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What is the Evolution of the Heartland?

Are you like me and love to learn? Do you love new adventures?

As someone who loves to learn and enjoy new adventures, the Evolution of the Heartland event in Manning, Iowa intrigued me as something I wanted to attend. It combined a few things I enjoy – agriculture, history and small town life.

On an early late August morning, I started south on a 2-lane blacktop rural road heading Mannly, Iowa. 2 1/2 hours later, I arrived. I have never been to Mannly and knew nothing about the town. But that was all about to change.

What is the Evolution of the Heartland Event?

Here is an excerpt from their program:

\”The Evolution of the Heartland Tour is designed to showcase what\’s happening in rural Iowa today and highlight how agriculture has been a catalyst for entrepreneurial mindsets who believe in growing their drams and contributions to the greater common good.

This one-day event draws people to the Manning/Audubon area to learn about agriculture, small business, and how small communities are thriving. The event intends to leave you with a changed impression of what rural Iowa and agriculture are all about.\”

During the registration, I had a choice to sign up for multiple immersion tours. I chose the \”pig immersion\” tour. It may sound a little crazy because why would I want to go on a pig tour when I live on a pig farm?

Because there are many ways to raise pigs and there is always something to learn. ALWAYS!

I was not disappointed.

So let me show you what we experienced during the event

Struve Labs

We were all excited to see where our bus would take us. We left the Manning Hausbarn-Heritage Park and headed east. Our first on-bus presentation was about Struve Labs. Struve Labs takes pregnant sows and delivers the piglets via caesarian. The piglets do not drink any colostrum or milk from the sow. Why would they do that?

The piglets, once weaned, they truck them to a research facility. In order to do proper research, the pigs need to be \”clean.\” Research is done on pigs because they are most like humans (did you know that?) and these special pigs are used for vaccine research. The pigs can\’t carry any disease with them because it would hinder research projects. Just another way pigs help humans.


Our next stop of PigEasy, LLC. David Klocke is the owner of PigEasy. The innovative company will inspire you. Agriculture is continually improving, and it\’s because of businesses like PigEasy. Imagine a pig farmer taking a serious look at a problem and then, by applying some time and ingenuity, find a solution to the problem. And then take it up a notch by marketing/selling your innovations. Hence, PigEasy. It\’s all about being more efficient and being a better pig farmer, which we all strive for.


Templeton Family Farms

As we left PigEasy, I was thinking, \”will we see any pigs today?\” Well, we were only a few minutes before we stopped at a pig farm, Templeton Family Farms. They own a 2700 head sow farm and work with local contract farmers to finish the pigs to market weight. The owner of the contract pig farm called the hog barns, hog hotels. They come, grow, and then go to market. A different way to look at it, I guess.


Our second to the last bus stop was AMVC. AMVC stands for Audubon Manning Veterinary Clinic management services. AMVC plays an integral part in the area\’s pig raising community. They can provide help with pig care, management, human resources, marketing, administrative, and construction. They manage 150,000 on 41 farms, which makes them the 9th largest pork producer in the U.S.

Albert the Bull

Our last stop was to see Albert the Bull. Albert is in Audubon, Iowa, and is a statue of a large bull. Yes, Iowa has a bull statue, Minnesota has the Jolly Green Giant statue.

Albert the Bull

Manning Hausbarn 

After this stop, we finished the bus tour. But we were not done. We traveled back to the Manning Hausbarn Heritage Park. It was time for a little history tour.


The main attraction is the 1660 Hausbarn. It was shipped to Manning from Germany. There is a reason it is called a \”hausbarn.\” It is just that – a house and a barn–all in the same building. As I listened and walked through the building, I try to imagine what life would have been like in the 1600s. I looked at their living and sleeping quarters and tried to think about how I would spend my day.

One interesting aspect about the hausbarn – they had round holes in the house. They put the holes in as a place for the spirits to leave. Interesting.


All in all, it was a great day. So why does this matter?

Many people don\’t know that small town America has wonderful things to offer. They are great places to visit, work and live. There are plenty of shopping, eating, and entertainment venues. If you are looking for a little more quietness in your life, give small towns the opportunity to give you enjoyment in many ways.

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