A few miles northwest of Redwood Falls, just past where Redwood CSAH 17 turns from a paved road to gravel, sits a farm that has been seeing a lot of traffic in recent years.
Known as Stoney Creek Farm, the Delhi Township site is home to Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz, who are lifelong residents of the area and who have taken their passion for agriculture in a unique direction compared to others in the industry.
In fact, people from all around the world have stopped to observe and learn more about what is being done on their farm.
Grant and Dawn have hosted a number of programs and classes for those who have an interest in what they are doing and how they can implement those efforts in their own farming operations.
“Grant and Dawn are great voices and advocates for agriculture. Farmers/Ranchers are problem solvers, and they are no exception,” said Joel Mathiowetz, a fellow Redwood County farmer. “They have looked at the resources that they have and have embraced today’s technology to enhance their operation and continue it for generations to come. They have been very open about their journey and sharing the success and challenges they are having with regenerative farming. It is wonderful to have such committed, passionate and caring people in our community.”
Bruce Tiffany, another Redwood County farmer added they are very deserving of recognition because of what they do every day.
“I think what sets them apart is that they didn’t just jump on a bandwagon when it was convenient. They looked at the way they, and a lot of producers, were farming and decided that it wasn’t working like it should for their business and the land to thrive,” said Tiffany. “They took steps to research and adopt new ways of thinking and managing the resources on their farm. Then the noteworthy part comes. They didn’t just keep it under their hats and hoard the knowledge. Instead what they did was create a movement where others could come see the potential and learn how and where to apply some of the techniques.
“Dawn and Grant are students as well as teachers in the regenerative farming method. They have the confidence from firsthand experience that it works, but the humility that there is much they don’t know. They have the attitude that trying new ideas may bring better results and are willing to share the challenges that may come along with those trials. In the end, Dawn and Grant don’t just talk about how nice it would be if something good would happen, they actively put in the effort to make it so.”
Holly Hatlewick, Renville SWCD district administrator, added, “Grant and Dawn are true stewards of their land. They work with mother nature, by mimicking her when possible, by plant diverse crop species, use of no-till farming techniques and using cover crops.”
Hatlewick said Grant and Dawn keep their soil covered with living covers to protect it from erosion and feed the soil biology while raising a cash crop for harvest.
Grant and Dawn care about their legacy and leaving the land better for future generations. They also demonstrate great leadership in their community, by their willingness to share how and why they farm the way they do. Dawn and Grant are also committed to ensuring the land is there for the next generation.
“My parents have gone above and beyond in learning and educating. Over the last decade they’ve built a network of support to lean on through the learning curves, and a plethora of educational outlets. With that, we’ve been able to help our neighbors and friends learn how to see agriculture from a different perspective,” said their daughter, Karlie.
While the focus is on their operation, the efforts of Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz are not limited to work on their farm.
Both are active members of the Minnesota Cattleman’s Association, and Grant will soon fill the role of president for that group.
Dawn, a veteran, was also recently recognized for her efforts as a member of the American Legion as Legionnaire of the Year.
According to Jim and Jeannette Mertens, fellow Legion and Legion Auxiliary members, “Dawn is a member of Melvin Daskam American Legion Post 38 and its Auxiliary. She is also a member of the honor guard. Grant is a member of the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 38. They both are willing to help whenever they can, be it events going on or meals being served.”
Jerry Ludwig of the American Legion, said, “Dawn and Grant exemplify the next generation of the American Legion leadership family. Taking time from their very busy farm schedule to assist in Legion functions and provide leadership to the Post guarantee the future of the American Legion in Redwood Falls. They are always looking for ways for the Legion to be included in community events and are always willing to help.”
For these and many other reason, Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz have been selected as the 2019 Gazette People of the Year.
– Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Soil Health Coalition Web site