The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) awarded the Good Steward Recognition award to Joe Breker from Havana, North Dakota, during Commodity Classic on March 3 in San Antonio, Texas.
Joe Breker says learning and adopting conservation practices isn’t a decision so much as it is an ever evolving process and a life-long commitment. After nearly four decades of trying to farm better and more sustainably he is still learning and teaching others on his farm in Havana, ND.
The Breker family has been farming the land here since the late 1800’s, and it is his dedication to keeping the land productive into the future that earned Joe Breker recognition from NCGA for Good Stewardship during the recent 2017 Commodity Classic convention and trade show. For more information and a video about Breker and the award, go to ncga.com/goodsteward.
Breker is the fourth honoree in NCGA’s Good Steward Recognition Program which began in 2014. The program funding was provided by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation as part of their Harvesting the Potential campaign to raise awareness among U.S. farmers of the importance of conservation agriculture.
“This program is about expanding awareness of the best management practices in sustainable corn production. This award recognizes the special efforts of those who demonstrate the economic and conservation value of soil management,” said Carson Klosterman, president of the North Dakota Corn Growers Association (NDCGA) and member of the NCGA Stewardship Action Team. “Joe’s investment of time, money and energy over his farming career is staggering, and not just to farm smarter but to share what he has learned with others in such an unselfish way. It’s NDCGA’s privilege to recognize Joe’s many contributions by nominating him for this award.”
Practices employed explores new ways by Breker include no-till (37 years), strip till (27 years), cover crops (17 years), tiling (12 years), and rotational grazing including cover crops. Breker is involved in an expansive manure management program that utilizes manure from a large nearby dairy which he composts and then uses to provide fertility and build organic matter in his fields. He is a founding member of several conservation groups in North Dakota including the Conservation Cropping System Project located in Forman, ND that does long term no-till rotation studies and explore new ways to use cover crops.
“In 2011 we made our largest single investment in our farming career by building a family and investor owned lodge in the middle of a scenic pasture on our farm. It took two years to build Coteau des Prairies Lodge. In less than four years of operation we have hosted people from more than 20 countries and most of the 50 states,” Breker said. “Our favorite thing to do is engage these groups in conservation agriculture discussion and tours so they understand all the positive changes taking place in farming.”
The North Dakota Corn Growers Association (NDCGA) is the farmer-led organization focusing on policy that impacts North Dakota corn producers. The NDCGA consists of 14 growers from 7 districts along with 4 at-large directors. NDCGA works to grow a healthy, profitable business climate for northern corn.