Beginning in the 1950’s Chuck & Maxine Carney owned and managed the 300 acre farm. Bob & Karen purchased it from his uncle Chuck in 1970.
Bob and Karen raised their 5 children here on the farm. Bob worked off the farm for John Deere Co. and retired in 1993 Karen sometimes worked outside the farm. She always raised a large garden, and managed the household. After Bob retired from John Deere he soon started discussing his next retirement, from farming. Bruce and Connie agreed they wanted to be the next generation of Carney’s to operate the farm. Unfortunately, before the details could be formalized Bob passed away in 1996 from a heart attack.
Bruce is employed by Weitz Construction Co. Connie is providing in home child care. Bruce and Connie have 3 children, Amber , Jared and Derek. Amber is an accountant with the Department of Energy. Jared is working construction full-time. Derek is attending ISU, working towards a bachelors degree. He is studying Agronomy and would like to come home someday and continue farming.
In 1997 Bruce & Connie moved to the farm. Karen is still living on the farm, she is still actively involved with farm planning. She still helps raise a garden and spends time with her family including children, grand children and great-grand children. Karen has strong roots in the community and church and when possible she enjoys traveling.
You can never go back and capture that knowledge that is usually passed on from one generation to the next. When it’s gone, you have to find your own way. After 20 years off the farm, Bruce realized immediately that he lacked the necessary knowledge to manage and run a successful operation. This led him to seek out other ways to educate himself about cattle and grazing. He looked towards the Chips (Cow Heard Improvement Program) sponsored by ISU. He attended numerous pasture walks and grazing seminars. These programs showed him new and more innovative ways to pasture graze his livestock. In 1997, Bruce started rotational grazing.
Bruce has worked extensively with the NRCS & FSA Office and many other programs to try and accomplish a more sustainable way of life. He also used the CRP, EQIP & CSP Programs. Bruce really likes the CSP Program because it actually pays you for practices and conservation efforts you have already implemented on your farm.
Our farm has extra challenges as the creek that flows through our farm, flows directly into the 6000 acre Chichaqua Bottoms Polk County Conservation Park & Wildlife Area. Bruce used the CRP Program to fence the cattle out of the creek that flows through our farm. This has had a positive impact on the water quality of the creek. There is much less soil erosion, animal waste, and chemical migration in the water stream. Bruce and Derek have been Iowater volunteers since 2008. This allows them to monitor the progress of their water quality practices.