Throughout the 2020 growing season, USSOY.org will provide regular Ground Work updates from several U.S. soybean farmers around the country. Learn about their farms and commitment to producing high-quality soy.
Lindsay Greiner and his wife Shelley, a retired middle school math teacher, farm with the oldest of their three sons in the center of the U.S. Midwest. Their farm is near the small town of Keota, Iowa, about 160 km, or 100 miles, east of Des Moines, Iowa, and about 420 km, or 260 miles, west of Chicago, Illinois.
The Greiner family is deeply rooted in agriculture.
Lindsay started farming with his dad when he graduated from high school in 1978, and continued farming on his own after his dad retired from farming and pursued other interests in 1992. He farmed on his own for about 20 years, but the Greiners’ three sons have also now established careers in agriculture.
In 2011, oldest son Keaton formed a partnership with Lindsay. Together they farm about 607 hectares, or 1,500 acres, within a 32-km, or 20-mile, radius. They raise soybeans, corn and hay. In addition, they raise about 20,000 pigs wean-to-finish each year, from about 4 or 5 kg, or 10 pounds, to more than 125 kg, or 270 to 280 pounds. They contract for a local pig production company, supplying the barns and labor for the company-owned pigs.
“One of the things I’m most proud of in my life is to have a son farming with me,” Lindsay says. And that’s just the beginning of the family’s commitment to agriculture.
The Greiners’ second son, Kalen, works for the pig production company Lindsay and Keaton contract for. In addition to working as a field manager, he raises an additional 13,000 to 14,000 contract pigs per year in his own barns, and he helps out the rest of the family as he is able.
Their third son, Kolton, works in the area as a soybean buyer for Cargill. He works with local elevators in the region, serving as a link in the soybean supply chain. Cargill both crushes soybeans for livestock feed and exports soybeans and soy products.
“And our family is growing,” adds Lindsay. “Keaton and his wife have two daughters, with their third child expected this fall. And Kalen and his wife are expecting their first child in May.”
Given his family’s legacy and potential, Lindsay places a high priority on sustainability.
“We use our manure as fertilizer, which creates a closed cycle,” he explains. “We feed soybeans and corn to our pigs to supply protein and energy to them. They process that feed into nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus that we put back into the soil for our corn and soybean crops.”
Other sustainable practices in their fields include terraces, grass waterways, buffer strips and some no-till, all to prevent soil erosion and protect water quality.
While they sell soybeans to a local elevator, most of those soybeans make their way to the Mississippi River, as their farm is about 80 km, or 50 miles, from Muscatine, Iowa, and 120 km, or 75 miles, from Burlington, Iowa. Both of those cities on the Mississippi have facilities to load grain into barges for export through the Gulf of Mexico.
“We know quality is important to our customers, so we’ve changed our weed control chemical program to clean up weed seeds in our soybeans,” he adds.
Lindsay got involved with the soybean industry shortly after Keaton joined the farm. He served as a county advisor for the Iowa Soybean Association before being elected to their board, where he served as president in 2019. That year, he was also appointed to serve on the United Soybean Board.
“I’ve found that I like answering questions from buyers,” he says. “I’m not an expert in much, but I am an expert on what happens on our farm, and I’m happy to share with customers so they understand our efforts to deliver a reliable supply of high-quality protein, both through soybeans and pork.”
Lindsay will share regular updates from his farm on USSOY.org throughout the 2020 growing season.