Symons conservation efforts set course for a new generation
Two young farmers are trying to push conservation practices further with the help of technology.
Cody and Caleb Symons took responsibility for a portion of their family’s multi-generational row crop farm six years ago in Michigan’s Saginaw Bay. Caleb, who manages the daily operations and sells LG Seeds, tells Brownfield carrying forward his dad’s no-till efforts was a no-brainer.
“You start no-till, you’re a lot more environmentally safe, you’re reducing your runoff into the lakes and streams,” he says. “And if you can get the same yield and you’re also saving fuel, don’t have to work the field 2-3 times—it’s cost savings on the farmers’ end as far as the bottom line of profitability, but also good for the environment.”
Cody, who works off the farm as an industrial engineer for General Motors, says The Nature Conservancy and local conservation district helped them identify more practices they could implement across their 550 acres.
“To push the boundaries a little bit more we’ve introduced some cover crops, done a lot of grid sampling, looking at variable rate fertilizer and applying that across all of our acres,” he shares. “We’re just trying to make the best of what we have and do it with as little inputs as we can.”
The brothers started planting green into cereal rye with 20 acres and have been expanding and tweaking management since while getting their farm verified with the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program.
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Author: Nicole Heslip