Martin Kleinschmit, of Hartington, says making the shift to organic farming and grass fed beef production didn’t happen overnight.
“As soon as you start doing the organic system, you have to worry more about soil fertility because you get your fertility from the soil, not from additives that you put on,” Kleinschmit says. “That led to working with soil carbon and trying to increase that. The best way to do that is with grass and animals. One thing led to another and pretty quick, we were doing grass-fed cattle too.”
Kleinschmit says he had a lot of help along the way as he made the transition to the USDA organic program. He says more than 60,000 Nebraska acres are now certified in the program.
“I was fortunate enough to be working with the Center for Rural Affairs and that put me in contact with a lot of other people that I could learn from,” he says. “There really aren’t too many books out there on this stuff. It also put me in the position to do some training for other farmers on how to build soil quality and soil carbon.”
He says farming organically and raising grass-fed beef is a great way for younger producers to get into the business.
“With the grass-fed cattle, anybody can do that,” Kleinschmit says. “It’s better to have a certain breed. Some of the breeds do better than others. Just about all farmers have a piece of ground with some grass that isn’t fully utilized and might serve better as grass.”
Kleinschmit also conserves fossil fuels by owning and managing Marlin Wind and Solar LLC.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton