While many farmers and ranchers are struggling to stay afloat in today’s turbulent agricultural economy, one Minnesota farm couple is turning the tide with a new, “regenerative” business model.

Rather than treating it as a trade secret, Redwood Falls farmers Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz are hosting a three-day Soil Health Academy (SHA) school Aug. 13-15 at their 400-acre farm, so others can learn how to breathe new life into their own farming operations.

Soil Health Academy schools feature instruction by Ray Archuleta, Dave Brandt, Gabe Brown, Allen Williams, Ph.D. and other technical consultants, all of whom are widely considered to be among the most preeminent pioneers, innovators and advocates in today’s soil health and regenerative agricultural movement.

“Stoney Creek Farm was chosen because Grant and Dawn have successfully implemented soil health-focused, regenerative agricultural principles on their farm for years,” said Gabe Brown, co-founder of SHA. “As a result, those practices and principles can be fully illustrated in a real-life setting throughout the students’ hands-on learning experience.”

For the Breitkreutz family, hosting the SHA school represents an opportunity to share their experiences and help other farmers make the transition to a more profitable and fulfilling farming business model.

“We have been on our regenerative path for 15-20 years now and have seen such an improvement to both our pastures and farm fields, and we feel that it is vital for our neighbors to find their way to a regenerative path also,” Dawn said. “By hosting the Soil Health Academy on our farm, we hope we are opening a door to their regenerative agriculture education."

The farming couple’s regenerative farming approach has yielded a wide range of benefits from increased profits to improved water infiltration and healthier soil, wildlife and livestock.

“By implementing regenerative agricultural principles on our farm, we’ve improved our bottom line by reducing input costs, including chemicals, synthetic fertilizers and seed,” Dawn said, “and our operation now includes additional species of livestock and a meat sales enterprise, which is operated by our daughter, Karlie, and her husband, Cody, through their company, Ten Creek Range. Currently they are selling to individuals in local communities with plans to add online sales very soon. We hope to add pasture-raised chickens by next year.”

In addition to growing better yields and profits through regenerative agricultural principles, Stoney Creek Farm is also growing life in all shapes and sizes.

“We see the increased wildlife, biological life in the soil, improved grain yields and the improved health of our livestock,” Dawn explained. “We have eliminated erosion and improved water infiltration, which means we now keep the water where it’s supposed to be. And what could be better than that?”

One of the most important regenerative agriculture benefits cited by the farming pair, has nothing to do with economics or agronomy.

“Farming is fun, challenging and rewarding again,” Breitkreutz said. “We wish we would have made the change sooner, which is exactly what we hear from every single person we have ever talked to who has changed to regenerative farming.”

To learn more about the Soil Health Academy School at Stoney Creek Farm, visit www.soilhealthacademy.org, or call (256) 996-3142.

– Photo courtesy of Stoney Creek Farm