Did you know South Dakota farmers will join others across the U.S. this fall to harvest more than 4 billion bushels of soybeans? While most of those soybeans will be used to feed animals, they eventually end up on your table in the form of farm-fresh foods like meat, eggs, milk and cheese. South Dakota farmers David and Miriam Iverson look forward to each fall as an opportunity to continue the family tradition of sustainably harvesting food and cooking meals like Coconut Curry Chili to warm up after cool days in the field.
“I’m the fourth generation on our operation. I’ve been farming for 37 years here in northern Brookings County,” David said. “My family has been here for 120 years. My dad still actively helps out.”
It’s vital to keep things moving during busy seasons, especially on the Iverson’s 1,500-acre farm. The drought this summer has taken its toll on yields across South Dakota, and extra attention is needed to ensure the crops are harvested with care. Using sustainable practices throughout the growing season pays off when it’s time to combine.
The Iversons plant a rotation of soybeans and corn every other year. David says they rotate their crops for many reasons, but ultimately it protects their plants from being affected by plant-specific pests.
“Corn and soybeans have different weeds, diseases and insects that affect yields,” he said. “By rotating the crops, we keep those numbers low and, hopefully, our yields high.”
David uses other sustainable practices to grow food, like applying fertilizer at a rate that matches soil and plant needs, and implementing minimal and no-till practices in their fields.
“Our sustainability methods improve soil health immensely and prevent soil erosion,” he said.
With harvest just around the corner, we’ll see how their efforts pay off. Since family time can be pretty limited in the fall, meals are important to bring people together. Coconut Curry Chili is one of David and Miriam’s favorites to help warm up after a long day in the combine.
Read the Story of Soybean Harvest to learn more about what farmers are thinking this time of year.