When Ben Olson wanted to expand his family’s cattle herd on their farm near Vinton, he wanted to do it in a way that would not only enhance cattle care and comfort, but would also help protect the soil and water close to his farm.

Olson, the fourth generation in his family to farm, had existing open lots where he and his dad raised cattle. But they were looking for a way to grow without having to add more open lots or increase labor. More lots meant more weather challenges, he knew.

So he and his dad, John, started looking at other opportunities to house cattle. They toured several barns with a variety of layouts and design options.

“We looked at barns, toured other barns to see what our options were,” Olson said. “We talked to producers about what they liked and didn’t like about their barns. We worked on our blueprint and found a layout that would work for us,” he said.

They decided they would...