Irish farmers visit Illinois beef farm
Eighteen farmers from a broad region of across southeast Ireland recently visited Hadley Farms in Cambridge, Illinois to see the beef farm owned and operated by Al and Karen Lyman. Monoslope building technology is not new to Irish farmers, but the quality, detail, size, and scale of the facilities and the operation impressed them.
Hosting the visit was Al Lyman, who put up a Summit Livestock monoslope in 2014. He currently serves as a Regional VP of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
“We have had many foreign and domestic visitors over the years. It’s always a pleasure to learn together,” said Lyman. “We had a really great visit with the Kildalton Discussion Group. We talked a lot about what our building allows us to do: number one, it helps us provide cattle comfort even in the extreme weather conditions. Cattle stay dry and suited to the temperature.”
From a visitor’s perspective, John Phelan of Kilmeaden, County Waterford said, “We were extremely impressed with the overall health and quality of the cattle. The manure management is impressive. They are very efficient nutrient-wise.”
Lyman continued, “We had great discussions about how our building helps us safely protect and use our manure. Because we have no sunlight degradation and protect the manure, we have a higher overall nutrient quality rating of that resource we use to supply the land with nutrients it needs to grow the crop. They were impressed with how little commercial fertilizer products we used as a result of this high-quality manure resourcing. Technology helps us use these resources to maximize yields efficiently while enhancing the environment.”
For Phelan, the visit helped punctuate the fact that internationally, many of the challenges farmers face are similar. “It was interesting listening to Al talk about production costs and bottom lines, and another American farmer talk about the frustrations about renting land, and the management and challenges that comes with that. That could have been a conversation any Irish farmer as the issues were identical!”
Lyman said, “We had really great, frank discussions. At the end of the day, no matter where they are from, farmers are hard-working, generous people who are always interested to learn, and care for their families, the land and their animals no matter what. It’s good to share that as we grow forward!”
The farmers, all members of the Kildalton Discussion Group, were on a 5-day intensive program including onsite farm, crop production, and facility manufacturing visits. Participants experienced the World Dairy Expo held in Madison, Wisconsin. They visited the John Deere manufacturing plant at Waterloo, Iowa. The Wyffels production plant at Atkinson and Goldstar FS in Henry County, Illinois. In addition, they visited Dollinger Farms in Channahon and Mazon, Illinois.
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