Joe and Mark Loehr
Loehr brothers farm together on Loehr Dairy LLC. They grow crops on 950 acres and milk 500 cows. They farm in Fond du Lac County where the soil is predominantly silt loam.
Loehrs have received several benefits from being a member of SRPF. The cost-share program has helped offset expenses of trying new practices. The sharing of ideas between peers with similar goals helps them to see new and different conservation practices enacted on other farms, especially during field days. The biggest challenge they faced with implementing a conservation practice was not having the seed and chemical programs available or encouraged for some of the most progressive, sustainable ideas. They feel members of other conservation organizations, such as the Dodge County Healthy Soil, Healthy Water group have helped the farm collect a lot of valuable information.
There are many people who have tried a lot of different things. Mark's advice to those who haven't tried yet is to join a conservation group, research, utilize all avenues of education. Then start slow on a few acres to get your own experience on your own farm with your own equipment. He also feels it's important to share how it turned out so others can learn too. They both feel it's impossible to fully anticipate the outcome because of so many variables like weather, soil conditions, etc. However, by helping soil health and creating bio-diversity, inter-seeding also reduces wheel compaction and seems to have the benefit of supporting growth of nice Whitetail bucks.
Something that surprised the Loehr brothers is every year the soil conditions create different challenges – so the same equipment with the same settings may not yield the same results.
For generations, the Loehr family has embraced stewardship and made a priority of conservation. The practices have changed, but the principles have not. They feel it is important to have a sustainable farm because sustaining and improving the land has been a goal and principle of the Loehr family for five generations. It is not new, even if buzz-words create the idea that it is.