Mille Lacs Soil and Water Conservation District
Kurt Beckstrom and his wife Traci run their multi-generational farm near Milaca, Minnesota, where they’ve raised their eight children. Kurt has been a local supervisor with the Mille Lacs Soil and Water Conservation District for 30 years.
Kurt and his son Josh operate a cow and calf feed lot. Their cropping method has been no-till since 1996, and they’ve been using cover crops since 2000. The Beckstroms also use a composted manure system to better utilize the pack manure for the stock cows.
Because their operation is managed to protect water quality through the various conservation practices they’ve implemented, the Beckstrom farm is one of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certified Farms. This program is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead in implementing conservation practices that protect our water. Those who implement and maintain approved farm management practices are certified and in turn obtain regulatory certainty for a period of ten years.
Beckstrom admits that farming has its challenges, but in his region, most of the challenges are weather-related. They have a clay-type soil which tends to stay wet for days when it rains. In Minnesota, they also have a shorter growing season, and sometimes that means there’s a short window of opportunity to plant and harvest.
“The timing of cover crop installation has been a steep learning curve, in which I’m still learning. But throughout all the challenges, I can say with confidence that my soil is healthier.”
Posted May 2018.