Rick Plowman sees himself primarily as a beef raiser on his southeast Iowa farm. But he’s excited to have the opportunity to serve all types of Iowa agriculture in his new role as the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) director representing District 7.

“I really like how Farm Bureau represents all types of agriculture and helps bring different groups together,” Plowman said last week at his farm near Douds in Van Buren County. “I think that working together is so important these days when it seems that we face so many challenges in agriculture. We aren’t going to get anything accomplished if we aren’t united.”

Plowman was elected to the IFBF board during the organization’s 2017 IFBF annual meeting. He replaced Andy Hora of Washington County, who retired from the board.

Plowman has long been active in the Van Bureau County Farm Bureau, serving all of the county offices including president and voting delegate. He also served as an Iowa delegate to the 2012 American Farm Bureau Federation convention.

Plowman is the fourth generation to farm on the family operation just off the Des Moines River in the northwest corner of Van Buren County. His son, Cale, is the fifth generation on the Plowman farm.

When Rick Plowman began farming full time after high school, the family raised hogs as well as cattle. But he decided it made more sense to concentrate on raising beef to take advantage of the farm’s pasture resource.

Plowman Farms takes cattle raising full cycle. Calves, born each spring, are kept on the farm. After spending time on pasture, they are fed to slaughter weight and then marketed through Producers Livestock Mark­eting Association.

The Plowmans also custom feed for other farmers with any additional space not occupied by their own cattle.

Along with cattle, the Plowmans raise corn and hay. Those crops, Plowman said, “walk off the place as feed for the cattle. That is our goal, to be able to raise all of our own feed.”

A conservation focus

Farming rolling hills just off the Des Moines River, conservation has always been a focus for the Plowman family.

Over the years, they have installed a number of terraces and other conservation structures to control erosion. They have also seeded their highly-erodible land to pasture. “Pasture is really the best thing for a lot of the land we have here,” Plowman said.

Plowman said he’s excited to serve on the IFBF board to help lead the organization. He sees his work on the board as a way to do his part to ensure the future of Iowa agriculture.

As Plowman points out, he and his wife, Lisa, their two children and four grandkids, including Cale’s two boys who are growing up on the farm, love every minute of it.

“I want to help give them an opportunity to farm and to carry on the family tradition,” Plowman said. “And I think Farm Bureau is the right organization to help make that happen.”