Five Farms: Iowa

Laramie Ogden, son-in-law of Craig and LaVon Griffieon, with his dog, Xena, Griffieon Family Farm, Ankeny, Iowa. Photograph by Elena Rue.

Laramie Ogden, son-in-law of Craig and LaVon Griffieon, with his dog, Xena, Griffieon Family Farm, Ankeny, Iowa. Photograph by Elena Rue, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Five Farms: Stories of American Farm Families
Ankeny, Iowa
Photographs by Elena Rue, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

Five Farms is a new radio series, multimedia Web site, and exhibition at CDS. Listen to the radio documentaries and view the related photo essays on the Five Farms Web site.

CDS Porch will feature excerpts from each of the five farm locations weekly. This week’s feature is on Craig and LaVon Griffieon’s farm in Ankeny, Iowa.

Craig and LaVon Griffieon operate a diversified, 1,100-acre farm with beef, chickens, turkeys, pigs, sheep, and horses in Ankeny, Iowa, north of Des Moines. Their farm has been in the Griffieon family since 1868. Craig and Lavon raise corn, soybeans, oats, and alfalfa. Their Limousin beef herd comes from stock that has been on their farm since 1960. Their children — Autumn, Nick, Phillip, and Julia — are the sixth Griffieon generation to farm here. The Griffieon children are active in all phases of the farm, and have themselves raised pastured poultry for 10 years.

The Griffieons are active in raising awareness of the growing pressure on farmers to sell their land for development. They hope to increase consumer appreciation of the world-class soils that exist around Ankeny, and to help people realize the importance of local food security and a community-based food system.

The Griffieons rent two acres of land to immigrant Hmong farmers from Des Moines.

Craig Griffieon inspects his freshly harvested corn as it's transfered from a truck to a drying bin, Griffieon Family Farm, Ankeny, Iowa.

Craig Griffieon inspects his freshly harvested corn as it’s transfered from a truck to a drying bin, Griffieon Family Farm, Ankeny, Iowa. Photograph by Elena Rue, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Autumn Ogden, eldest child of Craig and LaVon Griffieon, in the chicken house, Griffieon Family Farm, Ankeny, Iowa. Photograph by Elena Rue, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

Autumn Ogden, eldest child of Craig and LaVon Griffieon, in the chicken house, Griffieon Family Farm, Ankeny, Iowa. Photograph by Elena Rue, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

Craig Griffieon selling the family's beef at an area farmer's market, Polk County, Iowa. Photograph by Elena Rue, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Craig Griffieon selling the family’s beef at an area farmer’s market, Polk County, Iowa. Photograph by Elena Rue, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Bell in the yard outside of a farmhouse, Griffieon Family Farm, Ankeny, Iowa. Photograph by Elena Rue, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Bell in the yard outside of a farmhouse, Griffieon Family Farm, Ankeny, Iowa. Photograph by Elena Rue, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

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