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Ep. 28: Ken Rosenow – Reducing the Risk of Adopting Conservation Practices

Cover crops, Farmer programs

Ken Rosenow, alongside his family, is the sixth generation to operate his farm – continuing a legacy that started before the Civil War. While he’s proud of his farming history, Ken is also committed to evolving for the future. That’s one of the reasons why, in 2017, he joined SHP to further his cover crop efforts. 

“I had always been really interested in conservation and I’ve always thought that cover crops were good. But it was really hard to tell […] if it was really economically sustainable,” Ken shared in this episode of The People of Soil Health Podcast. “When I first talked to the Soil Health Partnership people, that seemed to me what the real basis of the program was: ‘We kind of think [cover crops are] pretty good, but we want to do some real testing and collect a lot of data to prove it and make sure what we know and think can be economically profitable for the farmer.’”

Ken learned from his father the importance of conservation and the pair transitioned to no-till by 1991. Today, he rotates corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay. Ken also incorporates a variety of cover crops (which he seeds through aerial application), including cereal rye, field peas, berseem clover, radishes and sunflowers. 

To hear more about Ken’s soil health journey, why he chose to participate in the recent SHP report, Conservation’s Impact on the Farm Bottom Line, and the advice he offers to those just getting started with cover crops, listen to Episode 28 using the player above or by checking out The People of Soil Health in your favorite podcast player.