Talk to any of the 400 attendees at the Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Conference last week in Des Moines, and they each could share a different story of how they launched their farming careers.

Beth Baudler, 24, of Adair County works full-time selling ethanol co-products to livestock feeders. Baudler helps with her family’s cow-calf operation, but she also raises market sheep and goats on her own as a lower-cost path to get into farming.

Melissa Bisbee, 20, runs a farrow-to-finish hog operation with her brother and sister near Stacyville to earn money for college. Bisbee is currently a student at Iowa State University, working to earn an ag education degree.

Butler County Farm Bureau member Lee Fenneman, 21, works at Hagie Manufacturing...