Grower Testaments

Soil Health Producer Profiles

JULY 2013

Adam Dahmer - Marion, Illinois  

Starting Out Smart

Dahmer Farms, LLC has been no-till farming since 1983. Adam Dahmer, his father, Terry, and younger brother John, farm 1,300 acres in Williamson County, Illinois. They all raise corn and beans. Adam has also started farming some acreage on his own in addition to working with his dad and brother. This year, they planted cover crops on 75% of their farms. Next year? They will plant 100% of their farms in cover crops. Why? Because it works.
Read more about Dahmer Farms...

Jack Erisman - Christian and Shelby Counties, Illinois  

Old Ideas, Good Ideas

Jack Erisman farms 2,000 acres of farmland in Christian and Shelby Counties. He's been farming since 1963. Erisman is all about sustainability, ecological issues, and socially acceptable farming techniques. He has found a way to achieve all this and be profitable. His most important tool? Cover crops.
Read more about Jack Erisman Farms...

Jim Iserman - LaSalle County,, Illinois 

A Sustainable, Diverse Operation

Jim Iserman and Father Dave work 900 acres in Livingston and LaSalle Counties, Illinois. One hundred twenty of those acres are in permanent forage and the rest are in Ag production using a corn-soybean-wheat rotation. Jim has successfully merged his row crop and livestock operation and his use of cover crops has been a large part of its success. So far, he loves the results. His cows—and his soils--seem pleased with the benefits as well  
Read more about Jim Iserman...

Roy Peterson - McLean County, Illinois 

Living Proof

Roy Peterson runs a 1,300 acre corn and bean operation in Central Illinois. His parents always had rotations and diverse crops, which included cover crops like oats, hay, pasture and corn. Maybe that's what prompted Roy to try a little experiment with cover crops. What he learned has made a big difference on his farm and his yield monitor.  
Read more about Roy Peterson...

Andy Shireman - Chapin, Illinois 

A Brave, Bold Move

Andy Shireman may be the bravest man in Morgan County, Illinois. He's a true believer. And when Andy believes in something, he completely dives into it. Andy believes in cover crops. Last year he made the big switch on 2,400 acres and went ‘all in.' And he couldn't be happier with the results.  
Read more about Andy Shireman...

Ralph Upton - Hamilton County, Illinois 

Cover Crops Work

Ralph Upton began farming full time in 1964 at age 18. Known locally as "Junior," Upton currently has 1,800 acres of no-till corn, soybeans, and wheat located in Hamilton County, Illinois. He has used soil conservation solutions for decades and is known locally for his commitment to stewardship of soil and water resources. Upton is a veteran no-tiller and long-time advocate of soil-building ag techniques. Ralph is usually ahead of the curve. His interest and use of cover crops is no exception.  Read more...

Jay Whalen - Streator, Illinois 

An Oldie But A Goodie

Interest in using cover crops continues to increase across Illinois. The number of landowners experimenting with cover crops is growing just about as well as the crops did after harvest. Earlier last winter, local producers, soil scientists with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and seed specialists with ProHarvest Seeds held a Cover Crop Field Day in Streator, Illinois to show curious farmers how well cover crops can affect soil quality and offer forage solutions for livestock operators.  Read more...

Russell Wire - Stephenson County, Illinois 

5th Generation Improvements

Russell Wire, now 28, lives in Northwest Illinois. At eight years old, he knew he liked agriculture. Through a 4-H project, he raised some of his Dad's and a friend's beef cattle and grew those cows into a herd of 40. His family farming history dates back to 1850, making Russell a fifth generation farmer who now rents ground from his parents and is building his own sustainable operation.   Read more...