Thursday, May 28, 2015

Awkward at EntreFEST

We did it.  We leapt in. 

After receiving a post card in the mail about competing for a grant, we decided why not.  After working diligently on creating an entrance video and drafting our story, we rallied for online votes from friends, family, and strangers.

We make a piece of Ag Equipment called Top-Spread Bale Spreader,
not exciting to the average person.  We don't have anything fun to give away for promotion.  We depended on our innovation, business know-how, and the generosity of our friends to get us through.  We didn't even come close to having the most votes.  Luckily, the Dream Big Grow Here Committee chose the other finalists...and we were one of them!

This meant we had to prepare a 6 minute pitch about why we were deserving of the grant money and how it would impact the community. 
My dad and I are NOT public speakers. 
We prefer to have a conversation with someone and listen to their story.  Not having a room full of people listening to us.  We were to deliver our pitch during this "Fest" in Iowa in May.  We decided we should attend EntreFEST since we would be down there anyways.  We had no idea what we were in for.

During the Opening session, Andy had us up on our feet yelling and clapping for people before they were even on stage.  That first day, we learned about using a Business Model Canvas and how creating the old Business Model Novel is becoming outdated.  We confirmed that indeed, we are not salespeople and learned some tactics to help our customers find what they need.

The Second Day was Pitch Day.  This was overwhelming.  We met our judges and got through our pitch without feinting.  What came next surprised us.  There were folks lined up after the pitches jumping to help us with whatever we needed.  Folks from Iowa who are genuinely interested in helping small businesses and new ideas thrive in our state.  We also had the opportunity to hear about what other small businesses were working on how they were accomplishing their goals.  HowFactory took the finals with innovative technology and a great group of folks working on the project.  The support continued to flow as people asked us questions to help us process our approach and asked how they could help.

The final day we learned how to create an entrepreneurial community in our town and how to change the culture of the workplace.  EntreFEST wrapped up with business guru, Seth Godin.  What we learned the past couple of days was reinforced with his proposal of moving from the Industrial Age to the Connection Age.

This was our largest take away.  Connecting with innovators, angels, and people interested in entrepreneurship across the state of Iowa.  This was made possible by participating in the Dream Big Grow Here grant contest and all the EntreFEST volunteers, workers, and attendees.

If we had the chance to do it all again, we would.  We would be awkward at EntreFEST.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

5 Reasons to Use Organic Bedding

Why We Choose Organic Bedding for our Livestock Comfort.


What is Organic Bedding?

Organic Material is made from a living organism such as a plant.  This differs from other options that are processed such as sand or the use of rubber mats.
There are many types of organic bedding.  The most common are:
  • Wheat Straw
  • Oat Straw
  • Corn Stalks 

5 Reasons to Use Organic Bedding

1. Absorbs moisture and prevents runoff.

Different types of organic material absorb at varying levels.  Corn stalks are the most absorbent of the three we have listed as the most common.  The benefit of using the more absorbent material is that you use less material because it lasts longer.  This will in turn save you time bedding and removing waste less frequently as well as saving money on bedding.
Using organic material prevents runoff.  The material absorbs liquid waste preventing it from running into your soil causing contamination and soil erosion.

2. Reuse materials for fertilizing crop ground.

Collecting waste with organic material provides a head start for fertilizing your crop ground.  Spreading your livestock waste with organic material provides nutrients and needed organic matter for your soil composition.  Organic matter provides a reservoir to store the nutrients from your livestock waste.
Using organic bedding ensures you don't have to find a way to dispose of your livestock waste and used up material.  You are able to reuse the material and waste for additional use on your farm.  This completes the cycle for growing the food for your livestock.

3. Less joint impact on livestock.

Providing a soft bedding for your livestock encourages more rest time for your livestock.  In general, 10 hours of rest leisure time is recommended.  When livestock stand in sand, they not only have harsh impact on their joints when they walk, the sand also deteriorates their hooves.  This makes it uncomfortable and difficult for them to walk around.  Using a more forgiving bedding option provides ease of lifestyle for livestock.

4. Protects equipment from clogging.

Using material such as corn stalks or straw are long enough they will not get trapped in drains and other equipment.  When using sand, it easily runs off and clogs drains, motors, chains, etc.  This can cost hours of time spent unclogging and hundreds of dollars replacing worn or broken parts.

5. Renewable Resource that is readily available.

As a whole, farmers are moving to choose options that are sustainable and benefit the environment.  In the Midwest, sand is found from byproducts of fracking.  This releases toxins into the air and has many negative impacts.  Most livestock farmers are also crop farmers or have neighbors that crop farm.  This makes finding the right type of organic material for you a breeze.  These crops are replanted every year.  This prevents soil erosion, provides adequate bedding for your livestock, and puts nutrients back in the soil to sustain the next crop.
These are just some of the benefits of using organic material for your bedding. 
Compare the specific types of organic bedding by downloading our FREE ebook Today!

Save Money with Cattle Bedding

In our Free ebook, learn more tips and tricks to grow your profits with bedding.
Visit our website at to learn how you can spread bedding more efficiently.
Share this information with your friends who need help deciding on their bedding!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Stuck in the Mud

That's right, you guessed it!  Our first post is about MANURE.

Farmers have endless chores that need to be completed every day.  One of them is dealing with the maintenance of livestock waste.  This can take several hours of your week to complete.  Valuable time that could be spent on nurturing and feeding animals instead of cleaning up after them.

A Cow/Calf pair will produce 125lbs of manure per DAY!
That's a lot of manure to manage.  If you don't deal with it, their can be damaging effects to your livestock.
Appearance of Lesions:  There may be debris that rub against the cattle joints creating unwanted lesions.
Bacteria Transfer:  When cattle lay in manure, they transfer bacteria to their hide.  This may contaminate the meat during the hide removal process.
Loss of Gain:  When calves have to trudge through material to walk, it uses all their energy.  This translates into loss of muscle and fat.
Find out how to manage these problems by downloading our FREE ebook:
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Thanks for reading our post about Manure Production!