Roger Feekes, a row crop farmer located outside of Sioux Center has been farming since 1980. He began farming alongside his dad and brother. Over time the operation transitioned from a partnership to a sole proprietorship, where he currently farms 650 acres of row crops. Roger and his wife, Linda, raised their three children on the farm, and now enjoy spending time with their nine grandchildren at their house in town as well as at the farm. While Roger may no longer be living on the farm, he is still actively farming, making all of the decisions for his operation.
Every farmer has their own unique set of motivations for the practices they adopt on their operation. Some growers are motivated simply by what they believe will bring in the largest profit. Other growers are seeking to set a new personal yield record. Still others are motivated by the thought of leaving the land in better condition than when they were entrusted with it. Roger Feekes falls into all of these camps at times. However, overall, his biggest motivator is ensuring that the generations to follow are given the same opportunities that he was given. This means working hard to improve soil health and maintain a solid financial base for his operation.
Cover crops have become an integral piece to Roger’s operation over the last few years. He became interested in cover crops when he began chopping silage, “I always hated to see the bare ground over the winter, so my agronomist, Josh, and I decided we were going to try cover crops. The first year, I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but Josh helped me through it, and we were able to make it work for my operation.” Roger went on to talk about how cover crops have benefitted his operation in ways such as, weed control, soil preservation, and improved nutrient availability.
Cover crops serve Roger’s operation well currently, and looking down the road he sees the long-term benefits to come as well. “I noticed on my home place that for all the years my grandpa farmed and my dad farmed, there was a lot of top soil, and we had highly reliable land. Now you can tell, the land at the top of the hill is not the same land that it used to be.” Cover crops are helping him address this challenge, keeping the land in place for the generations to come as well as helping to replenish the areas where the topsoil has been stripped.
Sustainability means something different to everyone, for Roger, “Sustainability gives us the opportunity to make a profit, return our profits back into the operation, and grow in more than acres. It means being able to give back to the community.” This is apparent in the way that he manages his operation, adding cover crops and being sure to make decisions with the next generations in mind. FCS is proud to be able to support Roger on his journey as a producer.
Farmers Coop Society believes in working with our producers to ensure that the agricultural industry can remain a vibrant part of our communities for generations to come. This means staying on the cutting edge of agricultural innovation and sustainability practices.