, Radcliffe, IA is one of the first growers to participate in the On-Farm Network®.
, with his
wife Helen, son Brent, and daughter-in-law Colette, operates Friest Farms.
Their operations includes 1,450 acres of corn and soybeans and a hog enterprise in which they farrow 275 sows and finish10,000 market hogs annually.
became involved with in Iowa Soybean Association
Since then, he has served on the state board of directors and as a director on the American Soybean Association board.
He continues to serve on his county board and has been a member of the On-Farm Network advisory council since it was organized.
describes the beginning of the On-Farm Network
Through the On-Farm Network
has studied nitrogen and manure management intensively.
With a goal of producing economically optimal yields, he
has steadily cut back on nitrogen use until he's
now confidently applying 40-60 lbs. per acre less than he
was 10 years ago, while producing more corn per acre now than he
"We had 36 different replicated strip trials going in 2010," says Friest
When nitrogen prices started skyrocketing, then economics became more important," says Friest
Participating in the program helped growers better understand nitrogen use and the issues surrounding it.
"Becoming a better steward has been a bigger driver than cost for most farmers who are involved," says Friest
has helped promote the growth of the On-Farm Network
program both in and outside of Iowa.
helped lobby for funding from the Iowa Department of Agriculture
and from the NRCS, as well.
"I've travelled with Tracy (Blackmer) to the Delmarva area and Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, to talk with growers there about how this program can help them become better stewards and better managers.
Last summer we visited with growers and others in Mississippi and found a lot of interest there.
Growers in both Iowa and Mississippi are working to improve water quality in the Gulf, but there's still a lot of work to be done.
says the program has value in other ways, as well.
It's a very valuable tool," says Friest