A new project looks to innovate farming in Nebraska

York

York

In farming, success begins from the ground up, literally. Since 2008, York Farmer Scott Gonnerman has used innovative farming practices to promote soil health.

“The one thing over the years I’ve realized is my goal is to make sure that my grandson can make a living farming that farm,” said Gonnerman. “And if we don’t change how we do things, odds are going to be against him to make a living farming”.

Partnering with Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District, they hope to improve farmland across Nebraska through the Growing Rotational Crops on Wellfield (GROW) project.

A major part of this is the use of cover crops. Planted in between cash crops (crops grown specifically to be sold), cover crops provide natural fertilizer and increase the soil’s biodiversity. Which helps to save farmers money because they won’t need to purchase as much fertilizer, insecticide, or herbicide.

“I think my cost to produce a bushel of corn is about 75 cents per bushel less then the average cost in York County. Significantly less,” said Gonnerman.

By improving soil health, they are also improving the drinking water. Gonnerman says soil is like a filter. If too much fertilizer is applied, then nitrates can leech into our drinking water, leading to severe health risks.

As the project continues to grow, Gonnerman and Upper Big Blue hope these farming practices will spread to farmers across Nebraska.

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