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Keith and his wife, Barb, raise corn and soybeans, both GMO and non-GMO, on about 1,300 acres near Rockwell City.
They use cover crops in their operation (the Sextons reported in their 2017 member survey that PFI field days on cover crops have been most meaningful); are currently enrolled in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program; and use a mix of tillage methods, including fall and spring tillage, strip-till and no-till.
“We have increased fall tillage only to smooth out a field that was pattern-tiled,” Keith said. “We are doing more strip-till of corn stalks and less no-till planting of soybeans.”
The Sextons’ short-term farming goals include increasing yields and reducing soil erosion – but longer-term, their goal is to work on transition planning for their farm.
Keith and Barb’s son, Brent, also a Practical Farmers member, graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in animal science and is currently in his fourth year studying veterinary medicine at ISU. (Learn a bit more about Brent in this blog he writes for ISU Vet Med.)
“He has talked about combining a vet practice with our farming operation,” the Sextons report. “We have agreed that he will spend a minimum of two years after vet school working outside our county. After three years have passed, we will work on transitioning our operation to him or someone else.”
Long-time members of PFI, the Sextons feel a strong sense of community through Practical Farmers, and Keith shared on the most recent member survey that advice from Practical Farmers carries weight when it comes to making decisions about farm management.
“It’s difficult to say that PFI was the reason for a change,” Keith said, “but when they give the same message as ISU, IDALS, etc., I try to adopt the new practice.”
Keith attended Practical Farmers’ first small grains-focused conference in August.
A summary of the event — and links to presentations from the conference — are available on our blog.