Peninsula Pride Farms Shares New Regenerative Strategies

Peninsula Pride Farms (PPF) held their annual meeting on Feb. 13 at the Kewaunee Fairgrounds Expo Hall. Over 80 farmers, industry partners and community members gathered to hear from a distinguished lineup of speakers as well as gain insight on the progress made by the farmer-led watershed group over the past year.

PPF President Duane Ducat of Deer Run Dairy welcomed attendees. He shared current updates about the group. He stated they are up to 70 members, and also discussed their goals for 2024.

“We’ve been hosting these meetings for quite some time now. I continue to be impressed by the turnout and the engagement we receive from the community,” Ducat said. “It does not go unnoticed; we appreciate the support you all have given to this group.”

Russel Hedrick, owner of Soil Regen, presented the regenerative strategies he uses on his farm in Hickory, North Carolina. Hedrick is a first-generation farmer and also an early adaptor of innovative farming practices.

He urged farmers to make management decisions based on new technologies and modern soil testing rather than outdated methods. One of the most critical aspects of growing corn, Hedrick explained, is understanding not only the type of available nutrients that are needed but also the timing of when each nutrient is needed throughout the growing cycle.

Some practices that Hedrick uses on his farm include cover cropping, the use of biologicals, drone applications and also fertility management. He advised farmers to start using new methods on a trial basis.

“I know it’s hard to do all of this over your whole farm when starting,” he said. “I typically tell farmers to start by picking your best field, your worst field as well as two in the middle.”

Shawn Wesener, Farmers for Sustainable Food data collection specialist, provided an update on PPF’s 2023 Member Conservation Practice Survey. Results include data from all the group’s 54 member farmers.

“It’s pretty amazing that soil sampling has been done on 99.7% of the groups 73,421 cropped acres,” Wesener said. “It says something about how well this group manages their fields.”

During the business portion of the meeting, Paul Cornette, Mike Vandenhouten and Adam Barta were re-elected to the PPF board of directors. Don Niles stepped down from his board position and accepted an advisor role. Jeremy Heim of Heim’s Hillcrest Dairy was elected to the open board position.

Other board members are President Duane Ducat of Deer Run Dairy, Vice President Jacob Brey of Brey Cycle Farm, Treasurer Chris Schneider of Nicolet National Bank, Secretary Nathen Nysse of Tilth Agronomy Group,  Lee Kinnard of Kinnard Farms, Scott Jeanquart of Bryersquart Farm, Eric Olson of Olson Family Farm, Keith Braun of Agropur and Nick Guilette of Guilette Farms. Dave Rueckl serves as a board advisor.