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Ag Tours

Experience Central Iowa Agriculture!

Iowa State University farm tours are offered year round. Other agriculture tours in the Central Iowa area are offered during the Farm Progress Show. Tours can be booked through Discover Ames.

The Discover Ames team assists in scheduling the BioCentury Research Farm tours and collecting payment. All other agriculture tours are coordinated through the visitor and the farm. To schedule a tour with BioCentury Research Farm or get connected to the others, contact Veronica Tarello at Discover Ames (515.817.6314) or email

A two-week notice is required to schedule a tour.

Transportation for the tours will be the responsibility of the group.

Tour Options

TOUR A: Biomass Tour ($10 per person) 1/2 Day Tour

ISU BioCentury Research Farm

Learn about one of the newest focuses in Iowa’s agriculture at ISU’s BioCentury Research Farm! This first-in-the-nation facility was designed specifically to research and address some of the most critical questions facing the ever-expanding biorenewables industry. The farm includes on-site plots of biomass crops and biorenewable processing facilities. Participants will be able to view, literally from the ground up, some of the latest research that is taking place for real-world usage of biorenewable products. Visit the pilot plant where biomass is converted to bioenergy compounds.

ISU Ag Engineering / Agronomy Research Farms

The Ag Engineering/Agronomy Research Farms provide more than 1,200 acres of intensive plot research that serve two of the leading departments in U.S. Research. The demonstration focuses on corn, soybeans, oats, sorghum and biomass perennial crops. Plant breeding for improved varieties and sustainable and organic cropping systems are also being studied. ISU and USDA scientists conduct research related to tillage, nutrients, runoff, soil tilth and drainage. Ag engineers perform research related to farm machinery and mechanization. An extensive shop is used by staff, faculty and students to fabricate and modify equipment.

TOUR B: Horticulture Tour ($32 per person) 1/2 Day Tour

  • $20 fee to ISU Horticulture Research Station | $12 fee to Reiman Gardens

ISU Horticulture Research Station

Horticultural research and teaching have been active at ISU since the college was founded in 1858. The ISU Horticulture Research Station has extensive apple orchards, vineyards, fruit and vegetable plantings, turfgrass research, and ornamental plantings, along with aquaculture ponds and a 15-acre lake. The station is used by students and faculty from horticulture, forestry, botany, ecology, plant pathology, entomology, natural resource ecology and management, and animal ecology. From strawberries to turtles, the Horticulture Station may have several research projects being conducted depending on the season.

Reiman Gardens (needs to be scheduled two weeks in advance)

Reiman Gardens is quickly becoming a top tourist attraction in Iowa. Situated on 14 acres, Reiman Gardens creates a stunning gateway to Ames and Iowa State University and features a variety of unique and colorful gardens where there is something for everyone to enjoy. Each year, the gardens develop new exhibits and growing displays around their annual theme.

The Conservatory Garden and Butterfly Flight House at Reiman Gardens, showcases tropical butterflies in a lush, relaxing environment. A reflecting pool and cascading waterfall is the centerpiece of the Butterfly Flight House along with a display of tropical butterflies in various stages of development. The Conservatory Garden also houses a gift shop and learning center.

TOUR C: Livestock and Dairy Tour ($20 per person) 1/2 Day Tour

Please note, USDA regulations require all visitors to be in the U.S. for at least 5 days prior to going on this tour.

ISU Dairy & Compost Facility

The newly constructed ISU Dairy Farm focuses on education, research and outreach. This tour will highlight new technologies and research in the field of Dairy Science, while walking through the process of milk production from the dairy barns to your kitchen table. One stop will include the milking parlor, where you can experience the milking process firsthand. Located adjacent to the Dairy Farm is ISU’s Composting Facility where several ISU units, including the animal science farms, ISU Dining and the ISU BioCentury Research Farm, provide organic materials for compost as part of ISU’s LiveGreen! initiative. After processing, the compost is used throughout the university as fertilizer for teaching farms, for landscaping and in new construction projects.

ISU Animal Science Teaching Farms

The Animal Science Teaching Farms include several farm sites used for hands-on classes and demonstrations of production systems with livestock, including beef cattle, sheep, and swine. During the tour, you will observe modern swine production (farrowing, gestation and growing) through viewing windows and see beef cattle and sheep on feedlots and pastures.

TOUR D: International Veterinary Supplies (IVS) (no charge)

Urbandale, IA

Tour will consist in showing Animal Health instruments supplies sold by International Veterinary Supplies and with a brief explanation of the quality of the products plus some of the history of how the business was started in the USA by immigrants. Tours will be offered to groups of 8-12 people.

TOUR E: D & B Agro-Systems, Ltd. (no charge)

Hubbard, IA

D & B Systems provides grain storage, handling and conditioning equipment. They work with farm operations of all sizes with their grain storage, handling and conditioning needs. They offer a full staff of millwright specialists and electricians to get the job done and to keep the operation running. Tour will include seeing the manufacturing process and the operation of the dryer controller. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with customers and see dryers on customer sites if requested.

TOUR F: Vander Haag’s Inc. (no charge)

Des Moines, IA

Vander Haag’s Inc. has been in business since 1939, starting out as a small car parts recycling yard. In 1981 the business changed its focus to the heavy duty truck industry, specializing in the sale of affordable New, Rebuilt and Used parts, as well as quality used trucks and new and used trailers of all types. We offer everything a trucker needs to keep his rig running smoothly, efficiently and stylishly down the road, from full service shops and body shops to complete truck customizations. What started as a 2-man, small town salvage yard in Sanborn, Iowa, has now grown to 6 locations; Spencer, Des Moines & Council Bluffs, Iowa, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Kansas City, Missouri and Winamac, Indiana, over 300 employees, selling all across the USA as well as internationally.

Visitors will participate in a guided tour through our Des Moines facility. They will follow the life of a recycled heavy duty truck part from the initial “wrecked” truck de-manufacturing process through inventory, warehousing and shipping to its final point of resale. Participates will also tour our engine remanufacturing and truck customization departments within this facility.