ELLIOTT, Iowa — Ron Mardesen, of A Frame Acres, will host a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day exploring pasture-based pig health on Friday, June 14, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., on his farm near Elliott (54808 Youngstown Road).
The event – “Managing Pig Health in a Pasture-Based System” – is free to attend and will include a potluck lunch after the field day, with pulled pork provided by Niman Ranch.
Guests are asked to bring a side dish to share. RSVPs are requested for the meal by Tuesday, June 11. Sign up online at practicalfarmers.org/field-days, or contact Debra Boekholder at email@example.com or (515) 232-5661. The field day is sponsored by Lyman Vet Clinic, Niman Ranch and United Farmers Cooperative.
The Mardesens began selling pigs to Niman Ranch in 2002. They raise as few as 450 hogs up to 1,300, depending on how much corn they harvest the prior year, in a pasture-based system. The family mostly grows corn with soybeans in rotation alongside alfalfa, oats and livestock.
“In a pasture-based farrow-to-finish pig operation, it is essential to follow precise health procedures,” Ron says.
At the field day, guests will hear from Drew White, a veterinarian for Niman Ranch, about managing vaccine protocols, record-keeping and preventive health measures to conduct for their swine herds. Ron will also discuss the family’s pasture-farrowing process and how they incorporate livestock into their field crop operations.
A Frame Acres has been in the Mardesen family for five generations. Today, three generations still work the farm. Part of the family’s ground was virgin land first broken by their ancestors, and the Mardesens are the only people who have ever farmed it. Ron’s mom helps with the cattle; Ron and his wife, Denise, run the hogs; and their three children, Matty, Michael and Anna, help out as well.
Directions to the field day are available on Practical Farmers’ website.
This event is part of Practical Farmers’ main 2019 field day season, which includes 40 events across Iowa, and the region, on topics spanning the agricultural spectrum. The field days are meant to help connect farmers with their peers for networking and farmer-to-farmer learning.
Practical Farmers’ 2019 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Bio Till; Center for Rural Affairs; Gandy Cover Crop Seeders; Grain Millers Inc.; H.A. Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture – Iowa State University; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University; Iowa State Department of Agronomy; La Crosse Seed; Man@Machine; MOSA Certified Organic; Niman Ranch; PepsiCo; Pipeline Foods; Premier 1 Supplies; River Valley Cooperative; Scoular; Sunderman Farm Management; Sunrise Foods International; Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education; Trees Forever; Unilever; Welter Seed & Honey Company.