ADEL, Iowa — Friday morning’s rain and mud did not stop third district Congresswoman Rep. Cindy Axne (D-West Des Moines) from touring the DMACC agribusiness program that operates on the Dallas County farm north of Adel.
Dallas County owns 526 acres of farmland, woodlands and wetlands surrounding the Dallas County Human Services Campus, the largest such holding of any county in Iowa. The DMACC agribusiness department has leased the farmland, barns and stockyards since 2005.
Axne and a two-person staff arrived about 9:30 a.m. and were briefed on the program by DMACC Agribusiness Department Co-Chairs Dwayne Faidley and Tim Doud. Faidley is the department’s professor of animal science and Doud the agronomy professor, and between them they teach a wide variety of courses.
Axne said the coronavirus pandemic has made many people more curious about the sources of their food, and she would like to see that interest fed by ag education across the U.S.
“We want to see more family farms,” Axne said. “We have seen what can happen with too much concentration in the food industry. It’s good to see more women working in agriculture, too.”
Taking their cue, agribusiness students Kat Rieger of Clive and Em Casper of Clear Lake told Axne what they like about working on the DMACC farm and studying agribusiness, which is attracting more female majors all the time.
Doud and Faidley said the agribusiness program now attracts about 100 first-year students, with a three-to-one ration of males to females. The curriculum includes courses in agronomy, animal science, farm management and agricultural supply and service, they said, and partnerships with groups such as the Iowa Farm Business Association and test plots for the leading seed dealers give students valuable networking opportunities in the field.
Farm Manager Mike King led the tour of the cattle and hog lots and explained some details of the row-crop and livestock operation. The program grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa on about 250 acres and raises some 120 hogs and 60 to 70 cow/calf head each year.
Axne currently serves on the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit and Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry and on the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services’ Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance and Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets.
No local politicians were on hand to greet the second-term U.S. representative, Iowa’s only Democrat in Congress, because the GOP has held all county-level partisan offices in Dallas County since the 2018 defeat of five-term Dallas County Attorney Wayne Reisetter, a Democrat.