Farmers Behind Your Food: Hebbe Farm, Wisconsin
Jim and Valerie Hebbe, along with their daughter Ashley, run a cash grain farm in Green Lake County, Wis. With nearly 30 years of experience in melding conservation and agriculture, Jim Hebbe reflects the essence of adaptive management.
He began farming in 1983 by renting some land from his father. He planted field corn using conventional tillage, but yields were poor. After a couple of attempts, Jim realized that he needed a system that conserved soil moisture and improved organic matter. This led him to no-till farming in 1986, and he has never looked back.
Today the Hebbe family farms field corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa on 1,100 acres of land. They have implemented numerous conservation systems that complement each other and lead to less erosion and more residue cover on the land. They built a water and sediment basin to help reduce field runoff from a significant slope that drains into Snake Creek, the farm’s Class 1 trout stream. To further enhance soil and water quality, the Hebbes planted native prairie grasses in a field that borders the creek. Through the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), they were also able to plant 25 acres of evergreen trees in what was once light and sandy soil.
The Hebbe family was recognized by the Sand County Foundation as the 2012 Leopold Conservation Award winners in Wisconsin.
**This story was originally published by the Sand County Foundation.