Farmers Share Entrepreneurial Lessons at Iowa State University Event

(Ames, Iowa – September 17, 2015) – The Iowa State University Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative (AgEI) hosted their fourth annual Farmer Entrepreneur Roundtable at the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agricultural Student Learning Center on September 10. The event was sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. During the event, students talked firsthand with farmers about the opportunities, as well as the difficulties, of entering the farming industry.

Twelve roundtable guests, representing diverse agricultural operations, included several Iowa State alumni, and provided a wealth of information for more than 75 students in attendance. Guests included: Matt Danner (’00 agricultural systems technology), Templeton Family Farms; Steve Ferguson (’74 economics, ’96 MBA), Iowa Ag Development Division of the Iowa Finance Authority; Steve Henry (’83 farm operation) and Scott Henry (’12 agricultural business, international agriculture, finance), LongView Farms; Nathan Katzer (’07 public service and administration in agriculture, agronomy), Iowa Department of Agriculture; Mark Kenney, Kenney Farms; Steve Kerns (’81 animal science), Kerns Farms; Randy (’76 industrial administration) and Linda Naeve (’77 horticulture, ’80 MS), Nature Road Farm; Kevin Ross (’03 agricultural studies), Ross Farms; Brent Schipper (’01 ag studies),  Schipper Family Farms; Scott Thellman (’14 agricultural business), Juniper Hill Farms; Amanda Van Steenwyk, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation; and Bill and Rona Wyant, Fireside Winery. 

“I was very impressed with the quality of students that attended the Farmer Entrepreneur Roundtable. The students were very interactive and eager to learn about my role at the Iowa Farm Bureau. They asked great questions and even provided valuable feedback for me as we [IFBF] continue to develop quality programs for the young farmer audience,” said Amanda Van Steenwyk, Business Development Manager at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.

Students were introduced to new styles of farming and improved production practices. Guests shared their stories as students asked about potential enhancements for their own family farms. Generational transitioning and production diversity was a popular topic as students look for a way to return to their family farms.

“It was a great way to meet different agricultural professionals with different backgrounds and to hear their story. Being able to sit down and talk individually with each guest made it easier to ask questions and learn about how they got to where they are today,” said Riley Krichau, a sophomore in agricultural studies. “The AgEI Farmer Roundtable was very informative and a great experience for any college student looking to go into any agricultural profession, especially farming.”

The Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative at Iowa State University was established in 2005. The initiative works to broaden understanding of entrepreneurship among faculty and students of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University by providing educational experiences to develop students' entrepreneurial skills and increase interaction among students, faculty and agricultural entrepreneurs.


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Caption: More than 75 students attended the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative Farmer Roundtable on Sept. 10 featuring twelve roundtable guests who shared their experiences ranging from crop, vegetable and livestock production.