Want an example of on-farm conservation practices in action? Look no further than Jon Hansmeier.
The list of conservation practices that Hansmeier has implemented on 660 acres of cropland in a corn/soybean rotation on his farm in Foley is impressive. Examples include:
- Using mulch tillage on 146 acres of cropland , keeping at least one-third of the soil surface covered with crop residue.
- Erosion control practices using a combination of fill material, biodegradable mesh and seeding.
- Putting in filter strips between fields and ditches to protect water quality
And that’s just a few examples. For Hansmeier, taking steps to preserve the land and improve water quality goes hand-in-hand with farming.
“We gotta do what’s right,” he said. “We’re stewards of the land and it’s up to farmers to take the lead.”
Hansmeier was recently selected by the Benton Soil and Water Conservation District (SWDC) as the 2013 Outstanding Conservation Cooperator of the Year. He will be honored at the annual convention of Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Bloomington on Dec. 3, where he’ll have a shot at winning the Minnesota Outstanding Conservationist of the Year Award.
“We’re proud of Jon for what he’s done in conserving our natural resources in the area,” said Gerry Maciej, manager of the Benton SWCD, which nominated Hansmeier for the award. “It’s great to be able to recognize the work he’s done locally.”
Hansmeier has been farming on his own for 34 years and also operates his parent’s farm, which will become a century farm next year. Hansmeier brings his conservation and farming knowledge to his role as president of the Benton/Sherburne chapter of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, member of the Watershed Leaders group for the Mississippi River and the Benton/Mille Lacs Farm Service Agency Committee since 2007.
In addition to the previously listed conservation examples, Hansmeier installed two rock inlets this spring to help improve water quality by removing and filtering debris before it enters the tile drainage system.
“Farmers are going to face more and more water issues in the coming years,” Hansmeier said. “It’s important that we’re out front and lead on these issues as much as possible.”
Using the EQIP program, Hansmeier started using mulch tillage on his cropland in 2006. He found that the ground didn’t dry out as quick and erosion was significantly reduced. From there, the other conservation practices started falling into place.
“All of it is just doing what’s good,” he said. “Sometimes I get asked how it impacts production and I say it’s been a plus for production. Yield monitors don’t vary much across the field and there’s more moisture in the soil.”
You can learn more about Hansmeier’s farm and conservation practices by clicking here.