Success Story - 7th Generation Farmer Leading by Example
Illinois Success Story
7th Generation Farmer Leading by Example
By: Jody Christiansen, Public Affairs Specialist
Date: August 2011
Producer Matt Kellogg reviews his conservation plan
with NRCS District Conservationist Jen Hamer
Just a few miles outside the sprawling urban communities of Chicago, Matt
Kellogg farms land that has been in his family for generations. His ancestors
homesteaded the land in 1846 when President Polk was in office and they started
the operation of raising multiple types of animals.
The Kellogg Farm sign (left) is reminiscent of the hog
old operation in comparison to the farm now in row crop production.
Today, Kellogg, the seventh generation, and his father jointly operate the
2,800 acre farm. Up until a few years ago his father was raising 35,000 hogs,
now it is solely a grain farming operation. “My father was very involved in the
swine industry and served in almost every leadership role,” he said, “all the
way to being president of the National Pork Board for four years.” Even though
Kellogg himself is considered a beginning farmer, he has worked closely with his
father for many years and understands how precious the land is and what needs to
be done to care for it.
That mind-set, to take care of the land, has allowed him to participate in the
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), a voluntary program administered through
the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
CSP is designed to reward good stewards for what they have done
and encourage them to address additional resource concerns on their land.
Years ago, Kellogg planted filter strips along six acres of the Aux Sable Creek
to protect water quality, all without federal program funding. However, “We
followed NRCS guidelines,” Kellogg said.
Aux Sable Creek with filter strips.
Through CSP contracts they maintain and manage their existing conservation
practices, like filter strips, and install new conservation enhancements. They
use drift-reducing nozzles to manage pesticide applications and address air
quality resource concerns. They also recycle 100 percent of their farm
lubricants to address energy resource concerns. In order to address water
quality resource concerns, they use precision application technology to apply
nutrients and conduct plant tissue testing and analysis to improve nitrogen
When still raising hogs, the Kellogg operation played a major role in a study
that eventually led to the adoption of a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan
(CNMP). A CNMP is a conservation plan for animal feeding operations, which is
administered through NRCS. The study, a coordinated effort between the Kelloggs,
NRCS, and other partners, included the use of many commonly used practices and
their affects on the land.
Kellogg also signed up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP),
another NRCS program that assists producers in furthering their conservation
efforts. These EQIP contracts helped Kellogg develop a CNMP and then implement
and install waste utilization and manure transfer system, a roof runoff
structure, and a field windbreak.
In his spare time, Kellogg shares his natural resource commitment by serving as
the Chairman of the Kendall County Soil and Water Conservation District Board.
Yet, with all these actions taken to protect the environment and food sources,
he still has concerns about the lack of understanding and misinformation that
reaches urban dwellers. There is a ‘disconnect’ between where food is grown and
what goes into farming.
To help improve those relations, both Kellogg and his father hold teacher
training sessions on the farm. “My dad was a member of a group that designed the
‘Teachers on an AgriScience Bus’ program 20 years ago,” said Kellogg. This is a
credit earning, hands-on class for elementary and high school teachers who take
lessons learned on the farm back to the classroom.
Kellogg farm pond has been used for pond management demonstrations.
The Kellogg family also hosts the Summer Agricultural Institute teachers
through the Kendall County Farm Bureau where students also earn Graduate
Credit/Certification Units. Reaching out to the public is an important part in
educating the non-farm communities about farming, especially with an increased
focus on locally grown foods.
After so many generations who worked and lived on the land, it becomes
obvious that when you take care of your natural resources, they will be around
for many generations to come.
To learn more about USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation
programs and assistance, contact your local USDA Service Center or go to
CSP_Profile_Kellogg.pdf (PDF, 1927kb)