The science of growing healthy crops and baking a world-class meatloaf couldn’t be more different, but farmer Craig Converse of Brookings has a great recipe for both. Technically, he didn’t create the meatloaf recipe. It’s a family favorite straight out of his mother’s kitchen, but he does use his background in agronomy and technology to grow the best soybeans to feed animals and people in South Dakota.
Craig is the third generation to work on their family farm, growing soybeans and corn alongside his father and sons. He lives in Brookings, but spends most days on the farm. Things have changed drastically since his grandfather bought the land in 1940, and a lot of it has to do with Craig. He uses his master’s degree in agronomy from South Dakota State University to improve soil management and crop production plans for the farm.
“Because my background is in research, I really enjoy testing new ways to grow crops on the farm,” he said.
Craig utilizes synchronized precision technology on all his machinery. It uses a GPS signal and layered data from past growing seasons during planting. He uses similar technology to apply the right amount of pesticides when needed and fertilizers to enrich the soil.
In addition to precision technology, Craig also plants GMO seeds in his fields. He says using both allows his farm to be the more efficient and sustainable.
“GMOs allow me to use less pesticides, which means I spend less time in my fields and less money on products,” said Craig. “We control pests in our field better, we produce higher yields and, above all, we raise safe food. Our soybeans are fed to our animals so it’s important that what we grow is safe to eat.”
According to Craig, there’s no better way to enjoy the soybeans he grows than through home cooked comfort foods like meatloaf. Ingredients like milk, eggs and beef all come from animals who eat soybeans as part of a healthy diet. Since Craig isn’t an expert in the kitchen, his mom Barb has a recipe that keeps it simple and delicious. With only seven ingredients, her famous meatloaf is proven to fuel family time and conversations around the table.