LSP's Farmer-to-Farmer Soil Health Consultancy Service
Sometimes we all need a bit of help and coaching…
A growing number of Midwestern crop and livestock farmers are interested in maximizing soil health in ways that increase soil organic matter and biological activity, improve water infiltration, stop erosion, sink carbon into the soil, reduce input expenses and increase profits and yields.
A short conversation with an experienced farmer and getting your questions answered either in person or on the telephone can save a lot of time and money. It can help your decision-making process and clarify your next steps in making the on-farm changes you want to make.
Can we re-build the natural productivity of the soil, and in doing so, improve the viability of our farms?
The Land Stewardship Project has recruited and retained seven skilled southeastern Minnesota farmers devoted to soil health, and who are willing to share their experience. These farmer-consultants’ time is valuable. They’ll be paid for their time—both on the telephone and in personal visits. Of course, their own farms and families are their top priority. But when available, they’re ready to help others take the next step in building soil health.
How does this work? Want to do a consultation on the phone? Yes, that’s a possibility. Want to have the consultation on your farm? For sure.
Want to meet the farmer-consultant at the local café? That can work. Want to visit the farmer-consultant’s farm? Yes, that can be set-up too.
To request a farmer-to-farmer consultation, contact Liana Nichols at LSP's office in Lewiston, Minn., at 507-523-3366 or via e-mail. Let us know what you are hoping to learn from one of the consulting farmers and provide us some background on your farming operation. Then we’ll match you with a consulting farmer who can give you the information and experience you’re looking for.
• Phone call: $40 per hour (no charge for initial 20-minute call).
• Farm visit or café meeting: $40 per hour (1- to 2-hour visit recommended)
Who are the Consulting Farmers?
Jon Luhman, Goodhue, Minn.
Jon Luhman has more than 20 years experience with management-intensive grazing of both beef and dairy cattle. Luhman focuses on building soil with livestock, raises beef on an all-forage diet, and grazes multi-species cover crops deep into fall/winter. He has raised certified organic crops since 2001. More information is here.
Tom Cotter, Austin, Minn.
Tom Cotter has beef cattle, row crops and sweet corn and he is a National Wildlife Federation Cover Crop Champion. He has eight years of intensive cover cropping experience—plus another 12 years of “playing around” with cover crops. He has worked with interseeding cover crops into corn, cover crop grazing and transitioning some land to organic. More information is here.
Daryn McGowan, Hayfield, Minn.
Daryn McGowan has 18 years of experience rotationally grazing dairy cows, which helped him reduce feed costs, veterinary bills, and fuel costs. Grazing and no-till planting also improved his soil health. More information is here.
Myron Sylling, Spring Grove, Minn.
Myron Sylling raises corn, soybeans, and cover crops. He has no-tilled for 20 years and has cover-cropped for six. For Sylling, cover cropping has produced significant organic matter improvement and yield increases without additional fertilizer expense. Sylling has authored several no-till and cover crop fact sheets. More information is here.
Mike Rupprecht, Lewiston, Minn.
Mike Rupprecht has nearly 30 years experience with intensive rotational grazing, and raises 100 percent grass-fed beef and organic, free-range chickens, which are sold direct to customers. He also raises organic oats, corn, and soybeans. More information is here.
Chuck Henry, Dover, Minn.
Chuck Henry has been practicing intensive dairy grazing for 20 years. His operation has been a 100-percent forage-based, organic dairy since 2012. He double crops small grains with sorghum Sudan and other forage and cover crop options. More information is here.
Martin Larsen, Byron, Minn.
Four years of utilizing no-till plus cover cropping has built soil health while reducing erosion and runoff on Martin Larsen's farm. He also works closely with farmers adopting soil health practices as a staff member with the Olmsted County Soil and Water Conservation District. More information is here.