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Todd County Breakfast on the Farm

 

Minnesota's Conservation Showcase

 

 

 

 

 

Todd County Breakfast on the Farm

Twin Eagle Dairy in Clarissa, Minnesota, is owned and operated by the Pat and Jody Lunemann family. Their farm served as the host of the Todd County Breakfast on the Farm on July 20. This was an excellent outreach event that attracted over 650 people serving at least 2000 pancakes. Breakfast on the Farm is a wonderful tradition held every summer throughout the state of Minnesota. Rural and urban audiences come together on the farm to learn more about how agriculture impacts everyone!

Todd Farm photoThe Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Todd Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) were involved in implementing a conservation tour at Twin Eagle Dairy. Staff showcased and explained the conservation improvements done at Twin Eagle Dairy through EQIP and State Cost Share. Over a 6 year period, NRCS staff worked with the Lunemann family to plan and implement conservation practices on their feedlot. “These types of projects take years to develop and implement, but starts with building trust with the farmer. It takes a partnership effort between the farmer, NRCS, SWCD, Lenders, TSP’s, and Contractors. Lining up multiple funding sources through loans and financial assistance from programs such as EQIP and State Cost Share is often critical to the success of these large projects. Without everybody’s willingness to be adaptable throughout the process and to work together toward a common goal these projects would not succeed.” said Russell Kleinschmidt, NRCS District Conservationist.

The NRCS welcomed the opportunity to showcase what Twin Eagle Dairy accomplished by working with NRCS and SWCD’s technical and financial assistance. Twin Eagle Dairy milks 650 cows 3 times per day. Resource concerns identified on the farm included runoff of nutrients to surface waters, potential groundwater contamination, and others. To solve these resource concerns a conservation plan, and a preliminary site assessment and design was developed first and then an EQIP contract. The manure pit was a prime example of a conservation practice that was needed to address water quality concerns.

In addition, a CNMP was developed with NRCS consultation to assist with identifying sensitive features, setbacks, and fertilizer and manure application rates, forms, timing, and placement. By following this plan the Lunemann family can be assured they are applying the manure to the farmland in an environmentally sound manner. Twin Eagle Dairy also has a CSP contract where they are implementing multiple enhancements for water quality and soil quality. Pat Lunemann and his family were named the Todd SWCD Conservation Farmer of the Year. Additionally, Lunemann serves as the MN Milk Producer Association President. “This all wouldn’t have been possible without the help of so many folks especially the NRCS and SWCD. These folks have been extremely easy to get along with and work with throughout the process.” said Pat Lunemann at the annual SWCD Awards Luncheon.

Todd County NRCS and SWCD field office staff are already excited about next year’s breakfast on the farm. “It is important that NRCS take the time to explain the results of conservation on the landscape and the benefits that farmers such as the Lunemann family are doing for Minnesota Agriculture,” said Kleinschmidt. “If we don’t, nobody will know the great work we are doing.” added Kleinschmidt.

Moore, an Americorps volunteer with the St. Paul Public Housing Agency, was searching on Google for ways in which she could spice up her role as Volunteer Coordinator for the St. Paul Public Housing Agency. Within minutes of doing a Google search, Moore found several links to NRCS’ ETV Program. After reading through several Google search results, Moore decided she would reach out to USDA-NRCS in Minnesota to see if there were any ways she could help NRCS volunteer.

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