Giengers host Florida FFA

Florida FFA State Officers and staff spent a week in Iowa touring agriculture related business and the Gienger Farm at Gladbrook. The group is pictured prior to enjoying supper at the Gienger Farm. Pictured are Tyler Brannan, Barrett Young, Jillian Johnston, Juliet Heijkoop, Dennis Gienger, Meg Alexander, Carter Howell, Camille Thompson, Ronnie Simmons, Emily KIng, Lilly Bru, Layne Murty and Eric Keller. Photo by Margaret Thomsen

Florida FFA State Officers and staff toured the Dennis and Jason Gienger Farms on September 17. This visit is sponsored in conjunction with the Tama County Pork Producers and the Florida State Future Farmers of America.

Tama County youth visited Florida earlier in the year. The focus of the trips is to showcase the multiple aspects of agriculture across our nation. We have acres and acres of corn and soybeans. They have concentrated dairies and smaller farms raising fruits and vegetables.

In regard to the group’s visit to the Dennis and Jason Gienger Farms, Florida FFA Area 4 Vice President Tyler Brannan, said, “We have seen the best of everything today. We saw the farrowing units that were just awesome. I am amazed at how much the people here give back to their community. They have a problem and they just push through.”

Area 1 Vice President Meg Alexander, commented, “The whole operation here is just outstanding. And yesterday we toured the Kienze plant at Williamsburg. They even have a museum. I just loved everything.”

Area 6 Vice President Jillian Johnston noted, “It is amazing to hear the family history of the farm. It is super inspirational at how the farms are kept in families for generations.”

Carter Howell, Florida FFA State Secretary, related, “We toured the Cookies BBQ Sauce Company and got to talk to owner Speed Herrig. He started that company in his own shop and just expanded and grew production. He told us how the assembly line affects efficiency.”

Florida State FFA President Juliet Heijkoop said, “We have seen the heart of the industry here in Iowa. From factory to actual hands on farming. The commitment of the farmers and industry as a whole is so strong. It is all very impressive.”

Area 2 Vice President Barrett Young shared, “The comparison between Florida and Iowa is a contrast – they do not have the same production. This is something that the general public is not exposed to. At Stein Seed, we learned about genetics. Also here in Iowa you raise more pigs while using less land. You all work together. We visited Brenneman Farms and learned about being sustainable. I learned about confinement. The sows there are so comfortable and relaxed while using 16 square feet of space. Politicians are making agenda moves, wanting to require much more space. This trip is an experience I will always remember.”

Other stops enjoyed by the Florida group included New Century FS in Melbourne, Iowa State University Meat Science Lab and Rabo Bank Financial in Cedar Falls. There the group was greeted by Megan Gienger of Gladbrook.

Also included in the Florida group were FFA Executive Director Ronnie Simmons, Camille Thompson, FFA Alumni State Board and Emily King, FFA Association.

The Gienger Family hosted supper for the Florida group and were assisted by Tama County Pork Producers. Tama County youth attending the supper at the Gienger farm included Layne Murty and Eric Keller, who have been on a similar trip to Florida and Tama County Pork Princess Lilly Bru.