Success Stories “Our Soil, Our Strength” is Hammer-Kavazanjian Farm Motto
Wisconsin Landowner Success Story
Charlie Hammer and Nancy Kavazanjian, Hammer-Kavazanjian Farms
Dodge County, Wisconsin
October 26, 2007
"Our Soil, Our Strength" is Hammer-Kavazanjian Farm Motto
Charlie Hammer and his wife, Nancy Kavazanjian, live by their motto, "Our Soil, Our Strength" which is painted on their farm trucks and signs. For years, they have been trying different ways to successfully increase their soil organic matter, fertility, and tilth.
"It's always exciting and rewarding to work with producers like Charlie and Nancy," says Brian Briski, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) District Conservationist in Dodge County, Wisconsin. "They are always willing to try new and progressive farming techniques for conservation."
Charlie and Nancy were among the first farmers to enroll in the Conservation Security Program (CSP) in the Crawfish River Watershed in southeast Wisconsin in 2005. CSP is a voluntary program that rewards landowners for their conservation stewardship and improvements made to soil, water, air, energy, plant, and animal life. Soil conservation has always been an important part of how they manage their farm near Beaver Dam, and CSP was a natural fit.
Improving soil quality and crop yields with conservation in mind
"We've always been conservation minded because the soil is so important to us. The soil is our strength, as our sign says," says Nancy.
Charlie and Nancy have practiced no-till since 1985 with a corn-soybean-wheat rotation. They have also been experimenting with cover crops such as alfalfa, red clover and hairy vetch following wheat to secure nitrogen and provide soil protection and enhancement. Other innovative techniques they use include precision agriculture that consists of grid soil sampling, yield monitoring with GPS, and also GPS to control wheel traffic to reduce compaction. Tractors, combine and grain cart are also equipped with tracks to minimize compaction.
"We know that you can't abuse the soils and get good yields. It's always been our goal to try and have the best soils we can," says Nancy. That was demonstrated very effectively at the CSP Field Day held on their farm. A soil pit was dug in one of their fields, vividly showing the organic matter, worm activity, lack of compaction, and tilth.
This year, they advanced to Tier III in CSP by improving the red-headed woodpecker habitat on their farm.
Charlie Hammer and Nancy Kavazanjian farm in Dodge County, WI, Our Soil Our Strength is their motto.
Charlie and Nancy recognized by NRCS State Conservationist Pat Leavenworth at a CSP field day held on their farm.