Dan and Erin Honken have implemented conservation practices on their farm since they took over the operation from Dan’s father in 1994. Starting off, they converted 70 acres of highly erodible land into pasture.
Conservation efforts ramped up in 2015 when they added cover crops into their corn and soybean rotation and adopted no till and minimal till practices. A few years later they added the perennial grain Kernza. The Honkens found these practices reduced costs and improved yields.
The Honkens received financial support for growing Kernza from University of Minnesota and Clean River Partners (Minnesota Department of Agriculture) grant programs. Their Kernza crop has been part of a University of Minnesota study on how grazing impacts the grain yield of the perennial plant. They also received funding for their cover crop seeds from the USDA NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program.
Improved soil structure from the covered ground has saved the family money on fuel and equipment, especially regarding no till drilling soybeans. Allowing the cattle to graze on the cover crops and Kernza also reduced feeding expenses.
Dan and Erin have run the farm since they took over from Dan’s father in 1994. Dan operates a cow/half beef operation, and Erin grows flowers for local consumers through a community supported agriculture program. They interseed about 200 acres of cover crops into their corn and soybean rotation.
Conservation practices at work
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Talk to Dan and Erin Honken
Want to know more about how the Honkens made changes on their farm? Contact them today.
Connect with technical experts
Learn more about these practices and financial and educational resources available to make changes on your farm. Contact the Rice Soil and Water Conservation District at (507)-332-5408.
Learn more about what other farmers in the region are doing to build soil health by exploring the rest of the tour.