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Name: Bryan Biegler
Location: Lake Wilson, Minnesota
Year Joined SHP: 2015
Bryan Biegler describes himself as a fourth-generation farmer in the southwest corner of Minnesota. When asked more about his farm, he humbly talks about his wife, his father, his three little ones running around.
Others would call him an innovator, on the cutting edge of on-farm conservation work. Others would point out his eye for the future, for leaving his farm better for the next person that farms it.
“I pay attention to details,” Biegler says proudly. “I like to make sure I’m doing things the right way.”
Experts in the farm and conservation communities would agree that he is doing things the right way. Biegler has been strip tilling his corn fields for eight years, planting cover crops to protect bare earth for six. He still views himself in a process of getting better, even with all that experience. That process of working for continuous improvement is exactly what Biegler is getting right.
He remembers the year he decided he had to learn more, had to make a change.
“One year, I had just planted, and we had a big three-inch rain that fell in about 30 minutes. The field was rutted up terrible. There were so many gullies. I decided right then that I needed to make a change. I was sick of watching my soil wash away.”
By that fall, Biegler had put in the time and effort to learn more about his options. He attended conferences. He talked to neighbors. He met farmers via social channels and learned from their successes and challenges. He prepared and he built a plan.
Then he acted.
With some small adjustments along the way, his strip till fields have been successful. The cover crop opportunities have made his soil better and saved the soil – a very expensive resource - from erosion.
“I felt that there was a better way of doing things, and I’ve found it,” he says.
Biegler farms in Minnesota, Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, and his state has seen the increased concern from nutrient runoff into water supplies. He is very concerned about clean water, and he’s following the state government’s interest in clean water regulations. He knows that in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, he must work hard to keep the water clean.
“But regulation was not my main reason [for the changes],” he says. “I did this for agronomic reasons. I was tired of seeing the soil eroding away on me.”
At first, the management changes were challenging for the family Biegler farms with. He recalls many discussions and explanations of the new farm management practices with his sometimes-skeptical father. He says this part of the transition was not always smooth. Change can be hard.
Landowners, however, were very supportive. Some questioned his management changes, but every partner was willing to give the new ideas a try. Biegler proudly remembers that he even gained about 500 acres because other landowners saw what he was working towards and wanted conservation practices to preserve and build the soil on their own farms too.
Even with this much experience on his side, Biegler is proud to be in the Soil Health Partnership network. He enjoys learning from and helping other farmers take steps on their own journey to build soil health on their farms for future generations.
He echoes the words of so many farmers all over America when he says, “I want to have the land in the best possible shape for them to be able to continue farming. Even if my kids don’t farm, I want to leave it in the best shape for whomever is next.”
Not only is Biegler accomplishing this goal on his own farm, he helps other farmers accomplish it for their families and their futures as well.
He is an innovator with an eye for the future. A humble father of three working to preserve as much soil as he can, one farmer at a time.