TJ Kartes Farm


Steele County, Minnesota


2022 - present




Conservation Story

Cover crops play a big role in TJ Kartes’ life. After seeing how successful cover crops were with improving soil health on his uncle’s farm, TJ got into the cover crop seed business and is now using cover crops to try to rebuild carbon and soil structure on land with sand and gravel below the surface.

TJ took over farming operations on the land in 2021 after sand mining and grading activities reduced the quality of the thin soil surface. The land is highly susceptible to drought conditions, so TJ is trying to improve the soil quality through less disturbance and intense cover cropping. This includes:

  • Seeding sorghum-sudangrass, flax, Berseem clover, and kale crops that have been harvested for livestock forage.
  • He plans to interseed soybeans into winter camelina in spring 2023, which will be harvested as a relay crop.
  • After soybean harvest, winter cereal rye or Triticale will be no till seeded and later harvested for seed.

TJ has worked on cover crops with producers in the region since 2009, selling cover crop seeds for Saddle Butte Ag. Inc. He is also the owner-operator of Kartes Seeds, which specializes in providing cover crop seed and technical assistance to farmers.

cover crops in summer

Farm Description

TJ operates the farm on land owned by the Hanson family. He plants soybeans, along with cover crops such as sorghum grass, flax, Berseem clover, kale, winter camelina, and cereal rye.

Conservation practices at work

Cover crops

No till

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Talk to TJ Kartes

Want to know more about how the TJ made changes on his farm? Contact him today. <-  LINK

Connect with technical experts

Learn more about these practices and financial and educational resources available to make changes on your farm. Contact Steve Lawler, Soil Scientist and Resource Specialist at Mower Soil and Water Conservation District on 507-434-2603.

Explore more

Learn more about what other farmers in the region are doing to build soil health by exploring the rest of the tour. 

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