An Iowa-based group that’s dedicated to helping farmers who raise livestock to successfully and responsibly manage their farms is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Brian Waddingham is executive director of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers and says they’ve had a great response from young people who want to return to an Iowa farm and again start working with livestock.

“It’s probably just the number of young people that we’re bringing back to the farm today,” Waddingham says. “We’re having record call volumes and probably half of those calls are from people under 35 years of age who are using livestock to get back to the farm.”

Waddingham says most of the livestock producers they work with are environmentally-responsible. “We’re seeing more of these buildings being put up for hogs, cattle and turkeys,” he says. “It’s all about safeguarding the environment. Farmers don’t want that manure to go down the river or creek any more than a consumer or anyone else because that manure is valuable today. We can place it on crop ground and reduce our dependence on commercial fertilizers.”

Waddingham says the group’s membership has grown over the past decade and the future looks bright as more calls come in to the hotline. “To date, just shy of 2,800 livestock farmers with questions on their farms ranging from how to site a building to rules and regulations, bringing that next generation back to the farm or even how to enhance neighbor relations,” he says. “We continue to set records year over year on the number of calls and farm visits we make.”

Waddingham says he’ll continue to get the message out with open houses on livestock operations and presenting good neighbor awards. He says the service is free and confidential and anyone interested should go to the web site: supportfarmers-dot-com or call 800-932-2436.

(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)