"As a teacher, being able to bring my real-life experiences to our studies leaves a real impact. We are able to talk about more than what a textbook offers and learn beyond the classroom." - Dresden Wulf
When it comes to having a passion for the beef industry, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone more qualified than Dresden Wulf. Her love for livestock and the land sparked at a young age on her family’s cattle operation, which furthered her dedication to sharing the story of agriculture. Dresden then went on to pursue degrees in Animal Science and Agricultural Education at Iowa State University.
Her love for learning led her to earning her Master’s Degree in Food Safety and Technology, as well as her current position at Hawkeye Community College as an animal science instructor.
Today, Dresden and her husband, Derek, live on his family’s third generation farm in Hudson, Iowa where they raise cattle, crops and two future farmers, Aubrey and Claire. Derek and Dresden raise a cow-calf herd of approximately 100 cattle. This means the cows will give birth to one calf per year, and the calf will then live off of its mother’s milk and grass for 6 to 10 months. Once the calves reach around 600-800 pounds, they are moved to a feedyard in rural Eldora.
When it comes to raising kids, Derek and Dresden agreed that they wanted more than row crops for their little ones to grow up with. Dresden says, “We wanted to give them the chance to be surrounded by livestock. We felt that this was an important part of raising our kids.” It is their hope to pass on the love they have for cattle and the beef industry to Aubrey and Claire.
While farming operations everywhere face difficulties, the Wulf’s have had to face their own set of unique challenges while living in rural Blackhawk County – a dynamic area with both urban populations and land primarily reserved for row crops. So, as all farmers do, the Wulf’s have adapted. Because pastures, and even fences, are hard to come by, they transform their cropland into cornstalks that the cattle graze on through the fall, winter and spring months. In the summer, the herd goes out to pasture a few miles down the road, and Derek and Dresden utilize their resources to make hay. While they have been able to pick up a few alfalfa fields around the area, the abundant cropland gives them lots of opportunity to use waterways as a source of grass hay. They also work with housing developments in the Cedar Falls area as another way to increase their hay crop before the houses are built.
In addition to being strategic with their production style, the Wulf’s also take environmental and sustainability measures very seriously. She feels confident that raising beef is a great way to compliment the environment. “Our goal, as farmers and as parents, is to leave this ground better than we found it for future generations,” states Dresden.
As if maintaining their farming operation doesn’t keep her busy enough, Dresden works full time as an animal science instructor at Hawkeye Community College (HCC). She also runs the Meat Lab at HCC, the only community college with a meat lab in the state of Iowa. During an average semester Dresden will teach between 18-21 credits that cover anything from the basics of the animal industry, to anatomy and physiology, foods of animal origins and many more. “As a teacher, being able to bring my real-life experiences into the classroom and using those to work through the questions that my students have has a real impact. We are able to talk about more than what a textbook offers, and learn beyond the classroom."
Whether it is working with her students through tough questions, serving on local and state boards to help make a difference, or educating youth and consumers at events such as the National Cattle Congress, Dresden is continuously working to be an effective advocate for the beef industry.
Cows are bred and calves are born and raised every year on cow-calf farms and ranches, spending time grazing on grass pastures within sight of their mothers.