Professional Improvement Tours

State Fair, Kemin, Show Cattle

Ag Innovations: From Hand-Crafted Specialties to Global Manufacturing.
Learn the stories behind innovative agricultural products while experiencing one of Iowa’s most unusual ethnic communities, the Dutch city of Pella. Free time permits sampling Pella’s famous bakeries, meat markets and ethnic shops, while strolling along Dutch architecture and enjoying optional city views from the top of the tallest U.S. operating windmill (additional fee). Other points of interest include the glockenspiel clock with chimes and animated figurines, and downtown canal. Then enjoy a catered lunch and learn about tomorrow’s innovations during a guided tour at Vermeer Manufacturing’s world headquarters of agricultural equipment. Afternoon stops include Tassel Ridge Winery for viticulture education with wine tasting, and Frisian Farms Cheese, to sample Gouda cheese varieties, as the local cheesemaker demonstrates production and aging.

Cattle, Groceries and ISU Research

Central Iowa Agronomy
Pioneer/Corteva; Landus or Heartland Coop; Bryan Family Farms?; ISU BioCentury Research Farm?

Dairy in Iowa
Lely robotic milking; Kevin Blood Dairy Farm; ISU Dairy – lunch; Picket fence dairy; Hansen ag center

Grains and Trains
Travel the path of corn from Iowa State’s Agronomy and Ag Engineering Research Farms, to a local farm, the seed corn processor and enjoy fantastic scenery through the Des Moines River Valley aboard the Boone Scenic Valley Railroad.

I-80 West
A blend of historical sites and sustainable agriculture.  The farm is organic raising corn, soybeans, small grains, popcorn, hay and cover crops; Red Angus, swine and egg layers.  Shop at their on farm store featuring crafts and food items.  Enjoy a fresh farm lunch featuring the farms’ meat and produce catered from their restaurant.   See the sights to and from the farm, freedom rocks, the Little Mermaid with a stop at the Danish Windmill in Elk point, Ia on the way.  Going home we swing through Winterset Ia, taking a look at the covered bridges and visiting the John Wayne museum and birthplace.  Optional side tour at quilt museum or Cutler – Donahoe Covered Bridge at Winterset city park instead of John Wayne stop.

Central Iowa Water Quality
Catherine DeLong, Kay Stefanik, J. Arbuckle

Natural Resources Tour
Adam Janke/Billy Beck

ISU Horticulture
Aaron Steill; Jerry Chizek, 712 210 5128/; Madeline Schultz

Iowa Surf, Turf & Brews Tour
Here’s one you didn’t see coming…an Iowa Surf, Turf & Brews Tour! Explore a tilapia farm, then take a cruise on the Scenic City Empress Riverboat in Iowa Falls.

This tour will visit Eagles Catch tilapia farm, a unique aquaculture facility producing fresh tilapia for specialty markets, with a vision to achieve the lowest carbon emissions and water waste of any seafood production system. Lunch will be aboard the Scenic City Empress Riverboat for a cruise on the beautiful Iowa River. After lunch we will visit Couser Cattle Company/Modern Ag Farm to learn about their facilities and innovative nutrient management practices. The tour will conclude with a stop to sample some local libations at Prairie Moon Winery and Alluvial Brewing Company.

Kinze and Amana
Nestled among eastern Iowa’s rolling hills, the seven villages of the Amana Colonies were founded by German immigrants in 1855. Up the road a bit, you’ll get to visit Kinze Manufacturing, leading the world in farm equipment innovations

Kinze Manufacturing leading the world in farm equipment innovations-grain carts, planting. second half of tour will visit the Amana Colonies of Iowa including museums and local businesses- brewery, wood smith, restaurants.

Native Seeds, Wine and John Deere Green
Allendale seed co, John Wayne birthplace, Agrivision Deere dealer, covered bridges winery

Cotton, Cars and Corn
Tour participants will tour the John Deere cotton harvester works, tour the Dennis Albaugh classic car collection and then tour Syngenta seeds research facility near Slater.

Renewable Biofuels
Renewable natural gas production from corn stover and its injection into pipeline for commercial use, corn stover collection

Small Town Proud
Why do some small towns thrive while others seem to wither and die? Manning is a town of about 1500 residents that has grown with the return of young families, development of new businesses, and involvement of it residents. Puck Enterprise went from  a custom manure hauling business to an international leader in manure pumping systems. The town boasts it Main Street businesses, water park, hospital, school system, multiple parks, and authentic German Haus barn. The final stop will be at the famous Templeton Rye Distillery, known for his history producing outstanding whiskey during the Prohibition, and now legal production of some of the best whiskey in the country.

Summit Farms, Cattle Tour
Summit Farms (grain, cattle, horses), Flint Hills Ethanol

Trees and Vines; Crops and Seeds
* Attendees will learn how a small farm Christmas tree business,
started nearly 60 years ago and has expanded and diversified to meet a wider audience and changing needs of clients.
Will see how a number of “Family Friendly” events and activities, provides a safe and fun outing for kids throughout Central
Iowa, plus a good income for this third generation business.

Attendees will learn about  the development of a successful John Deere
Machinery and Implement Dealership  that now covers a 1/3 of the state of Iowa and parts of Nebraska.
We’ll learn about the cutting edge technology, such as robotic / auto steering tractors and equipment.

Attendees will learn about the history of a rural Iowa County. We’ll experience building
designs and structures of the 1800’s . We’ll learn about the history of the
1800’s Covered Bridges, that provided transportation links from farm to towns.

* Attendees will learn about the  explosion of small wineries all over the state of Iowa.
We’ll learn how a family owned Winery has developed a local market plus a retail distribution throughout the state.

What’s New at the U!
Iowa leads the nation in livestock and animal feed production. This tour will see severla of the new research and teaching facilities at ISU, starting with the newly constructed $21 million ISU feed mill and grain science complex. The complex is a world-class, state-of-the-art facility used to enchance ISU teaching programs related to feed technology, grain science and animal nutrition. Students andindustry trainees will use the comples to learn how to keep the food system secure and sustainable. The ISU Meats laboratory is a federally inspected facility with the capabililty for slaughtering and complete process of meat animals. It has a full complement of sausage-making equipment and is availblee to private companies for product and process development. A retail sales outlet provides additional opportunities for students. The new Turkey Teaching and Research Facility is the only major-univeristy facility focused solely on turkey production in the nation. Our last stop will be the new ISU Veterinary Diagnositic Lab opening in 2023. The VDL processes more than 100,000 case submission a year and plays a key role in ensuring animal healthe, public health and food safety to Iowa’s $32 billion animal industry.

Alternative Livestock Tour
Iowa is ranked in the top ten for pork, poultry, beef, eggs and turkey production nationally, but we are also home to many direct meat marketers. This tour will vist one producer who is a part of the largest direct pork market systems, Berkwood Farms, featuring high quality Berkshire pork. Then travel to the Market on Main, also a family owned business featuring their own Black Angus beef along with locally produced meats, honey, milk, Ice cream, cheeses, soaps and wine.  We’ll have lunch at the Dreesman Buffalo Ranch and view 400 acres of woods and hills and the buffalo that roam there, and end up at the home of landscaping goats.

Sukup Sheffield

Global to Local Produce and Supply Chains

Ag History and Innovation

Great State, Great Food, Great Outdoors