Do you know the purpose, cause, or belief that drives you?
Author Simon Sinek calls this “finding your why.”
On my family’s dairy farm in Door County, Wisconsin, our why is, “To learn and adapt so that all may have a quality life.”
Every day, we face new challenges on Brey Cycle Farm. Although it has been in our family since 1904, the farm has changed to adapt to the changing world, much like other businesses do. Today, the farm is owned and managed by my husband and I along with his brother and sister-in-law.
A big part of our focus has become environmental stewardship. We continually adjust our conservation efforts to improve our care of the land and water. This is not only vital to the business today but also to our neighbors, our community, and the future generations who will hopefully carry on our dairy farming legacy.
To improve, we need to learn. Reading publications, talking to other farmers, and working with experts like our agronomist and nutritionist are a few of the ways this happens every day. There are also self-taught lessons, like trying something new and discovering that it works (or doesn’t!) and if there are ways to do it differently.
We are active in Peninsula Pride Farms, a farmer-led conservation group, and a member of the Door-Kewaunee Watershed Demonstration Farm Network. Both organizations provide opportunities to learn from peers and experiment with new practices that improve soil health and protect water quality.
We rely on science to identify where we can improve, to try different practices that fit our situation and measure the results.
For example, we have planted cover crops like winter wheat, winter rye, and triticale. These crops provide a growing plant on the land 365 days a year. This helps build soil health, minimize erosion, prevent nutrients from reaching streams or ground water, and improve wildlife habitat.
Our first year, we planted 200 acres of cover crops. This year we planted […]