2016 Conservation Farmer
The Big Stone SWCD would like to recognize Ron & Tammy Schumacher and family of rural Ortonville. Ron & Tammy have been farming in Big Stone County since 1992, and have been using no-till and strip-till practices since then. Their two children still help on the farm as well. Stephanie works at the SWCD office in Milbank SD and Kenny is a diesel mechanic in Graceville MN. Ron first walked into the SWCD office in 2013 when he was interested in establishing a shelterbelt around his home. After his shelterbelt project was completed in 2014 through an EQIP contract, Ron become more involved with the conservation office and their programs. Since then, Ron has been experimenting with long term cover crop applications through EQIP participation.
Ron & Tammy have been eager to learn more about cover crops and how to establish them on various landscapes. They attended the Big Stone County Soil Health Field Day, toured the USDA Research Facility & Gabe Brown's farm in Bismarck ND, and attended several other conservation tillage workshops around the area. They have partnered with the DNR & NRCS soil scientist on six locations in two of their fields to track soil temperature, infiltration and cover crop establishment throughout the growing season. The Schumachers enrolled in the CSP program including nine improvements on their farmed acres, some of which include: grid sampling, drift reducing nozzles, pest management and utilizing the Haney Test to track their soil health. Ron values how his soil productivity has increased, and since 2016, began transitioning their farming operation into a four crop rotation including corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. He has also been tinkering with his own cover crop applicator that best fits his farming practices. Ron and Tammy have been a joy to work with and a great illustration of what it means to be committed to improving their farming enterprise. Ron & Tammy are very thankful for their landlords' continued support, participating in conservation programs to enhance their soil.