National Farm Business Management Conference
June 11-15, 2017 ♦ Des Moines, IA


Wednesday is Tour Day! There are three tour options from which to choose. Here are descriptions of the tours and their stops. Please note some tours have restrictions. They are noted in red.

TOUR 1 (8:20 AM departure):

Pella's Historical Village and Vermeer Mill

Tour the largest working grain mill in the United States, the boyhood home of Wyatt Earp and many other artifacts and displays that honor Pella's Dutch heritage.

Lunch catered from In’t Veld Meat Market

Lunch served in the Winner’s Circle. Enjoy Pella specialties of our Dried Beef or Pella Bologna completed with a Dutch pasty for dessert. In’t Veld’s will be on-hand to share a bit about their business, which started in 1941 and its history.

Vermeer Corporation

From the industry's first wagon hoist to the pioneering round baler, Vermeer inventions have helped farmers get their work done quickly and efficiently. Vermeer farm equipment is built to traditional high standards, so it delivers the reliable service you expect from one of the nation's leading manufacturers of agricultural equipment. Closed-toe shoes and long pants are required, please.


Manufacturer of robotic milking systems. An international family business in the agricultural sector that was founded in 1948 in the Netherlands. They spend every day making producers' lives easier. With innovative solutions and tailored services, these solutions range from forage harvesting on the field to milk in the tank. They provide advice on how to organize a dairy farm smartly with the use of management systems.

If time permits, enjoy our Dutch treasures in downtown Pella. The Klokkenspel carillon clock will chime at 3:00 pm; walk under the Klokkenspel plaza over to the Molengract (Mill Canal) with its working drawbridge and enjoy our bakeries, meat markets and shops along Franklin Street.

TOUR 2 (9 AM departure):

John Deere Tour

One of the only plants in the world producing sprayers, cotton pickers and tillage equipment for John Deere. This is a riding tour and last about 100 minutes (with almost 20 minutes outside). No video cameras or cell phones. No open-toed shoes or sandals allowed.

Catered Lunch at Iowa Gold Star Museum

Iowa Gold Star Museum Tour

The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum honors the heroic service of all Iowa Veterans, as they collect, preserve and exhibit materials illustrating the story of Iowa's military past. Their mission is to honor and depict the military experiences of Iowa citizens in all wars, homeland defense and service to the state.

Bridgestone/Firestone Agricultural Tire Division & Worldwide Distribution Center Tour

Faced with an enormous demand both locally and worldwide, the Bridgestone-Firestone Agricultural Tire Division has grown since its inception in 1945 to occupy a total of 120 acres of manufacturing space in the Cultivation Corridor. Centrally located in the nation’s most productive growing region and at the major transportation intersection of I-80 and I-35, the United States’ flagship tire plant in Des Moines is easily able to service customers nearby and across the nation. Through constant innovation, the Firestone family of tires has become integral to international agriculture, forestry and construction markets and produces around 9,000 tires per day that equate to more than 850,000 pounds of rubber. As modern heavy machinery grows bigger and bigger to accommodate a more productive and demanding economy, Firestone relies on its engineers to design new tires that increase load capacity, durability and traction while simultaneously reducing soil compaction for improved crop yield. Inside the Corridor, engineers at the plant are using nearby resources to their advantage, creating tires that replace petroleum-based oils with oil from locally-grown soybeans to produce a greener tire while investing back into the local economy.

The introduction of Harvey Firestone’s high-quality agricultural tires in 1945 directly contributed to the proliferation of the green revolution in the 20th century. Now, the same plant in Des Moines, Iowa distributes more than 2 million tires each year to 120 countries throughout the world.

TOUR 3 (8:45 AM departure):

Stine Seed Company

Harry Stine, richest man in Iowa, is the founder and owner of Stine Seed, the world's largest independent seed company. Stine Seed has more than 900 patents; Stine sells his coveted soybean and corn seed genetics to agri-giants like Monsanto and Syngenta, nabbing an estimated annual sales of more than $1 billion with margins in excess of 10%. With a combined market value of $320 billion, five publicly traded conglomerates own most of the actions: Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Dow and Bayer. Then there is Stine. “Our germplasm - our genetic base here is the best in the world” says Stine. “We dominate genetics in the industry.” Forbes estimates Stine's company is worth nearly $3 billion.

Catered Lunch at Winterset Cidery

Winterset Cidery Tour

The Cidery is the first of its kind in Iowa built in a post and beam building adjacent to its apple orchard with over 30 varieties or heirloom, cider and dessert apple trees nestled in the rolling hills of Madison County, Iowa. The Cidery makes craft hard cider, relying only on the apples themselves; they do not add any sugar or water like many mass produced hard ciders. Until their own orchard matures, they are buying fresh pressed apple juice from area orchards. After fermentation, their ciders are aged several months before they serve them to bring out the best flavors possible, never rushed or mass produced. They do add other flavors, like raspberry, hops, cherry, and others, they use real ingredients, and they blend them on a very small batch basis to better control the flavor of the cider.

Allendan Seed Company

One of the largest producers of native prairie grass and wildflower seed that is shipped all across the United States. Allendan Seed produces over 250 species of native grass and wildflowers. The grass fields account for approximately 3,000 acres, while the wildflower fields make up 1,000 more. These species, under plastic mulch with computerized irrigation, are weeded and harvested entirely by hand.

Bridges of Madison County - Hogback Covered Bridge

Madison County originally had 19 covered bridges. Only six remain today, five of which are listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Bridges were in the book and movie, “The Bridges of Madison County”.

The bus will stop at the Hogback covered Bridge and allow everyone to walk across this bridge. Be sure to bring your camera for photo opportunities!

Last Update: 6/10/17