Not your typical dinner party

By Joseph L. Murphy

The tables were set, the guests were mingling and everything was in place for a beautiful evening.

But the location for this dinner event was far from ordinary. In fact, the white linen dining experience was situated four miles north of Jefferson in a pasture surrounded by soybean fields.

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That’s the setting envisioned by David Ausberger, a soybean farmer from Jefferson, IA. “Agvocacy” was the theme for the evening and Ausberger’s farm provided the perfect back drop for nearly 40 guests to learn about the great care that he takes to make his farm successful while protecting the environment.

Surrounded by neighbors, city councilmen, board of supervisors and state legislators, Ausberger related his passions for all things farming. As the sun dipped towards the horizon conversations continued that ranged from farming, to the environment, to the local happenings in Jefferson.

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It’s an event Ausberger had always hoped to host – a unique opportunity to share his passion for farmers and what farm families throughout Iowa are doing for the environment and food safety every day.

“I think that we have 35 or 40 new advocates for agriculture after tonight,” Ausberger said. “Judging by the conversations, people are coming away from the night with a positive feeling. The fact that we were able to eat great food in a beautiful location was the icing on the cake.”

Shannon Black, a neighbor of the Ausberger’s and member of the Jefferson City Council, enjoyed the evening.

“Being a city council person in Jefferson I think it is important for all of us, even as city folk, to know what is going on outside of town,” she said.  “It is important to know that our neighbors are being good stewards of the land so that we know are waters are safe and land is protected.”

Andy Krieger, a greenhouse owner in Jefferson, has seen big growth in his sales relating to locally grown items so he enjoyed talking to Ausberger about food production on a larger scale.

“I’m proud of agriculture. I’m proud of being able to provide good healthy items to customers that want to be connected to what they are eating and events like this help showcase it,” Krieger said. “Events like this can show the future of agriculture. We are environmentally sustainable and we are offering good healthy crops not only for us but for the world and this is the perfect showcase to prove we are moving in the right direction.”

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For Ausberger and his family the night was a success and he hopes that community members that attended the dinner will spread the message about the care that he takes in farming and the environment. He hopes to do it again next year while welcoming more and more people to his farm. The night ended with conversations about technology in farming as guests visited around a bonfire while crickets chirped in a nearby pasture.

“In the 15 minutes I’ve been here, we’ve talked about machinery and how buffer strips are in place to help protect the streams,” State Representative Chip Baltimore said. “There are a lot of different topics we’re going to talk about in a relaxed casual atmosphere and I hope that I can carry those messages back to Des Moines.”

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Originally published for the Iowa Soybean Association. Find more great stories at: www.iasoybeans.com/news