Jed Gerdes, fifth generation farmer and one of Agrible’s Sustainable Sourcing users, is recognized by Field to Market® in their Farmer Spotlight Series for his efforts towards a more sustainable farming operation.
“Our goal when we leave this farm is to leave it in better condition than when we found it. We want to turn this soil back into healthier soil. I’ve grown up planting lots of trees and digging holes in the ground, and that’s where I got started,” said Gerdes.
Not every sustainable practice will work for every farm. Gerdes has tried various methods throughout the past few years to find what works for him and his operation to make sure his crops are grown responsibly while minimizing environmental impact. When we last spoke with him, he was continuing his work on figuring out what cover crops work best ahead of planting corn. On his beans, he found that ryegrass and cereal rye are what work best. Gerdes noted that he has also used chicken litter over the last three years to supplement their fertilizer program.
“In general, my goal moving forward is to do more with cover crops and manure where I can and when I can, and less with commercial fertilizer. We’re doing more with cereal rye and tilling the ground a little in the fall to help us use less in the spring”
By using cover crops on his fields, Gerdes hopes to reduce erosion, sequester nutrients, add organic matter, and reduce some compaction.
“I really want to make the land better than what it was for the future—for future generations who will also impact this soil and these crops, but also for future consumers.”
For more on Gerdes and his journey towards a more sustainable farm, check out his Farmer Spotlight recognition here.