Multi – generational farmers, Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz live their lives close to four generations within their family farm of Redwood Falls, Minnesota. For many years Grant and Dawn were commodity, row crop farmers as well as beef cattle producers similar to the vast majority of the farmers and ranchers in the US and like the majority, they were struggling. They were looking for answers, they were seeing their soils degrade as well as seeing their input costs continually rise. The financial pressures were getting pretty tough and they were experiencing production issues both in their crops and in their cattle.
Here is when they started looking for solutions. Like most farmers they were looking to local suppliers, local co-ops and crop consultants but their answers were to the likes of ‘you need more inputs’ or ‘you need to supplement this or supplement that’ or ‘you need more tillage practices’. Its here when they began looking outside of the conventional to be able to discover the process towards regenerative agriculture while transitioning from chemical dependency.
One of the first things Grant and Dawn did was change the monoculture cash crop, or cover crop into a highly complex, diverse cover crop of which immediately became a game changer for them. Overnight they went from having cover crop failures to having cover crop success and that also meant that they had far greater success in being able to graze their livestock on those cover crops. So it not only benefited their row cropping operation by providing needed inputs and soil building and microbial building characteristics through the winter months with that complex cover to feed the next cash crop, but it fed their livestock and it significantly reduced their input cost for those livestock.
Their story continues while shouldering through a difficult yet beautiful process from degradation to regeneration. Grant and Dawn are considered one of the shining stars among the Soil Health Academy and the Regenerative Agriculture movement as they reveal the trials, errors and accomplishments in not only their practices but their mindset towards possibility.
They’ve won numerous environmental stewardship awards, have built significantly new soil which conventional wisdom would challenge them with the usual response of ‘there’s no way’. In so doing, they’ve completely turned around their financial position. Additionally, they’ve become a model for neighbors along with surrounding farmers as well as within their region.
We very much look forward to sharing more of their story. In the meantime, wishing you all a happy holiday and continued stories towards regenerating our world.
Be well. Be you.
The Farmer’s Footprint Team