher than they discovered it.

“A variety of occasions, should you make the additional effort it pays you again dividends. Perhaps not in your lifetime, however for the following era,” Randy Eucken stated. “We tried laborious to maintain the soil in place. Improve it with vitamins and administration. And hopefully depart it higher than once we discovered it.”

Decreasing emissions has turn out to be entrance and middle for the agriculture trade in the present day, the affiliation stated. The Eukens and Myers make the most of many practices on their row-crop operation to cut back emissions, together with enhancements to their grain-drying techniques and diminished tillage. Elevated yields over time have additionally diminished emissions on a per acre or per unit degree.

The land has an unimaginable potential to retailer and make the most of carbon, however sure farming practices can enhance or lower carbon sequestration. By way of cowl crops, minimal tillage and software of manure, the Eukens and Myers have been capable of enhance soil natural matter, in keeping with the affiliation. This enhance in natural matter has made their land extra worthwhile and wholesome, and has elevated its potential to retailer carbon.

The household has been capable of make the most of these wholesome soils to extra sustainably develop crops, feed cattle and assist hold the carbon within the soil and out of our ambiance. Cowl crops have turn out to be an enormous a part of no-till, natural, and livestock manufacturing the final couple of years. A giant a part of this motive is as a result of efficiencies and distinctive instruments that cowl crops present. Feed, bedding, tillage, and elevated natural matter are just some of the examples of what cowl crops present, together with numerous methods for a farmer to be extra sustainable, the affiliation stated.

“Generally the rain doesn’t at all times fall once you need it,” Randy Eucken stated. “If you happen to can hold the water there, all the higher.”

The Nationwide Cattlemen’s Beef Affiliation’s Environmental Stewardship Awards Program started 28 years in the past. The regional winners for the nationwide award can be introduced in late July, with the Eukens and Myers competing in opposition to nominees from Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

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