- What was your prior role at AgSource, and what is your current job with Ebert Enterprises?
At AgSource I was responsible for completing nutrient management plans (NMP) and other relevant permit application work for clients in mainly northeastern Wisconsin. I am involved with PPF and co-chairman with Nathen Nysse for the Door-Kewaunee Demonstration Farm Network. I collected soil samples for clients both in that area and further away, even out of state.
At Ebert Enterprises, I’ve been overseeing manure applications, continuing to do the NMP work and other relevant permit applications. I will be working on crop planning to advance soil health practices and advance low-disturbance manure application techniques. I will also continue environmental stewardship practices that are already in place on the farm and advance ideas for new conservation practice.
- What is your background?
I grew up on a farrow-to-finish hog operation on the Door-Kewaunee county line. I earned a bachelor of science degree and soil sciences minor from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. A few years after graduating, I earned my certified crop advisor (CCA) certification from the American Society of Agronomy. Since then, I’ve been writing NMPs and consulting farmers about nutrient management, crop health and pest management, and conservation stewardship. Recently, a lot of effort has been spent learning about cover cropping systems, aspects of soil health, and evaluations of different types of low-disturbance manure technologies.
- What do you find rewarding about your work?
Every year is a new and different year presenting a different set of challenges that we try our best to manage. It is very rewarding to be outside in the fields trying to address challenges that come up and developing solutions. The relationships I’ve developed with clients, past co-workers and other acquaintances are what have been and continue to be most memorable.
- What do you see in terms of farmers’ commitment to conservation?
Farmers’ commitment to conservation is continuing to increase from year to year. As we learn more about soil health and the benefits that come with increased soil health, farmers are more willing to try proven practices and experiment with out-of-the box ideas. Farmers are by their very nature conservationists and caretakers of the land. They understand what it means to be good neighbors and good stewards. And, their livelihood depends on it.
- What advice might you have for farmers who are considering whether to try a new conservation practice?
Jump in, the water’s fine! I’d tell anyone considering a new conservation practice to talk to their neighbors, attend a field day or tour hosted by PPF or D-K Demo Farms, or talk with an agronomist. There are many ways in which a farmer can gain knowledge about a new practice in today’s electronic age, but none is more valuable than seeing it with one’s own eyes, especially on a nearby field.
- If you were a cover crop, what kind would you be?
Red clover. I may not be the most popular of cover crops, but I can be used for many purposes. When it is my time to bloom, I have a respectable blossom, but not too showy. I’m a perennial and will keep coming back; I’m in this for the long haul.
- Anything else you want PPF members to know?
Even a small change can make a big difference. Small changes like no tilling winter rye after corn silage or planting a cover crop after winter wheat harvest, even if it is an annual that winter kills, can result in big dividends (This is by no means the only type of practice that could be tried on any single farm). Please feel free to talk to anyone on the board if you have concerns or ideas that could be used to better our organization.
Our philosophy of continuous improvement does not go unnoticed. No one is saying that we have all the answers, but our willingness to share both successes and failures is allowing us to learn at a rate faster than anyone of us could do alone. Keep up the great work!
And I would like to personally thank every member for their hard work and commitment to agriculture and conservation. Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., as I was nominated and selected as the inaugural CCC Conservationist of the Year. It is an unbelievable honor to be able to represent CCAs, Wisconsin and even more importantly the Door-Kewaunee County Peninsula’s efforts to advance agriculture and conservation. Again, thank you for all your hard work and dedication.