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Soil Health

Illinois Producer Profiles in Soil Health

A growing number of farmers and ranchers from across the country are using cover crops and soil health management systems to improve the health and productivity of their soil. You can learn more about how some of these farmers are “Unlocking the Secrets in the Soil" here in Illinois.

Soil Health Producer Profile - Ross Bremmer Cover Crops Pay
The Bremmer family has farmed land in Northwestern Illinois for 110 years. This fourth generation operation began with Ross Bremmer’s great grandfather in Stephenson County. After attending college to earn an Associate’s degree in Agricultural Business Management, Ross rejoined the family operation. He has been a key player in their row crop, forage and livestock operation for the last 13 years. Read more...
John and Dave Carey - Soil Health Producer Profile Transformation Man
John Carey is a busy man. He has a day job but in his spare time he has transformed 300 eroded acres of degraded land into a profitable grazing operation. How'd he do it? A vision. Good partners. A lot of hard work. And EQIP. Read more...
Adam Dahmer, Marion, Illinois Starting Out Smart
Dahmer Farms, LLC has been no-till farming since 1983. Adam Dahmer, his father, Terry, and younger brother John, farm 1,300 acres in Williamson County, Illinois. They all raise corn and beans. Adam has also started farming some acreage on his own in addition to working with his dad and brother. This year, they planted cover crops on 75% of their farms. Next year? They will plant 100% of their farms in cover crops. Why? Because it works. Read more...
Jack Erisman, Christian & Shelby Counties Illinois Old Ideas, Good Ideas
Jack Erisman farms 2,000 acres of farmland in Christian and Shelby Counties. He’s been farming since 1963. Erisman is all about sustainability, ecological issues, and socially acceptable farming techniques. He has found a way to achieve all this and be profitable. His most important tool? Cover crops. Read more...
Jim Iserman, LaSalle County, Illinois A Sustainable, Diverse Operation
Jim Iserman and Father Dave work 900 acres in Livingston and LaSalle Counties, Illinois. One hundred twenty of those acres are in permanent forage and the rest are in Ag production using a corn-soybean-wheat rotation. Jim has successfully merged his row crop and livestock operation and his use of cover crops has been a large part of its success. So far, he loves the results. His cows—and his soils--seem pleased with the benefits as well Read more...
Roy Peterson, McLean County, Illinois Living Proof
Roy Peterson runs a 1,300 acre corn and bean operation in Central Illinois. His parents always had rotations and diverse crops, which included cover crops like oats, hay, pasture and corn. Maybe that’s what prompted Roy to try a little experiment with cover crops. What he learned has made a big difference on his farm and his yield monitor. Read more...
Andy Shireman, Catlin, Illinois A Brave, Bold Move
Andy Shireman may be the bravest man in Morgan County, Illinois. He’s a true believer. And when Andy believes in something, he completely dives into it. Andy believes in cover crops. Last year he made the big switch on 2,400 acres and went ‘all in.’ And he couldn’t be happier with the results. Read more...
Ralph Upton, Hamilton County, Illinois Cover Crops Work
Ralph Upton began farming full time in 1964 at age 18. Known locally as “Junior,” Upton currently has 1,800 acres of no-till corn, soybeans, and wheat located in Hamilton County, Illinois. He has used soil conservation solutions for decades and is known locally for his commitment to stewardship of soil and water resources. Upton is a veteran no-tiller and long-time advocate of soil-building ag techniques. Ralph is usually ahead of the curve. His interest and use of cover crops is no exception. Read more...
Jay Whalen, Streator, Illinois An Oldie But A Goodie
Interest in using cover crops continues to increase across Illinois. The number of landowners experimenting with cover crops is growing just about as well as the crops did after harvest. Earlier last winter, local producers, soil scientists with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and seed specialists with ProHarvest Seeds held a Cover Crop Field Day in Streator, Illinois to show curious farmers how well cover crops can affect soil quality and offer forage solutions for livestock operators. Read more...
Russell Wire, Stephenson County, Illinois 5th Generation Improvements
Russell Wire, now 28, lives in Northwest Illinois. At eight years old, he knew he liked agriculture. Through a 4-H project, he raised some of his Dad’s and a friend’s beef cattle and grew those cows into a herd of 40. His family farming history dates back to 1850, making Russell a fifth generation farmer who now rents ground from his parents and is building his own sustainable operation. Read more...