Val Plagge

Val Plagge – Franklin County

“Women have always been a part of farming in Iowa, but I feel like they have never received the credit that was due. I finally feel like women are either stepping up and sharing what they’re actually doing or people are finally accepting that if the woman was not there, the job would not get done.”

Val Plagge says she’s just a farmer that raises corn, beans, pigs and kids, but behind the scenes, she’s wearing more hats than just that. In order to keep the Plagge farming operation up and running, Val has to be a jack of all trades, not only caring for the crops and livestock, but also ensuring that she’s taking care of the family and home, as well as the marketing and finances of the farm.

Val has always had farming in her blood. Growing up on a farm that sat in the crossroads of Hamilton, Boone, and Story County, Val helped raise corn, soybeans, sheep, and pigs. Her earliest memories on the farm were playing in the creek with her sisters, watching the cattle run and doing pig chores. It was Val’s responsibility to always help with the tasks in the nursery barn with the baby pigs. Throughout high school, Val got involved in 4H and FFA, which propelled her into her studies at Iowa State University, where she majored in Agricultural Communications.

Iowa State University was also the place that Val met and fell in love with her husband, Ian. Bonding over their love for agriculture, they knew that together they wanted to live a traditional farm lifestyle. They’ve been running their farming operation together in Franklin County since the day they got married; an impressive 13 years and counting.

In addition to the corn and soybeans growing on the Plagge family farm, Val and Ian own two pig barns. The couple gets their pigs from a sow co-op at around 40-50 pounds and when the pigs reach 280-300 lbs, they are sold to Tyson in Waterloo, Iowa to be produced into pork chops and ham for families to enjoy. Val and Ian especially enjoy farming in Iowa, thanks in large part to the soil. The two feel lucky to farm on some of the best soil in the world and to have the ability to successfully raise crops and livestock year after year. Val and Ian feed their crops directly to the livestock, as well as sending it off to the nearby ethanol plants to produce clean-burning biofuel that’s safe for your vehicle and better for the environment. Being an Iowa farmer is everything to Val, especially having the ability to not only carry on as the fifth generation to a family legacy, but to also raise her kids, the next generation, on the farm.

Val and Ian ensure that their kids have always had something of their own to take care of on the farm, such as goats, pigs and sheep. Teaching their kids responsibility, giving them something to do every day, and allowing them to learn the intricacies of is something that’s extremely important to them. Val finds joy in teaching her kids how to bottle-feed orphan goats every couple hours each day and enjoys having the extra hands on deck. Watching their kids learn and understand the lifecycle of the farm is something Val and Ian will never get tired of.

Val is passionate about connecting with the general public on where the food they’re consuming comes from and, as a member of CommonGround, Val encourages people to ask a farmer any questions they may have. In the world we live in, Val knows that we have many options in the grocery store, but she is proud to say that consumers can trust that the food is safe for their families because of where it all comes from… a family farm! Val prides herself on doing the best she can to make sure she’s putting out safe, quality and reliable food sources for people all over the world.