2017 is upon us, and it’s time to think about resolutions for the new year. For farmers, this is the time of year to make plans for the 2017 growing season. It’s a time to look back on what worked, what didn’t and how they can improve practices for coming year so they can provide healthy food from their farms to your plates. We caught up with some South Dakota farmers and asked, “What are your resolutions for 2017?”
“On the farm, we always strive to be better prepared and improve upon what we did in the past year. In the winter, farmers analyze data from the prior year and choose which seed varieties to plant, fertilizers to apply, and look at equipment and technology to use.” – Monica McCranie, farmer from Claremont
“I love talking to people on social media about my farm, so I plan to do that. People are always interested to learn where their food comes from. Any way we can connect is always a rewarding experience. My husband Brad was recently honored as America’s Pig Farmer of the Year and is chairman of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. That means we will travel as much as ever this coming year to share our story with people around the country.” – Peggy Greenway, farmer from Mitchell
“In 2017, I hope to plant a pollinator habitat on several acres of my land. These habitats provide food and nesting resources for honey bees, butterflies and several other beneficial insects that help pollinate our crops and enhance insect biodiversity. It also builds and retains soil nutrients while reducing soil erosion and improving water quality. My goal is that the habitat will also encourage more birds and mammals in the area. As a farmer, I have tremendous respect for nature and want to do everything I can to assist with biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.” – Jerry Schmitz, farmer from Vermillion
“Every year around this time, we look at what we can do more efficiently in the next year. We monitor everything throughout the year, so I look at the soil tests I took last fall to help determine the precise amount of fertilizer I’ll need in 2017. We plan to spend more time walking through the fields and scouting for weeds, insects and diseases so we have a better picture of how the crops are doing as they grow. To help with those efforts, we also use satellite imagery to show us where there might be problems in the field. With some help from Mother Nature, I’m sure 2017 will be another successful year.” – Craig Converse, farmer from Brookings
“In 2017, I plan to continue working closely with Hungry for Truth to have more conversations with fellow South Dakotans and answer any questions they have. I enjoyed meeting new people during the first two years of the initiative and learned a lot. It’s truly amazing to see the impact a 10-minute conversation can have on people to make that connection between food and farming.” – John Horter, farmer from Andover
What are your New Year’s resolutions? Share them with us in the comments.