2015 Tour Wrap-Up
From the cover crops of the Hmong American Farmers Association farm near Hastings to Northfield farmer Dave Legvold’s saturated buffers and the impeccable dairy and manure handling system at Burfeind Dairy Farm near Goodhue, participants in the Conservation Technology Information Center’s (CTIC) eighth annual Conservation in Action Tour got a first-hand look at systems that protect water quality, build soil health and improve farm profitability.
What people enjoyed most about the tour:
- The opportunity to see conservation practices in person and to hear directly from farmers what works and what doesn't.
- Wide range of practices and respect for variety of approaches.
- Seeing great practices put into action and hearing inspiring stories from farmer stewards.
- The diverse strategies to conserve resources and remain profitable.
- How well organized it was and the variety of topics.
- Seeing BMPs in action.
- Open flow of information.
- I really loved the HAFA Farm. The community of people working together was absolutely wonderful.
What We Learned:
Stop #1 - Hmong American Farmer Association (HAFA) Farm, Hastings, Minn.
- History of the Hmong people and their deep relationship with agriculture
Click here to watch the YouTube video developed by HAFA.
- HAFA’s conservation philosophy and importance of whole farm plans that include pollinator habitat and conservation practices, such as nutrient management, cover crops and other soil health practices.
Download the handout "The Effect of Cover Crops on Water and Soil Quality"
- How HAFA trains farmers on integrated pest management, cover crops, soil testing and more
Stop #2 - Far-Gaze Farms (Bruce and Brian Peterson), Northfield, Minn.
- Building better soil health in a large corn/soybean operation
- Farmer/retailer partnerships for improved nutrient management strategies
- Cover crop benefits and challenges on a Minnesota farm; an interseeding demonstration in the field.
Download the handout "Cover Crop Interseeding in Rice County"
Stop #3 - Dave Legvold Farm, Northfield, Minn.
- Drainage water management, including a saturated buffer demonstration, and SWCD's role in buffers, highlighting Dakota County's Farmland and Natural Areas Program (FNAP)
Download the handout Saturated Buffers: A new approach to water quality
- Impacts of reduced tillage on soil health and a demonstration of Soil Warrior strip-tillage equipment
Download the handout Fine-Tuning Nitrogen Rates for Strip-Tilled Corn
Download the handout Reduce Wind Erosion for Long Term Productivity
Download the handout Considerations for Corn Residue Harvest in Minnesota
Stop #4 - Phil and Nate Marring Farm, Kenyon, Minn.
- See how the Marings rotate livestock on their farm
- Rotational grazing and pasture managements programs to farm productively while protecting a unique landscape
- Marings' efforts to tailor their operation on a challenging landscape, including the rebuild of a 45-year old spring-fed pond to establish a watering system
Stop #5 - Burfeind Dairy, Goodhue, Minn.
- Benefits of a new, state-of-the-art facility and the family's commitment to conservation and animal health
- Manure management using a two-stage, concrete-lined lagoon system and applying manure based on optimum agronomic need and timing
Northfield News article: Conservation practices lead to state water quality certification for Legvold farm
Environmental Initiative: Conservation and Environmental Protection on Minnesota's Farms