Know the Farmer: Tweedcroft Farm

Jay Franzen and his family have been raising cattle on their family farm near Indianola, Iowa for more than 15 years. Jay manages the 143-acre family farm (with some help from his three teenage kids), which includes Highland cattle, Hereford cattle, Oxford sheep, Percheron horses, show dogs and chickens, while his wife manages her own veterinary practice in town. He manages the land and animals with a focus on creating health and happiness.

The farm has been in his wife’s family since the 1930s. Historically, the farm has included some row-crops, but this year it’s all being planted in grasses. When it comes to the cattle, he runs a “straight grass operation.” From calving to finishing, they only eat grass – supplemented with lick tubs in the winter that contain salt and minerals, which helps them digest the winter hay and forage. He learned about this supplementation strategy from Practical Farmers of Iowa at a field day a few years ago.

Jay Franzen and his fold of Highland cattle on Tweedcroft Farm near Indianola, Iowa

Jay Franzen and his fold of Highland cattle on Tweedcroft Farm near Indianola, Iowa

Practical Farmers’ of Iowa's Livestock Program works with graziers – and farmers with all types of animals – to help them make their operations more profitable and sustainable. They offer educational events (like field days, workshops, and speakers) and coordinate research and demonstration projects. Current research and demonstration projects have an emphasis on grazing management, planting and grazing cover crops, livestock health, and record keeping.  Practical Farmers is an organization that many farmers turn to for information and support.

The majority the beef from Tweedcroft Farm comes from highland cattle, which gather in a “fold” not a “herd.” Currently, there are 29 head of cattle on about 50 acres. If you are interested in some meat, contact him directly!